OPINION: For the next 100 days southlandtimes.co.nz will follow newly elected Invercargill City Councillor Rebecca Amundsen.
She's not an unfamiliar face to people who live in Glengarry, or those who voted for her.
She's a mother, a landlord, a project leader and now a city councillor.
But this isn't just our project, it's yours too.
Get involved by posting comments, asking questions and answering polls each week as we follow Rebecca's first days in office.
Each week Rebecca will also write about her council musings.
Well the Southland Times and its cat stories certainly seem to have caused a stir.
I should admit from the get go that I am not a cat person, I am a dog person.
Why don't I like cats? Well mostly because they walk around my section like they own the place. I guess I am a bit territorial, it's my place not theirs.
We have neighbours with a few cats and for some reason our cat free property is the best place for them to hang out.
They hang out in my vegetable garden, they hang out under my house, they hang out on my front porch and they sometimes hang out in a vehicle if the window is left down. And when we leave the front door open they often wander in. So I am not such a fan of cats.
But I understand that some people are.
One of the reasons I would say we need some rules around cats is because we have rules about other nuisance things.
I guess one way to explain it is that when I play the music I enjoy loud and in the middle of the night and it disturbs other people then those people can call noise control and they will wander over and have a word.
The same if my dog gets out and is wandering the streets, neighbours can call dog control and they will pick him up.
So what can I do when my neighbours' cats wander over to my place and mess in my yard, dig up my new seedlings and poop in my vege garden?
If this disturbs me as much as my music and dog disturb you, then why can't something be done about it?
So, I guess what I am saying is that maybe we need to figure out how we can deal with these things. Anyway enough about cats!
So last week I spent two days in Dunedin with councillor Karen Arnold training to be a hearings commissioner for resource consents and policy and plan changes.
These were two full on days but I learnt a lot.
The 300+ page manual for this is called the Good Decision Making Manual.
One of the values of having done the training is learning the process involved in making good decisions free from personal bias and emotion.
This in itself will be a great skill to have and use when appropriate.
And I am sure there will be some decisions as part of the annual plan process where using this process will be useful.
On Saturday the Glengarry Community Market was on again. This month we worked with the Invercargill Environment Centre and had some bike activities for kids.
A group of passionate women who are working hard to spread the word about the Local Approved Products Policy, which is all about legal highs, were also there.
They have developed a petition for people to sign but are also encouraging people to make submissions on the council's policy.
Submissions close on April 14 so please make your voices are heard on this.
There will also be a protest on April 5 at 1pm at Wachner Place and you will be able to sign the petition or write a submission as part of that.
If you would like to write a submission but aren't sure where to start you can call the council and they will put you through to someone who can help.
I am also happy to be contacted and to provide help.
More information about this stuff can be found at http://www.icc.govt.nz/PublicDocuments/Consultation.aspx
The submission process is currently the best way the council has to obtain the views and thoughts of its community.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Make sure you take these opportunities when they come up.
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