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Community Board meeting frequency questioned again

September 21st, 2016
[by David Armstrong]

The frequency and timing of meetings will be one of the earliest decisions the incoming Motueka Community Board is likely to make following the upcoming local body elections.

The question of whether to continue with the six-weekly formal meetings that have run over the past year, or to revert to the monthly meetings, was discussed at the board's informal open forum last night.

The new community board will comprise Brent Maru, Claire Hutt and Richard Horrell, and will also include Paul Hawkes if he is not elected to Council. However, if Paul is successful in standing for Council, a by-election will take place for the fourth community board position.

The value of the open forums, which this year have been spaced six-weekly in the intervals between formal board meetings, was questioned again last night.

With only three members of the public present along with the five future or present board members, it was suggested that more publicity would attract people to the informal, round-table discussions.

Inexpensive small advertisements in the local papers were suggested as a small price to pay for more community engagement in the democratic process, while Brent suggested that a name like "face to face" rather than "public forum" would also help generate more interest.

Several informal public forum meetings this year have been well attended, but they have tended to be ones which were publicised as hearing complaints about some of the flooding issues.

Richard Horrell said he would prefer to go back to the monthly formal meetings, mainly because they were much easy to diarise and remember. David Ogilvie said six weeks between meetings was too long and meant that some action items dragged on and took many months to address.

The main rationale behind the change from monthly to six-weekly meetings had been to align them with TDC's six-weekly for Council meetings. The extra time also allowed the relevant Council staff to comment on agenda items the agendas closed.

No decisions were made last night, but the incoming and outgoing board members agreed it should be a decision for the incoming board to make.

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