Community board under watch

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Despite the cancellation of 15 meetings in six years, the Mataura Community Board has escaped an investigation into its future.

But if improvement does not occur, the board could face a review.

Gore District Council chief executive Steve Parry said in a representation review tabled at Tuesday’s council meeting the community board had struggled at times to ascertain its role.

“This has led to meetings being cancelled due to a lack of business,” Mr Parry said.

Three meetings had been cancelled so far this year, three were cancelled last year and in 2015, four meetings were canned.

But Cr Neville Phillips said after the meeting that even though the meetings were cancelled, the board meet informally in case there were residents wanting to have an informal chat about issues.

That practice would continue, he said.

Mr Parry said a draft community board charter had been developed to help the board identify its role.

“The charter sets out the roles and responsibilities of the board and the support and communication it can expect from the council,” he said.

It was hoped the charter would give the board more clarity about its role. It should give the board guidance in setting objectives annually and pave the way to working with the council and staff, Mr Parry said.

“But if meetings continue to be cancelled due to a lack of business in the future, the need for a community board in Mataura may have to be the subject of more searching inquisition when the next representation review is undertaken in 2023,” Mr Parry said.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said he viewed the community board as having an essential function.

The establishment of a charter should result in it becoming aware of its responsibilities and obligations, he said.

Cr Phillips said he had been working with the board on the development of the charter and hoped it would help define the roles between board members and the staff.

It would also help the board define their priorities, he said after the meeting.

The board was set up to bring issues from the community to the council, he said.

“My role is facilitating the board to council as a mediator and making sure those issues come to council and are forwarded in the proper manner.”

The charter would define the role of the ward councillor as well, he said.

Community board chairman Alan Taylor believed the board was very relevant to the community.

It had been involved in some big projects that had taken some time to complete, he said.

The board had still been meeting to discuss progress on projects and some of those meetings were in workshop form while others were held on the project sites.

The board was continually busy, he said.

“I believe we are elected by the community to do things, not just talk about them.”