WHAT’S ON IN COUNCIL THIS WEEK - FULL council meeting Thursday, and several interesting agenda items, though I suspect proceedings will be dominated by discussion about how we are going to address the rates problem.
I have limited patience for that because we obviously made a booboo, best thing to do is accept that, find a solution, and move on. Recriminations don’t help a hell of a lot, and blaming staff is especially unhelpful in my view. You elect us in the expectation that we’ll be smart enough to keep things on an even keel, if we aren’t then I see that as our problem, not a staff problem. If you as a community are sufficiently upset then your recourse is to elect smarter councillors next time.
There are two spots currently listed for the public forum, the first is Hamish Cave on behalf of Fed Farmers, and I’m presuming he will be on about the rates issues — though that might be a bit awkward because the rates trouble is mainly about shifting rates from one group of farmers to another group of farmers. I doubt if he wants us to cure it by shifting the rates back to the original payers, the farmers in Differential Rating Area Three. The second is David Meban about the Citrus Grove resource consent.
The freedom camping bylaw is up for review, and there are a number of changes suggested. There are three new areas promulgated (subject to DoC approval), being Rere, Rangitukia and Tuparoa. Also, a suggestion that single overnight camping be permitted at Midway, Marina carpark and Makorori Beach, as long as they are self-contained vehicles.
This will probably cause a bit of dissension but this is early stages. All the council is being asked to do is approve it for consultation, which allows objectors a chance to make their case before the hearings committee.
Technically speaking, the council can muck around with the staff suggestion but the usual practice is to let it go out that way and see what you, the public, have to say. Quite often things are sent out for consultation that I don’t agree with, but I vote for them to go out anyway because the best way to find out how you feel is to ask you.
One of the more difficult agenda items is about the maintenance of cattle stops on public roads, which might cause the average city ratepayer to yawn and switch off, but it is actually quite a problem. There are 60-70 of the damned things, and the affected farmer has traditionally taken responsibility for their maintenance. But the increase in forestry-related traffic out in the boondocks is blurring some edges. Run enough heavy vehicles over them and they fill in, so they don’t stop cattle.
So maybe we should ask forestry to lend a hand with maintenance? Um, OK but forestry doesn’t really see why it should do that, considering they are public roads and forestry already pays a fair chunk in roading rates.
But if you’re a farmer trying to contain your stock, and the law allows you to do so by putting in a cattle stop, it is obviously pretty irritating if trucks come along and stuff up their effectiveness.
No easy answer to this sort of problem. No right answer. A timely reminder that people who think being a councillor is a piece of cake, and any fool could do it better than the incumbents, are generally ignorant. I don’t know the answer, do you?