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May 6, 2019 | by  | in News |
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WCC Q and A

On Tuesday, 30 April, WCC council members held a live Q and A ahead of the Annual Plan review. A number of important issues arose.

 

Waste Management

Storm water was revealed as a high priority, after one resident drew attention to drains blocked with rubbish.

 

Councillor Sarah Free said “We’ve just finished a $3.8 million upgrade to storm water pipes in Kilbirnie,” insisting that further investments are on their way.

 

Councillor Diane Calvert suggested that, “while the council needs to play their part, individual citizens have a personal responsibility in keeping our waterways clear.”

 

Funding

Funding and investment proved a popular topic. Councillor Iona Pannett believes “most of [the] budget should go to resilience” and cited the proposed airport runway extension as a project that should be “shelved” to make way for other priorities.

 

Calvert suggested there are “never enough funds”, but believes the council has “balanced a number of competing priorities.”

 

Consultation

One resident quizzed the council on their plan for consultation processes.

 

Councillor Nicola Young said “engagement isn’t working” and believes it is better for the council to make decisions than “convince the public that we’re doing the right thing.”

 

Calvert agreed, stating the council “runs the risk of consultation overload”, particularly concerning the Annual Plan, carbon emissions, and growth planning.

 

Kilbirnie Liquor Ban

Some residents questioned the liquor ban in Kilbirnie, following complaints directed at the homeless.

 

Councillor Brian Dawson drew attention to a “proactive plan to ensure those on the streets in Kilbirnie have access to the services they need.”

 

Pannett shared resident concern, agreeing that the ban “only moves problems around.”

 

Earthquake-prone buildings

Buildings deemed unsafe following the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016 have remained a focus.

 

Pannett said there was a proposal for an injection of $500,000 to be given to owners of heritage buildings, as well as owners of non-heritage buildings weakened by the earthquake.

 

However, Councillor James Sullivan criticised the heritage laws: “We are trying to protect so much that we lose the ability to regenerate areas.”

 

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