Penny’s Piece » July 2014

In Public Speaking at the Otaki Community Board meeting last Tuesday night a member of our community raised three issues with the Board; improvements to bus stops in Otaki, the polluting of waterways in the Horowhenua, and the extension of electrification to Otaki.

When I observed that these are matters that sit with regional councils the speaker responded that he has been asking Kapiti’s representative Greater Wellington Regional Council Nigel Wilson for a meeting time for six months and has been unsuccessful in getting one.

Our Community Board was not surprised, given our Chair and council staff have been chasing Cr Wilson for a meeting on Otaki public transport since April.

This complaint from our community reinforces our own current experience, and it echoes my own frustration. Week after week Cr Wilson fills his column space in a districtwide newspaper berating the Kapiti Coast District Council, while writing under the banner of our GWRC representative; surely that is newspaper column space that he should be utilising to explain to Kapiti what he is doing at the GWRC table to further our local issues.

Our rates pay for him to represent us on that council, and I would hope the first priority of his time when writing columns is to focus on GWRC matters and what his position is on issues relevant to the regional council, what he is doing to progress Kapiti’s views and interests at the regional council, and to provide us with some accountability on our return for our GWRC rates.

Because here in Otaki we see no progress or improvements in our public transport services, by contrast I do know how much time and energy KCDC, the Otaki Community Board and myself put into advocating on public transport needs for Otaki.

On other non-Otaki public transport matters, Raumati residents have turned to me for help to advocate to GWRC for a train stop at Raumati; Cr Wilson didn’t show up to the latest meeting to discuss the issue as arranged.

The ongoing complex matter of the Collmog Bridge up the Otaki Gorge was first raised with Cr Wilson as the GWRC representative. The bridge’s breach of the RMA is under the jurisdiction of GWRC, so why did Cr Wilson not take the matter to his council when first approached by the affected local landowners. It was subsequently raised with district council representatives and as a result KCDC has spent a huge amount of staff and councillors’ time investigating and discussing the separate matter concerning building consent issues which fall in to KCDC responsibility, let alone a huge amount of ratepayers’ money.

On behalf of the Otaki community I repeat the question I posed in this column over 2 years ago; “Nigel what have you done for us lately?”