Last week, I had the honour and privilege of joining my fellow Councillors and Methven Community Board members in swearing in to officially become the Ashburton Districts 2019-2022 term of Council. It was a very special occasion and it was wonderful to share it surrounded by friends and family.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, our community for putting your faith in myself and my peers to lead and advocate for this great district. It is a responsibility that is not taken lightly, and through the declarations we made last week, we have pledged to serve to the utmost of our abilities and act in your best interests.
In a similar vein, I’d also like to congratulate the Ashburton District on achieving one of the highest voter turnouts in the country; 55.1 per cent. It is a strong indication of our districts engagement with local decision-making, and I encourage you to continue staying involved by having your say on Council plans and proposals, coming along to Council meetings or watching the live-stream Council videos.
At the inaugural Council meeting last Thursday, I spoke about the years ahead and what residents can expect of our elected officials.
This Council is different to our previous terms, not just in who is seated at the table, but also in how many of us there are. There are fewer members (nine rather than 12, plus myself). We are in line with many councils our size for representation, and it is important that although members have their specific areas that they come from, that we are ensuring the needs of our whole community are represented.
I know there will be times that we won’t all agree with one another, but as long as we communicate well and work together, then we can reach a good consensus for you, our residents.
There are big projects ahead of us: physical work to revitalise the Ashburton Town Centre will begin, the new Ashburton Library and Civic Centre will be built and opened, and our new wastewater pipe under the Ashburton River will become operational.
With the experience that previous and returning Councillors bring, new perspectives from our new Councillors, combined with the leadership and guidance of our Deputy Mayor Liz McMillan, I have great confidence that we have a robust team to oversee these important years ahead.
On that note, our first Council meeting is happening tomorrow (Thursday 31 October) at 1pm, and we are very excited to get down to business. If you are unable to come along, make sure to watch the live-stream video that will be available on the Council Facebook page and YouTube channel.