MAYOR: Strengthening our community connections

Published: 11 May 2023

I’m reflecting about our community connections this week and how, like all good relationships, they need work to stay healthy.

As a district leader, I am invited to many community occasions and over the past weekend I was delighted to unveil a special plaque in the Ashburton Domain marking the start of the reign of King Charles III.

The three Matai trees planted at the domain will grow together, and in the company of other trees planted to celebrate Royal events over the past century or more. Whether you are a Royal fan or not, the importance of the occasion was significant and it was great to see many members of the community come along and join in.

The domain remains one of our premier spots for connecting, whether you are bringing children to play sport or feeding the ducks, or just walking in nature – Council takes pride in maintaining and developing the space for people to enjoy.

The Harris Scientific Reserve also marked the coronation on Saturday with plantings of natives, trees and plants that were everywhere on the Mid Canterbury plains until it was cleared by early settlers. This reserve is an important connection to our past, and it takes a lot of energy by the Ashburton Community Conservation Trust to keep it going.

A special part of Saturday’s activity there involved families planting kowhai trees, with their names on tags tied to the stem – I hope this helps more people feel connected to the space so that it can continue to grow.

Another way our elected councillors are working to connect with the community is through our Talk it Up Tuesdays. These are regular sessions at the Ashburton Public Library on Tuesdays, from 2-3pm and from 6-7pm, and provide an opportunity to drop in for an informal chat with the people elected to represent you – we’d love to hear your ideas for the district, your concerns, and your positive thoughts.

Our regular Council meetings are livestreamed so residents can see us in action around the decision-making table, but it is always nice to meet the people we represent in person. Don’t be shy, and there’s a good chance we’ll have a packet of cameo creams to share!

I’ve also been pleased to see the strength of Council’s connection with the community shine through during the organisation of this year’s Glow in the Park event. The inaugural event was held last year in the Tinwald Domain and we are back there again, with lots of support from businesses who have been providing sponsorship, food or entertainment. We’ve already seen an avalanche of enthusiasm on social media from people looking forward to the event and it’s fair to say that we can’t wait either!

So, while our core job involves water, waste and roads, an equally important role for Council is to build social connections.

Ultimately, it is all about the people.

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