By Robyn Bristow
There will be fewer wards and one more elected councillor when Hurunui District Council voters go to the polls at the next local government elections next October.
The council approved a new representation model at a special meeting in Amberley on Wednesday following an extensive consultation process. It will mean a council of 10 and the mayor.
Ward boundaries have been juggled to bring wards down from five to three – East, West and South – with the southern ward being the boundary of the existing Amberley ward where it is proposed to bump the number of councillors from three to four.
The council decided the merging of wards was less disruptive than splitting wards to meet the population-per-councillor ratio as set out in the Local Government Act 2002.
With the district’s population at about 12,800, the number of residents per councillor must stay within a range of 1280 to 1564.
The model allows the council’s committee structure to fit comfortably into the arrangement. The council will also retain the Hanmer Springs Community Board and its existing five ward committees under its proposed model.
Mayor Winton Dalley says the feedback received from the community has been helpful and substantially supported the council’s proposal.
“I believe we have found the right balance between meeting the legislative criteria and the community’s need for effective representation.”
There were two separate consultation phases where public feedback was sought. Four proposed alternatives to the ward and councillor structure, and options regarding community boards, were put out for public comment earlier this year.
The feedback received enabled the council to firm up one final proposal and further consultation on this was took place in June and early July. The council then made its final decision on Wednesday after considering all submissions.
The new model will see the introduction of the following:
– East Ward with two councillors, replacing the Cheviot and Glenmark Wards.
– Four councillors, replacing the Amuri-Hurunui and Hanmer Springs Wards.
– South Ward with four councillors, replacing the Amberley Ward.
– Community Board with five elected members and one appointed councillor from the West Ward, but otherwise remaining the same as it is now.
In addition, the council promoted the retention of its ward committee structure for Amberley, Amuri, Cheviot, Glenmark, Hurunui, with them all being renamed as Community Committees.