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Selwyn Times: October 04, 2016

8 Tuesday

8 Tuesday October 4 2016 SELWYN TIMES In the lead up to local body elections on Saturday, the Selwyn Times has been regularly putting a question to each of the five Selwyn mayoral candidates. The final question relates to the 6km of new footpaths constructed by the district council during the current financial year. The footpaths cost $500,000 in total, with $400,000 of that being met from investment income and therefore no direct cost to the ratepayer. Lincoln and Prebbleton are not among the 12 Selwyn communities which will benefit from this. If the district council is using funds from investments, why shouldn’t some funds be allocated to these two towns? District councillor Sam Broughton: The contribution to the general rate from households across the district is an important income source for our community and is used to pay for public good items including footpaths where a targeted rate is not appropriate or difficult to apportion. Income from investments is treated in the same way. The council makes general rate decisions based on need and looks to be fair across the district. There are footpaths in each of the wards to be completed as part of the programme. The footpath programme is to bring our footpaths up to the expectations of our community. The towns with the most work have been lagging behind our expected standard and it will be good to see them upgraded over the next couple of years. District councillor Debra Hasson: Investment revenue is used to support the general rate and applied across Selwyn in ‘swings and roundabouts’. Due to the timing of this money, post annual plan deliberations council decided to increase the footpath budget from $200,000 to $500,000 over 12-18 months, bringing forward planned expenditure. A revised list was prepared by staff reflecting both submissions and priorities. While Lincoln and Prebbleton footpaths were not included, on a ward basis, footpaths in Tai Tapu were. Once this $500,000 has been spent, council plans to consult with township committees on council’s Walking and Cycling Strategy so further footpaths can be added. Please remember, to construct Lincoln’s Town Centre Plan, general rate funding will apply and some years ago Prebbleton had its main street upgraded. District councillor Pat McEvedy: The footpaths listed in the 2016/17 footpath extension programme are those that have been requested by various township committees over a period of years. The $400,000 from a Sicon dividend has made it possible to reduce the nine year waiting list. Most of these footpaths are missing links in the older parts of these townships. The reason that there are none in Lincoln and Prebbleton may mean that the connections in these two townships are much better than most other townships. This reflects the quality of the recent developments in these towns that has provided good linkages and connections for walking. It’s important that we respond to what individual communities want and request as all of our townships are unique and have different requirements. Elections 16 Deputy mayor Sarah Walters: An assessment was undertaken by staff based on three pedestrian benefit factors to initially determine priority across the district and letters were sent to community committees asking for further feedback. Priority was determined on: those within townships (ie the benefit to more pedestrians), those alongside the busiest road (ie improves safety of pedestrians), those that filled in a missing link (ie gaps between existing footpaths to make routes more continuous). Since the annual budget was put together the council has also adopted the Lincoln Town Centre Plan which includes improved pedestrian facilities and requires significant investment but has not yet been through the budget process. Bill Woods: This question is directed to the other candidates as I have had no involvement in the decision but I am confident that there would have been a list of footpaths to be constructed and an order of priority drawn up with the towns of Lincoln and Prebbleton not making the grade. What I am also not aware of is did the councillors question the order or just accept the list presented to them without question? If past actions are anything to go by the list would have been accepted without any questioning. I must emphasise this is only my assessment as I have no information to the contrary. Summer Wedding? Visit Smith & Boston! 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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday October 4 2016 9 Coe’s final meeting • By Tom Doudney MAYOR KELVIN Coe has paid tribute to a group of district councillors who “play the ball and not the man” in his last meeting in charge. Mr Coe will step down following Saturday’s election after nine years as mayor and 12 years before that as a district councillor. In his valedictory speech, he said that throughout his time as mayor councillors had shown the ability to work together and keep disagreements at the table from becoming personal – something which wasn’t always been true of other councils. “That’s a real strength of this council,” he said. He said the fact that most of the incumbent district councillors had been voted back in at the last two elections showed they had been doing a good job. Other district councillors thanked Mr Coe for encouraging discussion, which allowed for consensus decision making. District councillor Nigel Barnett, who is also retiring, said he was proud of the way the district council had gone from lagging behind in dealing with some issues relating to the district’s runaway growth JOB DONE: Mayor Kelvin Coe will step down after Saturday’s election. to getting on top of things during his own nine years at the table. “When I look back at some of the big decisions we took on board, with the benefit of hindsight, there really wasn’t any other decision that could have been made,” Cr Barnett said. He acknowledged his reputation as a joker. “It would be a bit of a shame if I couldn’t have some fun along the way.” Jeff Bland • By Tom Doudney MEMBERS OF the Selwyn Central Community Board have lamented its loss as it enters its final days. The board held its final meeting last month and will be officially disestablished following Saturday’s local government elections. The district council decided to disestablish the board after consultation last year and the Local Government Commission supported the decision. District councillors Jeff Bland, who took over from Diane Chesmar as chairman at the start of the year due to tensions between fellow board members, said the district council had been too quick to Bruce Russell Last days for community board get rid of the board. He would rather have seen Selwyn Central residents given the chance to vote on whether to retain the board as part of local body elections. “I’m a great believer in democracy and I am sad myself that the board has been dissolved, I would have liked to see it continue,” Cr Bland said. Deputy chairman Bruce Russell said that in turning away from community boards Selwyn was out of step with other parts of the country. “In Christchurch the mayor and councillors there are saying ‘we must give more power to our community boards because they are the heart of the community’.” KEEP IT SAFE & SECURE You’re invited to a free workshop on irrigation efficiency Manage your irrigation to make every drop count Selwyn Waihora Workshop Come and hear from IrrigationNZ and get your questions answered. A practical workshop designed to get the most out of your irrigation water. • Understanding soil/water needs & pre-season check • Scheduling, using climate info to budget water use, etc Wednesday 12 October, 9.45am – 3pm 110 Brook St, Southbridge For more information call Sylvia McAslan, 027 705 9735 Lunch sponsored by: Get your perfect backyard shed! THICKER, STRONGER & MORE SECURE BIG RANGE OF GARDEN AND STORAGE SHED SIZES AND STYLES AVAILABLE CHRISTCHURCH 55 Hands Road Ph: (03) 338 9063 www.stratco.co.nz