Well, it’s been just over three years since I last had an opportunity to write a column as a Local Board representative and I have to say it’s nice to be back. It was a privilege to have been on the very first Rodney Local Board and to have been part of the team of people who forged the model for what we have today. The structure is now established, the relationships of the different facets of Auckland Council are mature and, despite what the doomsayers and trolls will tell you, Auckland is actually doing okay for itself, and, yes, within an organisation the size and structure of Council there will always be room to improve. It is also heartening to see that central government is being proactive and spending money on significant infrastructure, mainly transport-related, and, quite appropriately, a large dollop of it will land in the greater Auckland area.
Unfortunately, a couple of the major issues for Warkworth have not really changed, and they should have been resolved a very long time ago. Hill Street and maintenance and development of our rural roads remain serious thorns. There has to be a plan in place. Work that is anticipated as being necessary for when the new motorway opens and that will assist with traffic flow now, should be done now. I’m looking forward to doing my bit in getting this addressed.
I have had to start the year very quietly but am looking forward to spending time in the community, attending community and ratepayer meetings, hearing firsthand what is most important and discovering how Council can assist our communities to continue to develop into the places that you want to live, work and play in.
The One Warkworth Business Association has a critical vote, taking place at present. If you are involved and have an opportunity to vote please do. The BID (Business Improvement District) commercial targeted rate model has proven to be one that works and endures in other areas. The arguments have been made, and it will be interesting to see how the voting goes. One Warkworth is doing a great job for Warkworth and there is good spin-off for the surrounding area. Stable funding for the long term has to be secured from somewhere.
There is still a lot to do. A lot of noise needs to be made within Council to ensure that rural Auckland does get its fair share and appropriate services, maintenance levels and infrastructure are delivered to all of Rodney. I’m looking forward to being able to play a part and represent our community’s views. Thanks for the opportunity.
Steven Garner, Rodney Local Board