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Feedback likely to be plentiful

Opinion Piece

It is road show time for the District Council as it starts its long-term plan consultation process this week — once ex-Cyclone Hola allows it to — and all the signs are there that Mayor Meng Foon and his party are going to have some fiery evenings with locals who want to focus on the issues that immediately affect them.

While huge matters like addressing wastewater overflows, further wastewater treatment and the Olympic Pools redevelopment capture the attention of many, in the north and west of the district particularly it is all about the poor state of their roads.

There are signs that Mr Foon realises this.

In a foreword to the council’s official WTF (What’s The Future)Tairawhiti consultation document he says there is a lot of work to be done to address the issues facing the district, and not enough putea (money) to do it all at once.

“Our plan is to spend the next few years investing in the core infrastructure of our district, whether that is building it new, upgrading or improving the maintenance of what we already have.

“That means we are focusing on the essentials in this long-term plan for 2018-28, but we will have a starting point for our community to be successful and thrive.”

The Mayor adds that the council is asking the public to consider preferred options for the big-ticket items and how we will pay for them. You may think we need to look again at some of our recommendations and priorities, he says . . . which could be something of an understatement.

There is a feeling in some quarters, reflected in letters to the editor, that the council has focused on what many consider to be grandiose projects like its new building while not doing enough about things like sewage discharges into the city rivers.

And while it is not up for further consultation, the decision to apply for a dual name for the bay of Turanganui a Kiwa/Poverty Bay has fired up some . . . and today’s news that city ratepayers face a higher average increase than the promoted 5 percent figure will add to the flames. Welcome to the road show.