The formal decision on Kapiti’s ward make-up and continued existence of Community Boards for 2022 is only two weeks away, reports Jeremy Smith.
He says it might change, but councillors seemed prepared to keep the Community Boards during discussions at their workshop yesterday.
Waikanae presents the main difficulty
But the big difficulty is Waikanae’s under-representation.
It has a single ward councillor for nearly 15,000 – ward councillors should represent approximately 10,000. As well none of the at-large councillors lives in the area.
The proposal to lump Waikanae with Paraparaumu into a three councillor “superward” seems to be out of favour.
Waikanae’s councillor Jocelyn Prvanov said any decision which leaves Waikanae with a single councillor makes the job “even more stressed than now.”
One suggestion from Prvanov was a fifth ” beach” ward running from south of Te Horo down to Pekapeka and Waikanae Beach: “I think it could work.”
That was supported by Angela Buswell who noted that south of Te Horo beach aligns more to Waikanae. Buswell asked if the existing Waikanae Beach residents group could work as a community board but Prvanov said they would not have the time or resources to do this.
Guru sits on the fence
Mayor Gurunathan said he was tending to support the status quo but with subdivisions or wards within the community boards.
One variant of this could be where two of the four board members for Paraparaumu/ Raumati could come from each of the two areas.
But councillor Martin Halliday said it might be hard to get the numbers: in 2019 the four elected were the four who put their hands up.
Support for present number of ward councillors
On the subject of retaining the current five ward councillors and five at-large councillors Emma Saunders of Empathy Design which supplied the research, said this was well supported, by about two thirds of respondents.
She said they did not specifically test reaction to having six wards but with seven ward councillors.
She said a seven –to-three split between ward councillors and at- large councillors was a minority view but it was strongly supported.
After councillors make their decision in two weeks, the proposal then goes to appeal.