Mayor and councillors ready to go

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Ready for action...The new Gore District Council members were sworn into office at the council's statutory meeting on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore district mayor Tracy Hicks was sworn into office for his sixth term at the council’s statutory meeting on Tuesday.

New councillors Nick Grant (Gore), Richard McPhail (council at large) and Stewart MacDonell (Kaiwera Waimumu) joined the council’s oval table.

Returning councillors were Bronwyn Reid, Doug Grant, Glenys Dickson, Bret Highsted (Gore), John Gardyne (Waikaka), Nicky Davis, Cliff Bolger (council at large) and Neville Phillips (Mataura).

A revamp of the way council meetings would be organised was also announced.

The makeover results in the community services, regulatory and planning, operations and finance and policy committees being disbanded.

One new committee, community strategy was announced while two committees, audit and risk and capital projects, would continue.

After the meeting Mr Hicks said in the past at committee meetings council managers reported back to councillors as to what activities their departments had been involved in.

“What I am suggesting is rather than spending committee time going through those reports let’s put those reports out to councillors on a regular basis and also out to the community via the website so that all that information is out there,” Mr Hicks said.

Items on the council agenda would now be those requiring a council decision as to what activities staff would be involved in rather than a rubber-stamping of reports, he said.

Committees would meet four times a year instead of six-weekly.

“Initially they are going to be quarterly and we will see how it goes.”

It was likely the council as a whole would meet more often.

The new community strategy committee would be chaired by Cr McPhail with deputy chairwoman Cr Dickson.

It would have a two-pronged focus.

It would follow up on the Ready for Growth project and deal with community’s wellbeing issues.

“At the moment the substance abuse one is in front of mind and will be a good start for that committee.”

The audit and risk committee would be chaired by Cr Highsted with deputy chairwoman Cr Davis.

“Audit and risk is a committee that has got more relevance as time goes on.”

The capital works committee would be chaired by Cr Bolger with deputy chairman Cr Gardyne.

“Its function is to manage and to oversee the big infrastructure spend projects the council has on its books right now.”

He also planned two more groups that might evolve into committees at a later date.

One group would liaise with the Hokonui Runanga.

“I think we need to boost our relationship with Hokonui Runanga and I think we need to consider in a reasonably informal basis how that might work.”

The other would explore the council’s role in the development of cycle and walking trails.

The grant subcommittee would also continue operating, chaired by Cr Grant.