Last week the Council held “Drop In” sessions as part of the Council’s Draft Annual Plan consultation process. Consultation meetings were held in Mangawhai, Dargaville, and Maungaturoto. The meetings were very different from those held a year ago, when the troubles of the past dominated discussion, together with unhappiness over rate increases.
The matters raised last week were very much about today and the future.
In Mangawhai, there were many questions raised over the potential sale of certain surplus Council properties – people were keen to identify which properties were classed as such. There were some of these properties that people felt passionate about Council retaining, and some that people were comfortable for Council to sell. If Council does sell some of the residential property it owns in Mangawhai, the proceeds will be applied to paying down Council debt.
In Dargaville, the discussion at the table that I sat at was about Bayly’s beach – the state and location of the toilet block, how to contain rubbish around the rubbish collection cage, and whether a community hall was needed.
In Maungaturoto, the discussions involved the role of Local Government, including the making of grants to community projects. There was support for the present direction of the Kaipara District Council.
The Kaiwaka meeting will be held at the War Memorial Hall at 5.30pm on Wednesday March 26.
Public Toilets and Litter Bins
One of the challenges for Council is determining the number and location of public toilets and litter bins. In places like Mangawhai and Kai Iwi Lakes, where visitor numbers dramatically increase in the summer holidays, this presents an additional cleaning and clearing challenge.
Council has 29 public toilets in Kaipara. We are reviewing their locations – a few may not be needed any longer. Some areas need public toilets but do not have them. Mangawhai Park, for example needs public toilets to provide for its increasing patronage. Our plans are to build one new public toilet, and upgrade an existing one in Kaipara each year.
Litter bins are important also. However, once provided they are often quickly filled, at times by residents with household waste that should be put in the blue bags. We need to encourage householders and campers to recycle what they can, and not abuse the public litter bin service.
The Commissioners and Council staff are charged with engaging with local communities as they set about making the often difficult decisions on what public services are provided and how they will be funded. We have enjoyed this latest engagement. We now look forward to receiving written submissions on the Council’s Draft Annual Plan, due by 5pm on Tuesday April 8. You can complete a submission online if you wish at kaipara.govt.nz.