Removal of CDAs would cut red tape
A proposal to get rid of Community Development Area subcommittees has been met with some concern about how the change will affect local communities.
The Southland District Council is proposing to do away with CDAs for the 2019 local government elections.
The council has released its initial proposal for the 2018 Representation Review, which, if approved on Friday, will be sent out for public consultation.
Along with the removal of 19 CDAs, the changes will also have a significant effect on the make up of community boards in the district.
While the number of boards will remain the same [eight], together they will cover everyone within the district.
Areas that previously were represented by a CDA, or had no direct representation at all, will now come under one of the eight new community boards.
The proposed community board areas would be Ardlussa [six elected members], Fiordland [six elected members], Northern [six elected members], Oreti [eight elected members], Stewart Island Rakiura [four elected members], Takitimu [six elected members], Taramea Te Waewae [six elected members], and Waihopai Toetoe [seven elected members].
Southland District mayor Gary Tong said the changes had the potential to heavily decrease the levels of bureaucracy involved in local decision-making.
Nightcaps CDA chairwoman Bev Evans said her main concern was that there would be less direct input and funding for local communities.
‘‘I don’t think anyone in CDA is happy with it.
‘‘You can’t have representation around the whole district because each town has its own way of doing things – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’’
Browns CDA chairman Ralph the Hamilton said while the new arrangement could work well, but would depend on the structure of the new proposal and the way the boards were funded.
Wallacetown Community Board chairman Peter Laurie said he was ‘‘on the fence’’ with regard to the new proposal.
‘‘I can see it working but, in a large area like ours, I think people could get lost and still not be represented – so we’ve got to get proactive people onto the boards.’’
In the proposal from the council, the reasoning behind the changes was to create district-wide coverage of community boards, to give ‘‘equitable representation across the whole of the district’’.
Tong said he was comfortable that the council had done the appropriate consultation across the district.
‘‘That’s the views of the people we’ve been talking to up to this date, that we can do this better.
‘‘I feel it will give 100 per cent representation across the district. It certainly hasn’t been there in the past.’’
Tong said the removal of the CDAs, which technically are council subcommittees, would reduce the bureaucracy in the decisionmaking process.
‘‘CDAs are bound by the same rules that the councillors are bound to around the councillors table ... I think this gives them an opportunity to have more say, outside of the bureaucracy of a committee meeting,
Tong pointed to recent projects, such as the Curioscape development in the Catlins, of a model for development in smaller communities.
‘‘In the Curioscape project, while the council supported the process that was happening there with the trust, they didn’t have to come back and forwards to council all the time.
‘‘It was done through a community group trust, which just got on and did it ... that’s a very good example of how things can be done within a community.’’