Road scheme will be the big topic
With voting nearing a close in this year’s local body elections, the priorities for the new councils are becoming increasingly important. The Southland Times had a chat with some past and present council representatives, stakeholders and community members to find out just what they thought would be the biggest issues facing their respective elected officials. Here’s what they revealed.
Roading will be the big-ticket item for the incoming Southland District Council during the next three years.
One of the most controversial issues facing the next council will be deciding whether to support the proposed Haast to Hollyford road.
The proposed 127-kilometre road is being backed by Westland District Property, a subsidiary of Westland Holdings, a holding company of the Westland District Council, and is expected to be funded privately.
In May, the Southland District Council declined to support the proposal for the road in principle until it received more information about the project, a stance which elicited both criticism and praise from ratepayers.
Existing roads could also be a concern for incoming councillors.
The outgoing mayor, Frana Cardno, said infrastructure and its costs would pose some of the biggest challenges for the new council.
Managing ever-tightening funding for the district's huge network of roads would top the list of priorities, followed by upgrading sewerage and water schemes in smaller communities, she said.
It would also have to continue its work with Southland youth.
Mrs Cardno envisaged the council increasing its work with the shared services committee, especially around a unified approach to tourism.
More tourists needed to be directed to the Southern Scenic Route so they could travel across the region and the benefits could be felt by all, she said.
However, Mrs Cardno also identified a lot of positives for the district, including the council's financial position.
"Southland District Council financially is pretty strong . . . so that's positive because we can go forward without worrying."
Mayoralty: John Douglas, Paul Duffy, Gary Tong.
Mararoa-Waimea ward (3 vacancies): Brian Dillon, John Douglas, Tim Hanna, Alistair Jukes.
Stewart Island-Rakiura ward (1 vacancy): Bruce James Ford.
Waiau-Aparima ward (3): Stuart Andrew Baird, Rodney Dobson, George E J Harpur, Helen McCurdy.
Waihopai-Toetoes ward (2): Julie Keast, Paul Duffy, Lyn Gutsell, Ray McCrostie.
Winton-Wallacetown ward (3): Lyall Bailey, Gavin John Macpherson, Neil Paterson.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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