QLDC u-turn: Wanaka Community Board to stay
"Queenstown Lakes District Councillors will consider adopting a final Representation Review proposal at Thursday’s Full Council meeting following completion of community consultation and two public hearings.
Key elements of the final proposal include retention of the Wānaka Community Board, and the existing Arrowtown ward to form part of a new Arrowtown-Kawarau ward outlined through the submissions process.
QLDC Senior Governance Advisor/Electoral Officer Jane Robertson said the proposals were amended as a result of public feedback during the consultation and hearing process.
“The hearings panel that sat in two online sessions during Alert Level 4 was the Full Council and they have since directed Council officers to this final proposal,” she said.
It recommends an increase in the total number of Councillors from ten to eleven. There would be three wards with four Councillors elected by the voters in the Queenstown-Whakatipu Ward, four elected by voters in the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Ward and three elected by voters in a new Arrowtown-Kawarau Ward. In addition, the Mayor would continue to be voted for across the whole district.”
Ms Robertson said the hearings panel is recommending that the Wānaka Community Board be retained albeit with a different composition.
“Councillors will be asked to consider adopting a Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board comprising four members elected directly by voters in that ward, and one of the four Wānaka-Upper Clutha Ward Councillors appointed as a member of the board by Council,” she said.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult, who was also chair of the hearings panel, said the review process had provided valuable insights into the community’s views which were now reflected in the final proposal.
“The proposal on Thursday’s agenda has changed markedly from the initial recommendations of the independent advisory group which I see as a clear example of local democracy at work. For example, one of the initial recommendations of the advisory group was to disestablish the Wānaka Community Board based on a rationale agreed by the majority of its members. Council then agreed to put this recommendation forward for community consultation but, with two-thirds of the 300 or so submitters asking to retain the Board, the hearings panel listened and now recommends the Board is retained,” he said.
“On the other hand, Council agreed to go out to consultation with a proposal to retain the existing Arrowtown Ward which was again different from the advisory group’s initial recommendation. The hearings panel subsequently altered that position in the final proposal. The recommendation is now for Arrowtown to form part of an enlarged Arrowtown-Kawarau Ward to better reflect changes in the district’s population over recent years.”
“On behalf of everyone involved I would like to formally thank members of the Representation Review Advisory Group for their considered work on this project, as well as all those who took the time to make submissions and appear before the hearings panel,” said Mayor Boult.
Once Councillors have voted on the proposal there will be a period of appeals and/or objections lasting until 5.00pm on Friday 22 October. If any appeals and/or objections are received, the Electoral Commission will make a final decision.