Councillors on best behaviour

18:18, Feb 02 2012

The eye of the storm is a deceptively calm place.

Less than 24 hours after a 4000-strong crowd gathered outside the Christchurch City Council's Hereford St offices, a much smaller crowd was on hand for the council's first official meeting of the year.

On Wednesday, angry protesters demanded the sacking of council chief executive Tony Marryatt and Mayor Bob Parker, but the scene yesterday was a far more sedate experience for the handful of city residents who attended.

For the most part, the meeting was a return to business as usual – a handful of deputations from community groups requesting council support and several items relating to the "new normal" in post-earthquake Christchurch.

Councillors were largely on their best behaviour as they discussed the council's consenting process, temporary offices in the suburbs and the quakes' impact on the city's stormwater system.

Questions were worded politely, contrary opinions were received patiently, and dysfunction was kept to a minimum, although some councillors could not resist the urge to propose questionable amendments and diverge from the path of logic.

Newly appointed Crown observer Kerry Marshall was not present. Having been told the meeting would be "pretty straightforward", he instead headed to Wellington to meet government officials and discuss his role in Christchurch.

The councillors could be forgiven for wishing he had stayed because the meeting was one of the least contentious days they have had in some time.

The winds of change buffeting the council may have temporarily calmed, but the dark clouds will remain overhead for some time.

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