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Slow progress toward youth reps on community board

May 18th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community Board is planning a selection process for non-voting youth representation at board meetings, while bureaucracy hampers efforts to change standing orders needed to formalise the arrangement.

The desire to include one or two young people, probably from the local branch of the Tasman Youth Council, at meetings has been a priority for the new board since last October's local body elections.

However progress has been slowed by a lack of progress around the formalities called "standing orders" which legally govern how local government body meetings are run.

At the board's May meeting on Tuesday, chairman Brent Maru said he wanted members to get on with the process of establishing youth representation selection criteria, while he kept pressing TDC bureaucrats to sort out the standing orders.

"I'm frustrated with this, so I want to unblock the process" by attacking it from two fronts, he said.

Board member Claire Hutt and Councillor Peter Canton will meet with local and Council people involved in youth leadership to work out how to choose individual young people or perhaps a panel to represent youth, once the standing orders are settled.

Support for library feasibility study
The board discussed the recent debate and developments around Council possibly bringing forward the Motueka Library project, and decided on a formally agreed position.

That position is to urge Council to advance the feasibility study into the coming 2017/18 Annual Plan, but at this stage not to take a fixed opinion of whether the project will produce an enlarged existing library or a new library on Decks Reserve.

Councillor Peter Canton, who has pressed for earlier progress at Council meetings, said it is best at this stage to just get the feasibility study under way, in order to bring some clarity to the options and what the community really wants.

"The feasibility study will look carefully at the two options - extending the existing library or building a new one - as part of its work," he said.

"This will also be linked to a current cause of concern, around the future of the Laura Ingram Kindergarten which could be bulldozed to make a library car park."

At its previous meeting, the Community Board received a petition signed by more than 1000 people asking for assurances as to the future of the kindergarten at its current site behind the library.

Brent Maru said this is an extremely significant petition in terms of the number of people signing it, and the board must take it very seriously.

Motueka-Whanganui ferry
The board also considered its position on recent developments about the proposed ferry service, given that the ferry proponents had presented their project ideas to TDC last week.

Brent and other board members said they shared some of Council's and the Mayor's caution about the project, especially around the huge resource consent issues that will come up.

They agreed that they need a more formal presentation and discussion with the project proposers, with considerably more details before taking up a firmer opinion.

They agreed that at this stage they would be happy to support requests for TDC to talk with Whanganui District Council, and if the proposal seems to stack up with their supporters well, to contribute financially to the feasibility study.

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