Two-yearly cycle for community awards planned

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Gore District residents will have to wait until next year to nominate community members who deserve recognition.

At last week’s full council meeting councillors voted to postpone the community awards until 2022 and hold the awards every two years.

The awards have been held since 2007.

A report written by communications/marketing manager Sonia Gerken and community strategy manager Anne Pullar outlining the rationale for making the awards a two-yearly event was tabled at the meeting.

In the report it said it was often a challenge to find enough nominees for the award categories and also stretched council resources to put the event on.

“Making the awards biennial will ensure it retains its status as the signature event for the council.

“It will also ensure the event generates a a high level of anticipation in the community.”

Mayor Tracy Hicks said he was very aware of how important the community awards were.

“I do acknowledge some of the challenges around getting numbers of nominees on a regular basis on a 12-monthly cycle so I think it’s good we pause and take a breath to consider other ways of doing this,” Mr Hicks said.

When the awards first started the council was not as involved in as many events as it was now, he said.

Councillor Bronwyn Reid said she was happy with the event being run biennially.

“It does keep that standard high.”

Councillor Doug Grant said his concern was people who had achieved one year might be forgotten when it was time for nominations to be called.

“People that are eligible now they might drop off the ladder so is it something you could put the nominations out there for this year and then next year combine the two?”

Ms Pullar replied some groups that had biennial awards opened nominations earlier.

“You could open it earlier and then choose when you did your publicity around it.”

Councillor Richard McPhail said he was supportive of the change but wondered if there could be a review of the award categories to determine whether they were still relevant and reflected the district’s diversity.

Mr Hicks said the categories had been changed in the past but in light of the changing nature of the community it would be good to review categories.

“Our focus on areas of activity and achievement is quite different to what it was five years ago even so we need to be able to reflect that.”