KIN’s local government reporter Jeremy Smith says Kāpiti’s four community boards are up in arms about the KCDC’s plan to give them the chop.
One chair says it’s an ‘attack on local democracy’; another says ‘we want it stopped now.’ A member from the third board says the council talks about having a diverse range of representation…(but) the proposal won’t do that.’ And the fourth board spokesperson says ‘the proposal is farcical.’
Jeremy Smith says the four community boards have been part of the Kapiti district for many years.
He points out one suggestion — but not the main recommendation — is possibly retaining two of the boards, Paekakariki and Otaki, on the grounds of the ‘special character’ of the two communities.
KCDC briefing papers say:
“…the reasons that the initial proposal does not include community boards is because Kāpiti Coast District Council is satisfied that the existing communities of interest are represented by the proposed ward structure, and that there are alternative ways to maintain and strengthen local community representation within Kāpiti Coast District Council structures.”
The board’s reactions in detail
Paekakariki board chair Holly Ewens says the council talks about having a diverse range of representation, and the proposal won’t do that.
She says the proposal makes assumptions that community groups would work with the council.
Losing the community board would mean only one councillor with specific Paekakariki link, a councillor who also represents Raumati.
‘Hackles up‘in Paraparaumu and Raumati
Paraparaumu-Waikanae board chair Cathy Spiers says the proposal has got her hackles up.
She says community boards are “grass-roots democracy” and her board did a range of community consultations for the KCDC long-term plan, including meetings at the beach, at Kaitawa reserve and Nikau Valley.
“We know what’s going on.”
Spiers says the disruption caused by Covid means the council should stick with the status quo.
The board’s deputy chair Guy Burns want to know more about the proposed unnamed communities of interest. There are already exiting communities of interest throughout the district.
If the system isn’t broken, why fix it, Burns says.
Otaki unhappy with the process
Otaki community board chair Chris Papps says she’s not happy with the process as board members had only one workshop to get the details.
“We want it stopped now,” Papps says referring to the KCDC meeting next Thursday when councillors will consider the initial proposal.
She is also flabbergasted that the consultation progress interviewed only 15 people
And the Otaki board deputy chair Marilyn Stevens says board members feel disenfranchised in terms of not being part of the full discussions. Community boards could be used more fully than they have been says Stevens who’s on the executive of the national community boards association.
Waikanae unhappy on several fronts
Waikanae community board member Tonchi Bergovic says the proposal is farcical and goes against the basis of local democracy.
A community board can bring people closer to the council, he says. And he says many Waikanae people feel up in arms about the loss of their recycling centre while they also wait to hear about their new library.
Submissions will open on Wednesday 1 September and will close on Monday October 4.
Tuesday 19 October Submission hearings
Thursday 11 November Council meeting to adopt final proposal
Saturday 13 November Public notice of final proposal – appeal/objection period open
Monday 13 December Appeal/objection period closes.
If no-one makes any submissions, the proposal will be deemed to be council policy.