Tenei te mihi maioha ki a koutou I tenei wiki katuarehe, te wiki o te Reo Maori!

Local elections are in full swing! There have been a lot of meetings we have been invited to and it’s great to see our community so interested and active in our district council elections!

This week in council we have our Finance and Performance meeting on Wednesday and our Operations meeting on Thursday. Finance and Performance has a Rates and Sundry Debt Management report, a Financial Report and a revenue update for Waingake Pamoa. Our Operations agenda has six papers and while I’m generally interested in all of our council papers I’m excited to see four come to council for information and decision; Future of Refuse and Recycling, Tokomaru Sports Club Lease renewal, the Makarori Master Plan and the Cobham School Neighbourhood Play System.

I’ll be expanding on the Future of Refuse and Recycling for Tairawhiti and the Cobham School Neighbourhood Play System papers.

The first paper is about the Future of Refuse and Recycling for Tairawhiti. In 2021 council asked staff to investigate better ways to do our refuse and recycling collection. The paper presented to us presents a preferred option to have five categories of waste; general waste, co mingled recycling, glass, green waste and food waste.

When council first implemented recycling bins and 5kg limits on rubbish bags I do recall there being some community sentiment that parts of our community would have difficulty with it. There was some criticism at the idea. Decades later and it is a common and accepted part of how we do things here in our district.

I feel this bin system will also be the same. If this is implemented there will be some teething issues however we will eventually get it right. Our community usually does.

While not prejudging the outcome, I do generally agree with a smarter recycling system for our region. Our district puts far too much green and food waste into our general waste. This can be recycled and reused back into our community.

The paper is asking councillors to discuss and agree to move forward on a preferred option so staff can cost the preference and bring it back to council for discussion in November.

The second paper I’m looking forward to progressing is the Cobham School Neighbourhood Play System paper.

Elgin has suffered from under investment for a long time.

Take something as simple as trees as an indicator for public investment. Elgin has never had a treescape. A lot of other areas have beautiful treescapes but Elgin never has.

The schools in Elgin are trapped on all sides by the industrial subdivision and all the access ways to and from the industrial area which makes it perilous for children to get to and from school let alone being able to connect with the rest of the city.

The paper presents to council options that comes off the back of community engagement by Sports Gisborne Tairawhiti and Healthy Families East Cape.

Some of those options are: the restoration of Reynolds Creek and developing an active transport corridor along Waikanae Stream, Reynolds Creek and the disused Makaraka train line. Which I think are fantastic options.

I would like to encourage you to tune into our livestreams if you are interested in hearing staff and community present to us about these papers and also to hear councillors discuss the future of our refuse and recycling, the developments in Elgin, the Tokomaru United Sports Club lease and the Makarori Master plan.

As always, it’s still a privilege to serve you Tairawhiti.