Uniting city residents challenge for new council
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.
The new Invercargill City Council will have to unite residents around inner-city upgrade plans during the next term.
Those sitting around the table for the next three years will have to decide how to revitalise the city centre, deal with the city's historic and earthquake-prone buildings and face challenges posed by Invercargill's ageing population.
Perhaps most troubling for incoming councillors are the results of an informal survey last month, which shows many Invercargill residents simply do not care about local body politics.
More than half the 25 people stopped in Esk St said they were not interested in this month's elections.
Outgoing councillor Norman Elder said the biggest priorities for the new council would be utilising the Awarua industrial site, progressing with the inner-city upgrade, and making sure governance was effective and strong.
Encouraging new growth in the city was also an important task for the incoming council, he said.
"I'd like to think a new council would be progressive, positive and ensure the city grows.
" If you want progress and the city to grow, unfortunately, council as leaders in the city have to spend money."
In the past 15 years, the city council had done this by supporting projects such as the zero fees scheme and Stadium Southland, he said.
Earthquake-prone buildings were another big issue, and Mr Elder said he would like to see the council work with building owners to bring all properties up to 34 per cent of the building code.
Mayoralty: Tim Shadbolt, Lindsay Dow, Kevin Middleton
Council (12 vacancies): Ronald Lindsay Abbott, Rebecca Rae Amundsen, Karen Frances Arnold, Neil Douglas Boniface, Alan Geoffrey Dennis, Stephen John English, Irwin Lloyd Esler, Helen Kylie Fowler, Thomas Samuel Harpur, Colin Clifford Heath, Carl Edward Heenan, James Aaron Jubb, Peter Warren Kett, Graham David Lewis, Darren James Ludlow, William Leonard Theodore Obers, Shane Edward Pleasance, Ian Reay Pottinger, David Patrick Rohan, Mark Phillip Ross, Graham John Sycamore, Lindsay Stewart Thomas.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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