GISBORNE District Council will have to hold hearings after receiving a stream of submissions on its representation review.
These include conflicting responses to the council’s recommendation to retain the status quo for the number of councillors and wards.
The council will also hear requests for the establishment of a community board at Wainui.
Submissions on the council’s proposal closed on Friday.
Democracy and support services manager Eileen Cronin said that by this morning well over 150 submissions had been received and were still being processed.
At present, submissions in support of the council’s recommendation to retain the status quo numbered 64, nearly double the 39 opposing it.
There were also two petitions from Tikitiki and Uawa that sought to have the present three wards on the East Coast retained.
Many of these submissions were in the form of a tick on the postcard distributed by the Tairawhiti Democracy Network.
About 12 of the submitters had requested a hearing, Mrs Cronin said. That included the Wainui-Okitu Residents Association, which was seeking to have a community board established in their area.
The council had set down July 4 for the submissions to be heard, she said.
From that a staff report would be prepared for the council’s monthly meeting on July 26, at which the council would have to decide on its final proposal which would be publicly notified.
The process does not end there, however. There is still the opportunity to appeal or object to the final proposal, which is then referred to the Local Government commission which, in turn, has the power to hold a hearing if it wishes.
The commission has to finalise representation for this district by April next year.
The council’s decision to retain the present 14 councillors and seven wards has attracted controversy.
That proposal does not meet the criteria for representation according to population.
There has been support for a near-compliant alternative prepared by staff.
The council also decided not to establish separate Maori wards.
Earlier this month there were claims that the postcard distributed by the democracy network was misleading. In response, the network said they were giving people a range of alternatives and encouraging them to make up their minds and make a submission.
The council is legally bound to review its representation every six years in time for the following local body elections.
At the last review, the council decided to retain the status quo.