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Youth Council a crucial conduit

Opinion Piece

Today we will be interviewing candidates for the Youth Council. The scope of a Youth Council has gone through a review and refresh, and everyone is keen to get this up and running again.

The recommendation is that the optimum size is for a nine-member council. We are happy to have had 16 enthusiastic candidates; 12 urban, three rural. They are all worthy and able, and it will be a shame to deny some from a role they have indicated interest in.

The mode of operation will be two co-chairs of which one is new each year, to encourage strong succession. It is well understood that a Youth Council will add value to Gisborne District Council. GDC is future-focused and so much of what we do is about what today's youth and their children will inherit as a community and environment.

The expectation is that the youth councillors will be canvassing youth views and gathering information from their peer groups. They will be a crucial conduit to assisting GDC community engagement on our proposed policies, plans and projects. There will be four formal meetings per year and the members will be paid a small gratuity.

Fire and water are risk focal points at the moment. The colour of our environment is highlighting the danger. We are grateful that there is an awareness of the current situation being observed. Events in Australia must surely have given us all the knowledge about just how crucial all due care and attention is through such times. We must all adhere to current restrictions. Anything that sparks or flames must be fully under control. Restricted two-hour maximum sprinkler use between 6am and 8am, and all practical elements of water conservation, should be front of mind. If the lawn is brown, so be it.

There is a growing awareness of the GDC Fix it app. This is the new way to tell us when a council service or asset needs attention. We do want to know of issues as soon as possible, and it is quick and user-friendly. Get “GDC FIX” from Apple app store or Google Play for Android.

It's no secret that our stormwater pollution is a huge concern. But even though it is no secret, there is still an awareness issue which needs addressing. If it goes down the stormwater, it's en route to our rivers and the sea. Stormwater pollution features the delights of litter, cigarette butts, chemicals, roadside sediment and other nasties. To profile the issue, council has the DrainWise Art Competition. Artists will be judged on an artwork which will feature on a high-profile stormwater drain grate, to help raise the awareness of avoidable stormwater pollution. If you go to the council website you will see some visuals of the idea and be able to download the entry form.

I'm sure we have all seen our fill of orange and white road cones. Roading maintainance is in full swing and many improvements are visible. We are thankful to the teams who are improving and maintaining our infrastructure, and enduring some very uncomfortable working conditions through a super hot period.

We are all concerned by the issues our exporting businesses are currently experiencing. It would be incredibly frustrating to return to work refreshed and refocused from a summer break to hear that international events have created huge uncertainty and difficulty to so many of our whanau. Particularly frustrating must be the “out of the blue” nature of the events. Here's hoping it is just a short-term, very small speed bump.

Andy Cranston