Submissions favour ward system

More than 500 submissions have been received on the Timaru District Council's representation review proposal, with about 90 per cent in favour of retaining the ward system.

The month-long consultation period closes at 5pm on Monday.

The council has to decide which representation system to use for next year's council elections. It has gone to the public with an option which would elect nine councillors over three wards.

Initially, it had favoured electing 10 councillors at large but rural residents made it clear they did not favour losing the wards.

Under the initial proposal, the mayor would be elected at large and nine councillors would be elected through three wards (one councillor for the Geraldine ward, two for the Pleasant Point-Temuka ward and six councillors in the Timaru ward).

The number of councillors proposed for the Timaru ward has been cut by one because of population changes.

The proposal also calls for three community boards - in Geraldine, Temuka and Pleasant Point.

Council corporate planning manager Mark Low said the number of submissions from the Geraldine, Temuka and Pleasant Point areas was far higher than from the Timaru ward, on a population basis.

While a few submissions were "one liners", others had given several reasons for their preferred option. There had also been a few group submissions.

It is a separate consultation process and no submissions to previous stages of the representation process will be considered. The district council will hear the submissions before the council adopts a final proposal.

The final proposal will be open to appeals or objections.

If that happens, the Local Government Commission will make the final decision before mid-April.

The Timaru Herald