Mayor's column August 2017


(Posted on: August 8)

From the Mayor- August 2017

As our wet weather continues, we still have a few rural roads closed due to ongoing slips and vegetation down. The recent snow event followed by even more rain, has challenged support and service networks and re-enforced the need for all residents to be prepared. Of particular concern as I called on homes with no power, were the families renting properties in rural areas who are not part of a neighbourhood support network and had little or no supplies to be self-sufficient for a least the first 3 days in an emergency event. Then there is the ongoing impact on our farmers, not only faced with the huge clean-up of broken fences, major slips, difficulty in accessing stock etc. but are heading into their calving and lambing season on saturated ground with no grass growth. It is a testing time for many and we all should be on the lookout for people showing severe signs of stress and ensure they get help. Our rural folk are genuine tough guys but there is only so much anyone can bear when under severe ongoing pressure. Thank you to our support teams, contractors and local residents who have gone and continue to go ‘above and beyond’ in times like these. With each emergency event we all learn more and are better prepared for next time, which our climate experts tell us is not if, but when, these types of events occur again.

The Local Government NZ conference held last month, was a chance to network and share experiences with other communities and come back recharged and motivated. The conference theme was ‘Liveable Spaces and Loveable Places’ with a range of presentations from ideas for future proofing our communities and using our urban spaces better, to successful community projects involving recycling, activities for our elderly and youth, to working together finding smarter and more affordable solutions to civil defence, economic development, water management and transport. Lianne Dalzell, the Mayor of Christchurch recounted their incredible journey rebuilding their city, using the latest technology and products. This was an awe inspiring session with her message being ’never let a serious crisis go to waste’.

The Manawatu Gorge debate continues as the recent business leaders meeting with the Minister requested urgent action from the Government. We are seeking a decision on whether the Gorge reopening is actually a reality or not, given the current information and data heavily show it is very unlikely. We are also seeking national recognition status for this access road which connects central New Zealand together and is a critical link for the lower North island’s economy. Both of these steps would give confidence to businesses and wider region, that in the Minister’s words finding “a permanent, straighter and resilient” route is priority.

To progress gathering information to assist owners of Earthquake Prone Buildings, Council will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday 16th of August at 6pm.  We are fortunate to have secured again one of NZ’s foremost experts in earthquake engineering, Win Clark, as well as Mike Frew from Heritage EQUIP. This meeting is open to anyone interested in this important issue for our town.

Please register your attendance by contacting Maria on Maria.Brenssell@mdc.govt.nz 

Helen