Cr Carolyn Cameron: Think local in the leadup to Christmas

Published: 1 December 2022

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How good to see the giant Christmas tree installed on East Street and ready for its big role in Light up the Night.

It is quite magical to drive on East Street or walk along the green at night and see the fairy lights twinkling in the trees and the Christmas tree taking pride of place at Burnett Street. It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since the CBD renovations were finished and good to see the vibe of the town centre returning.

Light up the Night, the first of Council’s three free Christmas events for the community, provides a chance for us all to get together and usher in the festive season with some Christmas carols and family fun. So, bring a deck chair and a blanket, and get comfortable for the night as there’ll be something for everyone, and not a covid restriction in sight.

As a practising pharmacist and a retailer, I can certainly say that the pandemic has left its mark – but we have also learned new ways of keeping ourselves connected with friends and family, and doing business. These are new times.

So, I urge you to shop local this Christmas - it will be appreciated by a business community that has sweated blood and tears in the past couple of years, and continues to invest money and energy into your town.

If you are coming to the free Christmas movie on 17 December, I also urge you to bring along an item for the foodbank – these will be collected on the night and donated to organisations helping families doing it tough at this time of year.

It’s been great to welcome new faces to the Council table for the 2022-2025 term, and we are settling into our work. On the agenda last week was a presentation from Waka Kotahi, largely outlining the process that needs to be followed for our second bridge to make it onto the national land transport programme for 2024-2027.

The cost of the bridge has gone up, not surprisingly, and a fair amount of discussion will be still required between Council, regional leaders, Government and Waka Kotahi to align the planets on this project.

You can be sure that we will be pushing hard for the project, and a fair share of funding and resources.

Another big issue discussed at the same council meeting resulted in our Council re-affirming its opposition of the Three Waters reforms, as they are currently proposed.

This is fast becoming a political battleground with Councils like ours that have invested well in drinking water, wastewater and stormwater over the years, caught in the middle.

Clearly, we will continue to represent the views of our community on this issue.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and safe holiday period.

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