[quote_right]The Ōtaki Mail is pleased to welcome James Cootes, Chair of the Ōtaki Community Board as a regular commentator.[/quote_right]
I thought I’d start my first column with a bit of an introduction. Who I am, the Community Board (OCB), what we do and why we are there. I’ve lived in Ōtaki since I was 13 moving back with my Mum and Dad who were originally from Ōtaki. I attended Ōtaki College, got a job at the local Bakery and now own Kiss and Bake Up with my wife Annette. Our two kids attend Waitohu School. I first stood for the Ōtaki Community Board (OCB) in 2007 after running the Ōtaki Business Group. I stood as I wanted to make a difference and being on the Community Board I was one step closer to the decision making. Now 8 years on I feel I can honestly say that your Community Board does make a difference.
Joining me on the Board this triennium is Rob Kofoed (deputy chair), Chris Papps, Colin Pearce and Penny Gaylor who is also your Ward Councillor appointed back to the Board. We all come from difference backgrounds and bring our own unique skill set to the table. The Community Board’s role is slightly different to that of a Councillor in that it advocates on behalf of the Community at the Council table. Each of your CB members have their own “portfolios” and attend the following Committees:
- Rob — Environment and Community Development
- Chris — Corporate Business
- Colin — Regulatory Management
- Penny as a councillor chairs the Environment and Community Development Committee
- As Chair of OCB I attend all Full Council meetings, briefings and workshops of which there are many.
Our Council is unique to others in that CB members are welcome at the council table and to the discussion however as we are not councillor’s we don’t have voting rights. Over the last triennium we have had input into a multitude of topics for example, Amalgamation, the Expressway, Urban Tree Variation, Coastal Erosion, Public Transport, Representation Review and the Long Term Plan just to name a few.
More recently members of the board were involved in an evaluation panel along with two residents of Ōtaki to evaluate the proposals for leasing the old i-Site building. Through a robust and fair scoring process Artscape was selected as the successful applicant and I look forward to seeing the old I-site full of arts and crafts and bustling with people. In my next column I will share more about the future of Ōtaki and the work we are doing to best position Ōtaki.
Hei konā rā — James Cootes