Election candidates have their say
The asked Central Otago mayoral and council candidates to tell us in 100 words what they believed was the biggest issue facing their community and what the council could do to help. Below are their responses to assist with your decision making as you cast
Central Otago District Council has forecast in its long term plan $4.5 million debt for the 2013/14 financial year blowing out to $20m by 2017/18, mainly to cover water and infrastructure upgrades. We need to find ways to bring this down. We must have more jobs which will bring the population to cope with any debt otherwise our small and aging population will be left carrying the burden. We must target opportunities and assist developers that bring jobs. It’s time to renew the District Plan. This is the blueprint for allowing development with the minimum of hassle but preserving what is special about Central Otago. We have got it right in the past and it is time to do it all again. You can talk about being business friendly and creating jobs but this is the document that dictates how we will go about this and I will help achieve that goal. The ‘‘3 Waters’’: waste water (sewage and storm water), drinking water and irrigation. The Cromwell waste water treatment plant no longer complies with the new Central Government regulations. Upgrading it will be a very expensive project. I’ll make sure all options are considered for the type of plant installed; mechanical, biological, chemical or a combination. The system used should be cost effective and sustainable into the distant future. I don’t believe a short term quick fix is in the community’s best interest. I’ll ensure the public are part of the decision making process by keeping them fully informed. Cromwell is leading Central Otago in economic growth because of its location at the Junction of Highways, Lake Dunstan, and existing facilities. The addition of Highlands
with local businesses, with the Community Board and, between us, find elegant solutions that work for all our diverse communities. A key issue our communities face is our reliance for our wellbeing on a narrow and shallow economic base. We need to contribute public funding and resources to put in place economic enabling infrastructure such as broadband enhancements and appropriate facilities such as the Wanaka Sports Facilities. This is needed to grow our visitor industry and attract a wider range of visitors for longer periods. Expansion of the Otago Polytechnic and University presence in Wanaka should be encouraged and I would strongly promote and support private proposals for point of difference attractions such as a world class performing arts centre. The main issue facing Wanaka is the creation of high quality, full time jobs without having to sacrifice the uniqueness of Wanaka to create them. Wanaka needs to become a hub on innovation. This is where talent wants to live and is already living. We need to do a better job finding and fostering this talent, getting them out of their homes and into collective spaces where synergies of resources, knowledge, and ideas can be realised. This will distinguish us from Queenstown, make our local economy more diversified and resilient and create high quality jobs for younger generations.
(also standing for Wanaka Community Board) Tourism is the very lifeblood of both Queenstown and Wanaka, and we must be vigilant as a society, to nurture and cherish the exceptionally beautiful surroundings, which we are privileged to occupy. Incursions into this ‘‘Outstanding Natural Land- scape’’ must be repelled at whatever cost, in order to preserve these assets for future generations. Representation? As with any committee, be it a Sports Club or Government caucus, a blend of intelligent, experienced, practical, caring, down to earth and commercially savvy individuals, mixed with some forward thinking and youthful types is the ideal. They must all believe strongly in the common goal of doing the right thing, and reflecting the wishes of the community which they have been elected to serve. The proposed sports facility. The facts - cost $16.84 million. The council’s figures have it making an operating loss of $864,750 per year, $2370 per day! 85 per cent of the council identified stakeholders told me in the last three weeks that they will not use it! The MLT Events Centre in Gore (population 9700, district 12,500) cost $3.1m to build in 2010 and the Cross Recreation Centre in Balclutha (population 4200, district 17,000) cost $5.2m in 2011. Losing $1m a year is not future proofing our future. I would propose an alternative: a $5m indoor sports facility, $2m upgrade of the Wanaka campsite and $9m upgrade of the swimming pool. We already own the land. All the reports have been written! The money is in the Annual Plan! Keep it simple! Keep it affordable! Keep it local!
The biggest issue is the restricted
better for business and for Central Otago’s diverse communities. The biggest issue is the council telling businesses to move from Alexandra to Cromwell. This plan was introduced without consultation! This is having a dramatic effect on the age demographic and the earning power of Alexandra and Clyde people. This will lead to more businesses and Government departments leaving Alexandra and cause more job losses. If elected I would ensure the Council did not force their ideals on the population and proper consultation would take place. If businesses want to set up in the Alexandra/Clyde,Omakau, Roxburgh areas they should be encouraged to do so. The biggest issue facing my community, and the wider district of Central Otago, is that of sustainable solutions in regard to providing water services, be it potable or waste water. Considered evaluation is critical in ensuring financial and environmental sustainability. It is important that the wards are merged to give district wide unity in regard to the study, assessment, decision making and development of these critical long term projects. My objective as a councillor and/or board member would be to ensure the right decisions are made and that water services are affordable for all ratepayers in the district. I think the biggest issues facing our community are water and employment. To help the water issue we need to debate compliance costing of residential and waste water. Also assist and encourage large scale irrigation both private and community schemes. In terms of employment, with the wide range of business in Central Otago we need to assist in matching skills to the businesses in our area and encourage skill sets to our area. We need to work hard at maintaining the Maniototo as a desirable place to live and work – that will involve maintenance of our rural roads and township services infrastructure, wise use of water resources, encourage- ing sustainable levels of water quality, priorities in delivery