Testing times for council
Porirua City Council got involved in several touchy issues this year.
The canopies in the CBD came down in January and while that created much positive feedback, the decision on whether to replace them has dragged on interminably.
The 4.8 per cent rates rise for Porirua residents, and the promise of similar rises in future, was decried by many as extravagant.
Mayor Nick Leggett’s pamphlet, justifying the rates increases, didn’t sit well, nor did lowering the rates instalments from five to four without prior warning.
Other brickbats for council included the Saturday market saga, over-zealous parking wardens ticketing school galagoers and the Porirua 50th committee imploding.
There were positives for the council, too.
It came up with $1 million to help Aotea College fund a performing arts centre, pitched in to rescue the floundering Porirua Sports Awards, took over management of the Bernie Wood Turf, named the Porirua Park grandstand after Jerry Collins, oversaw the brilliant 50th festivities and reacted quickly during and after the May 14 floods.
The council attracted more headlines over Porirua Little Theatre getting an extension to find funding for Titahi Bay Marines Hall, selling off 30 reserves and pockets of land, the Spicer Landfill smell, asking the Government to take responsibility for private housing, buying the New Zealand Post building, and getting the Cobham Court upgrade under
‘‘The 4.8 per cent rates rise . . . was decried by many as extravagant.’’
Next year’s local body elections loom.
There will be some change around the council table. Mayor Nick Leggett is rumoured to be considering a tilt at the Wellington mayoralty and Porirua councillors Bronwyn Kropp and Ken Douglas have confirmed they will not seek re-election. Tim Sheppard and Litea Ah Hoi may also stand aside.
Our council report card in March again generated feedback – Leggett and councillor Izzy Ford came out on top, and John Burke and Ah Hoi fared worst.
Since Wendy Walker took over from Gary Simpson as council chief executive in September, there has been change among the council senior executive.
Long-serving David Rolfe has departed, and other changes are likely.
The Titahi Bay Lions-run Saturday market, forced out of Porirua’s CBD, is now based at Waitangirua. The issue created negative publicity for Porirua City Council.