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Gisborne District Council’s 2009/2010 Annual Report, which goes to Council this Thursday for adoption, shows a focus on key infrastructure and working with the community to meet other objectives. The Annual Report is Council’s key accountability document which reports back to communities on whether or not it did what it said it would do. It highlights what Council achieved in the past year as well as financial reports and how Council performed in 21 activity areas.
Mayor Meng Foon and chief executive Lindsay McKenzie comment in the introduction to the Annual Report that Council’s core business is building first class infrastructure as a spring board for future growth that ultimately means more employment opportunities.
Last year Council replaced bridges, including building the first new bridge in 10 years at Wharekahika. They worked with New Zealand Transport Agency to enhance SH35 through Busby and Kemps Hills and aligned roads at Tiniroto. Flood control work began on the Waiapu River which will bring community and economic benefits to the Ruatoria area. Consultation started on the proposal to upgrade the Waipaoa River flood protection works to protect jobs and income generated from the valuable Poverty Bay flats.
Huge progress has been made building the new wastewater treatment plant which is due to be finished in December this year $5.5M under budget. The Banks Street development has been combined with some commercial opportunities. In addition to providing much needed revenue this development means large trucks can get their certificates of fitness in the Industrial Subdivision rather than in the busy Childers Road.
The introduction to the report refers to Council’s awareness that the district’s social well-being is just as important as infrastructure. Council has been working with other organisations to realise some of those aspirations. The upgrade of the War Memorial is being investigated. The RSA has offered to incorporate their facilities into the project. The resulting development would offer a major boost to the entertainment and conference scene in Tairawhiti. However this will only proceed when an external funding partner is found.
The step up in terms of working collaboratively with other organisations is highlighted. The youth employment opportunities boosted by the Community Max scheme is referred to. Council received $325.000 of government funding to coordinate twelve projects. Forty young people were employed on the scheme and did a lot of work the community needed but was not in the Council work programme. This included cleanups in cemeteries, parks and reserves in Gisborne, Ruatoria, Te Araroa, Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia. The workers also improved some of the district’s playgrounds, built steps on Titirangi (Kaiti) Hill, planted some our most erosion prone sand dunes and photographed headstones which can now been found on Council’s website. This facility will be particularly helpful for genealogists.
Also highlighted is Council’s relationship with Eastland Community Trust to strategically invest in the region. Together they hope to work with the community to develop facilities in the beachfront area between Waikanae Beach and Pacific Street. Council is also supporting the trust to achieve charitable, tax free status after Council opposed proposed changes to the trust earlier this year.
Council continues to work with townships on planning for their future. Matawai/Motu, Manutuke, Rangitukia/Tikitiki and TePuia/Waipiro communities were the focus last year. Council is also working with youth through Tairawhiti Youth Voice who were appointed as the new Gisborne District Youth Council. Other groups Council has collaborated with in the last year include the cycling advisory group, those interested in healthy housing through the Housing Advisory Group and the Tairawhiti arts community developing an Arts and Culture strategy.
Copies of the Annual Report will be available at Council offices or on the GDC website next week. A summary of the report will go into all resident‘s letterboxes mid October after the election results are announced.