Councillor Comment - Representation review
With Otamatea Ward Councillor Jonathan Larsen
In October I wrote about Council’s representation review – the process by which the wards and number of Councillors are decided. Following submissions and hearings Council decided to proceed with its initial proposal as its final proposal to cut Kaiwaka and Mangawhai off as a separate ward and have four wards, each with two Councillors. I opposed this approach for three primary reasons.
The first reason was that I believe this would marginalise the Kaiwaka/Mangawhai area with only two Councillors out of the eight in the district. At present there are three Councillors (representing the Otamatea ward, which includes Kaiwaka and Mangawhai), and the population growth has been such that four Councillors are justified.
My second reason was that it divides the community of interest linkages between Kaiwaka and Maungaturoto including the Kaiwaka Primary School link with Otamatea High School. This is one of the key considerations that is supposed to be taken in to account in these decisions.
The third reason was that the four ward proposal operates right at the margin of the allowable number of residents per councillor for the new Kaiwaka/Mangawhai ward. The allowable variance is +/- 10% and using the old population figures it is already at +9.55%. This means that the boundary would need to keep being adjusted, moving incrementally from the Brynderwyn corner towards Maungaturoto at each review as the Eastern population continues to grow.
To cut a long story short, four appeals against this decision were lodged by the closing date, and the matter will now be investigated and decided by the Local Government Commission (LGC), which will release its decision by 11 April 2019. The new ward structure determined by the LGC will be used at the next local body election.
When will the water tank rule be gone?
Many of you will have heard of, or been affected by, the District Plan rule requiring every new house to have extra water tanks dedicated for firefighting. As I mentioned last month, after a battle running over several years, including an appeal of the decision by FENZ, agreement has finally been reached to remove this requirement from the rules. The agreement has now been signed off by the Environment Court and no appeals of that decision were received by the deadline.
This means that the new rules (not requiring dedicated water tanks) will become operative as of 18 December 2018. Council is working through the issues around how to deal with historical consents that required dedicated tanks, and will communicate the process around this in the New Year. Some information on the changes is available on the KDC website (kaipara.govt.nz) under Plan Change 4. I will continue to lobby to minimise further hassles and costs to ratepayers in fixing up the past consent requirements.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If you have any Council related issues over the break you can call Council on 0800 727 059 24 hours 7 days a week.
If you have any community projects or issues that you would like assistance with, I can be contacted on 021 185 8389 or Cr.Larsen@kaipara.govt.nz. Check out my ‘The WorkBoot Councillor’ Facebook page for regular updates.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not represent the consensus position of Council.