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Motueka policing discussed at community board meeting

August 16th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

Police foot patrolling is one of the best tools for tackling local crime, say both the Motueka Community Board and the Tasman Police District commander, Mike Johnson.

In a special public discussion at yesterday's community board meeting, board members put their concerns to Mike about policing in Motueka and were generally satisfied with the answers.

Councillor Paul Hawkes suggested foot patrols need to become a constant feature of local policing, because it's a great way for police to gather snippets of information from the general public about who's doing what in town.

He said there have been periods in the last few years when foot patrols have been performed for several weeks but then they seemed to stop.

He is certain that with familiar police walking High Street, it becomes much easier for people to feel confident to pass on information, particularly about problems with methamphetamine.

Mike said he was very sympathetic to the idea, and it will be part of continuing adjustments being made to police staffing in general in Motueka.

Several avenues of discussion related to times when the Motueka police station are open to the public or not. Mike said the station is open to the public whenever there is a sworn officer present, but health and safety issues mean it cannot be open when only non-sworn staff are on duty.

He said one of the main tasks that police have is to work out the best way of communicating to the public when the station is open and how to get in touch otherwise.

He talked about work being done on communication between police and the on matters that are not immediate emergencies. He said police nationwide are working on setting up a parallel system to the emergency 111 system, to deal with non-emergency issues.

Youth representation on the community board
For the first time two representatives from the Motueka cluster of the Tasman Youth Council were present at the table for the first half of the meeting.

As part of revised standing orders, the representatives Amber Goodall and Pacey Grooby were permitted to take part in discussions. Though neither of them spoke they would have learned a lot about the processes of local government and getting a feel for what goes on at board meetings.

Memorial Hall cutlery hire
Following several complaints over the past couple of years, the community board decided to use the authority it has found it had to waive the current $150 crockery hire fee for community groups who are hiring the Memorial Hall for community events.

Unhappiness with the hire fee being applied across the board since the crockery was purchased by the community board about five years ago has arisen from the charge being applied even for charitable events such as the Community Christmas Dinner and the Motueka Volunteers Celebration.

Community board chairman Brent Maru investigated the basis for this charge and found that the board has always had the authority to waive this higher charge, although this had not been well known to board members.

Members agreed that across the board chairman should have the discretion to waive the fee where appropriate.

Brent will work with TDC staff to create a protocol which will allow the board to decide if a particular usage of the cutlery is for a truly community event being held by a recognised community group.

New library working party
The working party that has been set up by TDC to examine the options for a new or expanded library will have its first meeting at the end of August.

The working party consists of three Council senior staff and Brent Maru, Councillor Peter Canton and Councillor David Ogilvie.

They will primarily develop the terms of reference and methodology to be undertaken by a contracted consultant to perform community consultation and a feasibility study, with the main options being an expansion of the existing library in Pah Street or a new library on Wallace Street.

They will also recommend to Council the best consultant to perform the task.

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