Graeme Trask, the son of Kāpiti’s First Mayor, has pleaded with the present Mayor and Councillors to abandon plans to axe the district’s four community Boards.
He points out: “Community boards are the first port of call for many ratepayers in our communities.”
And in a submission read to the Council, he says:
“They have been around for many years (1989 I believe) and have proved to be an excellent platform where ratepayers can discuss their concerns at informal meetings in a more relaxed atmosphere.
“It can be quite daunting for some to publicly express their thoughts in a formal council meeting as opposed to a community board meeting.”
Last Thursday, Kāpiti councillors gave majority approval for the first step in a representation review, which could see the end of the four Kāpiti community boards. Six councillors ( Crs Holborow, Buswell, Cootes, Handford, Halliday, and McCann) voted for the proposal; and the Mayor supported them. Four councillors voted ‘No’ — Crs Compton, Elliott, Prvanov and Randall.
Graeme Trask says people do have to be mindful that council is seen to be giving all ratepayers fair ways around representation at the table – by informing and debating before mqaking decisions.
This can only be achieved by retaining our community boards and retaining the present structure,” he says.
“The grassroots of our communities”
“Community boards are the grassroots of our communities.
“They provide a framework for communication between councils and their communities and can be seen to be mutually beneficial. “
He adds: (…what is) “a small matter at a regional level can be of great interest at a local level.
“By not having input/representation from community boards, matters could be easily overlooked or be ( treated as) insignificant.
“Another example could be where a community board could bridge a gap in those communications.
“Community board members have more time to linger in our communities discussing, debating and getting some sort of concensus on local issues.”
Better access to Council
Mr Trask points out the boards have better access to council staff than the general public, helping and promoting collaboration along with transparency between council and the community.
Summing up, Mr Trask says: “Our region continues to grow at a rampant pace. Good representation can only be achieved by growing our community boards, not abolishing them.
“My hope is for all council (elected members) to take on board the seriousness of this matter and vote to retain our community boards in their current form. Lets keep democracy alive!”