Newest councillor quick off the mark


Timaru's newest councillor wasted no time in going in to bat for his home patch.

Only minutes after Kerry Stevens was sworn in as the councillor representing the Geraldine ward at a special Timaru District Council meeting yesterday, he was questioning why community development committee chairman Damon Odey had approved a $200 grant to the Timaru Business Association to assist with its Timaru on Show day earlier this month.

The association had been too late to apply for a grant in the usual way and they had incurred quite a lot of costs in running the event which coincided with Christchurch's show day, Mr Odey said. The $200 went towards the cost of the road closure.

Cr Stevens asked whether the business association had made Mr Odey aware that their event was a "copycat event" of the market day run in Geraldine on the same day as part of the Arts and Plants festival. They had not.

"They claim it was a complementary event but it was clearly competitive," he said, claiming the Timaru event was undermining the Geraldine day which had been running for 24 years, adding such an event should not have qualified for community development funding.

He considered the Timaru event had done "serious community relationship harm".

Visitors to the area attended both events, Cr Terry Kennedy said, adding Oamaru had run a Steam Punk event the same day.

A better events calendar was what was required, Mr Odey said, adding it needed a "bit of a tidy up" referring to the fact that this year's Hadlow to Harbour event had clashed with the Cancer Society's Relay for Life event.

The Timaru Herald