Mayoral candidates take on pothole issue

Putting their hands up . . . Candidates standing in the Gore and district- wide wards had the chance to introduce themselves at meeting hosted by the Rotary Club of Gore at the Croydon Lodge last week. The candidates are (back row from left) Joe Stringer, Steven (Boko) Dixon, Paul McPhail, Glenys Dickson, Keith Hovell, Richard McPhail, Bret Highsted and Stephen McStay and (front row from left) Robert (Caveman) McKenzie, Janeen Reti, Nick Grant, Reuben Turipa and Bronwyn Reid. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

About 170 Gore district residents attended a meet the candidates evening last week.

The meeting, hosted by the Rotary Club of Gore, was chaired by Gore Toastmasters Club member Lindsay Wright.

The evening’s programme began with the mayoral candidates Ben Bell and Tracy Hicks introducing themselves to the audience.

The men then answered questions submitted by the audience.

One question which was asked was what the successful candidate would do about the state of the district’s gravel roads.

Mr Hicks said he had recently inspected the gravel roads.

‘‘Probably 80% of the roads were in a really good state, 20% were terrible and when I went back and talked to the team at the council, those 20% have been well and truly identified.’’

The wet winter had not helped.

‘‘That was probably one of the wettest winters that we’ve ever had and trying to make change while they are wet causes bigger problems.’’

Grading the roads was a key tool in keeping them in good condition but conditions had to be right for that to happen, he said.

To improve the quality of the roads there would need to be more investment which would require more ratepayer funding.

‘‘It’s about what people are prepared to pay.’’

Mr Bell said he spent a lot of time in rural communities chatting with people.

‘‘All people can talk about is the state of the roads and they absolutely hate it.

‘‘People come up to me and they’ve taken photos from all around their area of potholes.’’

There needed to be a relocation of funding.

‘‘We just can’t let our rural roads get to the state they’re in now.’’

He was not sure where the money would come from.

‘‘I don’t know how we rejig the finances but there’s got to be some give to reinvest money into those rural roads.’’

The Gore and district-wide candidates then introduced themselves and all the candidates answered more questions.