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Community Board to make crucial decision on delegated powers

July 8th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

Motueka Community Board members have a crucial decision to make this month about the future of their powers, following the Tasman District Council's recommendation last week that the board's spending power and delegations be extended. (See our story here.)

This will be a key discussion point at the board's July meeting to be held, in public, next Tuesday at 4.30pm. TDC's chief executive Paul Wylie has asked that the board approve the recommendation at Tuesday's meeting, and then provide a detailed response before the end of July ready for the Council's August 11 meeting.

TDC has proposed that the board be given a range of delegated authorities including for the ward's community halls, in particular the Motueka Memorial Hall, for community markets, and for handling applications by community groups for high-value grants from rates. If approval was given, the new delegations would come into effect immediately because the new financial year has just begun.

These delegations were proposed by the Local Government Commission (LGC) as part of its Nelson-Tasman amalgamation proposal when considering the powers of the community board under such a union. View LGC's list below.

A cynical observer would suggest that the TDC giving more power to communities now after 22 years of virtual powerlessness is an effective counter strategy to one of the strongest arguments for amalgamation.

Paul Wylie said, however, that it has taken so long for this move because TDC has never been given any guidance from the LGC on what powers should be delegated to community boards. He said Council has been reviewing its relationships with community boards for more than a year but the question of delegations had been left on the table. Now that the LGC has provided formal advice so this change can proceed.

Whether the Community Board's greater powers are granted by TDC or an amalgamated council, this should be a great boost for Motueka, provided the board is up to the task of administering the extra powers. Most observers feel that, with some notable exceptions, this board is not achieving a great deal with many items of progress languishing for want of enthusiasm from board members.

This inertia may be tested at Tuesday's meeting when board members will be asked to table short reports of their community activities on behalf of the board over the past month, a requirement that they voted in at the June meeting.

But perhaps part of the fault of apparent apathy is due to the common perception of TDC's attitude to the board. Motueka Online has spoken with many residents who have complained that in the past their requests for service through the board have got nowhere, but have been addressed quickly when made directly to council. Many feel that TDC do not take community board requests and urgings seriously enough.

Aerodrome management and operation

Also of interest to many at next Tuesday's meeting will be further discussion and information about the management and operation of the Motueka Aerodrome. TDC's property manager Jim Frater will provide a verbal report on the operation of the airport and probably the Sunday Decks Reserve market.

Board chairman David Ogilvie says Jim has not indicated whether this report would be public-excluded, but he very much hoped it would not be. Motueka Online believes that, given the concerns of many residents about the secrecy of information about the administration of the airport until now, excluding the public and media from an information session would be counter productive and increase nervousness that there may be something to hide.

Proposed powers of Community Boards [as set out in LGC's proposal for amalgamation]

Community boards shall have delegated authority, in accordance with the policies, plans and bylaws of the Council, to:

(a) allocate funding and operational grants to local community groups in their community
(b) manage, maintain and approve usage (including hireage charges) of community halls in their community
(c) seek funding (to be held by the Council) from external organisations which can be applied to community projects within their community
(d) make recommendations to the Council on the granting of leases or licences on reserves and public spaces in their community
(e) make recommendations to the Council on proposed developments or activities on local parks, reserves and waterways in their community
(f) make recommendations to the Council on submissions and objections in relation to statutory processes
(g) approve traffic control and constraint measures, parking restrictions and traffic control signs on streets in their community (e.g. stop and give way signs etc)
(h) approve the design and location of bus stops and shelters in their community
(i) approve the design and location of neighbourhood improvements, such as street furniture, in their community
(j) approve names of roads, streets and parks in their community
(k) grant consent for the removal of trees from parks, reserves, streets or other Council land in their community
(l) authorise, within approved budgets, board member attendance at appropriate conferences and training courses.


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