Firstly, congratulations to Tim Marshall and the Tauawhi team for the success of the Tairawhiti Men’s Awards held on Friday night. I was honoured to be nominated at the first Men’s awards and have enjoyed attending many since. It’s always an amazing occasion. In my opinion, the solid attendance and nominations really affirm the work that Tauawhi are doing in our community. Tim, I know you will credit the team, but it needs to be said, you are a pillar in our community and lives have been changed because of you. Thank you.

Council is on this week and our agenda is pretty huge containing ten hefty decision papers and one noting paper. We have a couple pieces of public input, one regarding traffic calming on Stout St in the Riverdale area and another from Kaiaponi Farms.

I have picked the papers that focus on our roads, parking and traffic safety.

Car parking is on our agenda. What are we going to do with carparking in our CBD? We are developing a solid car parking policy. Our approach to car parking in the CBD has been a bit piecemeal and reactionary. We are looking to front foot this by developing a robust policy. One of the things we are looking at is a smarter way to pay. In today’s digital age we need to have a look at smart cost effective payment solutions that don’t just revolve around coins.  Txt to pay or a mobile app are a couple of possible solutions. We are also looking at implementing a new dash display idea for CBD workers that could be paid monthly. I am often asked about more free parking and that’s something up for discussion as well.

We have a couple papers to do with our roads. One is about the Land Transport Road Strategy and how it currently doesn’t reflect our needs as a region. This strategy is important because this will dictate what the government will spend it’s roading money on for the next 20ish years. And it is quite lacking in the Gisborne department. There is no smart connection to our recent Economic Development reports and there are NO actions for SH35!

We are submitting to LTNZ to change their strategy to connect with the transport specific parts in our economic development reports and take specific action on SH35 due to increased log volumes, land subsidence and the fact that our east coast roads are windy and dangerous. Seems completely sensible ask to me and I’m sure it also seems that way to you.

We are also submitting to Land Transport regarding speed limits. Council can’t just change speed limits arbitrarily; all of that work needs to go through LTNZ. We’re supporting the Land Transport Speed Limit Rules and processes in general but we are also asking for a couple of things to be included. One is to have the safety risks associated with close proximity between heavy vehicles and other road users to be a considered in Land Transport’s criteria for road risk assessment. And secondly we want them to put changes in the proposed rule that will allow quicker changes for school speed zones to address community safety concerns.

I’ve gone on about safety on our roads before and helped run a road safety project in the Kaiti area when I was chair for Kapai Kaiti so this is definitely in my area of interest. Rules are great for enforcement, but I always think that should be the last resort; being caring and careful citizens on our roads is the goal first and foremost.

I hope you have a great week. As always, I humbled to serve you Tairāwhiti.