On Monday I am really looking forward to hitting the pavement with our dog control team to get a practical view on what it’s like for them as staff and see how the service is applied in the community. I’m really vocal on sensible dog control so I was really excited to be invited to go out with the team.

This week in council we have our committee meetings. The agendas are packed full of interesting papers; information reports on the progress with the Makaraka Cemetery headstones, update about the state of our observatory on Titirangi, exciting enforcement reports, Wainui Beach management strategy update, Freshwater plan updates, debt management, insurance and updates on the upkeep of some of our roads. I’ll touch on a paper from each of our committees this week.

In Community Development we have a decision paper to remove the six Melia trees on Palmerston Road between Bright St and Peel St. Removal of trees is heavily scrutinised by the public and for good reason. We have received formal feedback from people who regularly use that specific bit of footpath about how slippery it gets from the vast amounts of berries that drop from the trees. An intensive work programme was run but this proved ineffective due to the sheer volume of mess created by the trees. The paper recommends we remove the trees, make improvements to the footpath and replant with something more suitable so as not to inhibit on safe footpath use and to ensure we still have a lovely tree aesthetic on Palmerston Road.

Landfill monitoring is being reported on in Environmental Planning and Regulation. We have 11 categories of landfills we monitor with a total of over 30 different sites we have to actively monitor in our area. Council have to monitor all these sites and create mitigation plans to mitigate any environmental risk, particularly those that would affect human health. For me, this is one of those issues where hindsight is 20/20. I wonder, if we knew that we would be using ratepayers dollars to monitor these landfills for the foreseeable future would we have created so many landfills? I don’t think we would have.

Finance has a decision paper regarding our upcoming audit. The audit is carried out annually under Section 15 of the Public Audit Act 2001 with the aim of providing an independent opinion on the Council’s financial statements and performance information, as well as any issues around financial management and accountability. Apart from being a legal requirement, this is a critical part of our work stream to ensure we are aware of any improvements we can make as an org.

Growing up I never thought I’d ever voraciously read about dust mitigation, and yet, here I am, reading the Infrastructure decision paper regarding dust mitigation. There are huge concerns amongst our communities about the negative effects of dust. This paper presents some solutions to some of the dust concerns and seeks a decision to approve the work plan and possible future projects.

Waiomatatini and East Cape roads feature too regarding the progress of the current work. As always, be vocal, we are only as effective as the info we receive from our constituents.

Finally, I’m looking forward to representing the mayor at the mayoral forum for the Sister Cities conference at the end of the week. I sit on the Sister Cities committee as council’s representative and I’m very honoured to represent us in lieu of the mayor and deputy mayor.

Feel free to pop into any of the committee meetings. They are your meetings too.