The Kaipara District Council has held its final meeting for 2017 in a year marked by significant progress in meeting the many targets it set itself at the beginning of the year, including a continued trend in debt reduction, and an increased spend on road maintenance throughout the district.
Council is making good progress toward the completion of the draft of the Long Term Plan which will be available for public consultation in the New Year.
During the year council embarked on a deliberate attempt to increase the involvement of ratepayers in matters that are important to the district. The Roading Committees that were established a few months ago are an example of how members from within the community can cooperate with council staff to provide important feedback on roading issues.
We held our first ‘Annual General Meeting’ in October which was well supported, and provided an opportunity to better understand council’s financial performance for the previous year. Community involvement will continue to feature as an important goal for this council in the remainder of its term.
Remedial work on the rock fall at Aranga Point, which necessitated the evacuation of several homes, is progressing well and it’s hoped that the area will soon be deemed safe to allow all who were affected to return to their homes.
Last summer many residents suffered water restrictions or shortages. The combination of wind and high temperatures that we are currently experiencing suggests that we may have a repeat this year so I recommend a prudent approach with water consumption.
As we all know Kaipara District has a large network of unsealed roads and the dust nuisance they create. With summer this will increase and I urge everyone to drive safely and to the conditions — it’s better to arrive late than not at all.
Kaipara offers some amazing scenery from its harbours and beaches to its lakes and native forests. These attractions, coupled with a rich history and cultural heritage make the Kaipara a popular holiday destination for many thousands of visitors. Our towns swell to several times their permanent population and on occasions this stretches some of our infrastructure, especially at the more popular locations. I ask that if exposed to any inconvenience to your normal routine that you please show a little tolerance — the holiday season is only for a few weeks and the business it generates is a very important contributor to the economy of the district.
Over summer we are all on show to the many thousands of visitors so I hope everyone can contribute a little towards making their time in the Kaipara both memorable and enjoyable, and so encourage them to return in the future.
It would be remiss of me not to pay credit to all of our elected councillors who have undertaken a very steep learning curve during the year on the intricacies of local body government and acquitted themselves well. There has been a very large time commitment to developing the Annual Plan and the Long Term Plan and all members have contributed well to this process.
The continuing high level of building and development activity and the on-going focus of catching up on both capital and maintenance work on our roading network, has meant that council staff have been under considerable pressure throughout the year.
They have performed well and continue to implement more efficiencies in order to meet the service expectations of the community.
I wish to thank all staff at council for the work they’ve done throughout the year and to those who will continue to maintain our parks and public spaces over the busy holiday season — a special thank you.
Finally I would like to wish our residents, ratepayers and visitors throughout the Kaipara a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. All at the Kaipara District Council look forward to serving you well in 2018.