Getting down to the grassroots

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By Robyn Bristow

It was democracy at the grassroots level.

A vintage tractor on board a trailer and a ute load of fertiliser were parked up in the carpark of the Glenmark Domain.

The tractor belonged to Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley while the fertiliser belonged to Cheviot councillor, Vince Daly.

Both had pulled in to carry out their elected duties at the inaugural meeting of the new Hurunui District Council, with dropping off of the tractor and picking up of the fertiliser just all part of the days work for the two elected members.

The domain pavilion surrounded by acres of space, oaks, baleage in the distance and not a house or a car to be seen, has been home-away-from-home for the council, providing a great alternative to the Amberley service centre, which has been in lock down for several months after the discovery of asbestos.

It was a leisurely and very rural start to proceedings – 10 minutes after the appointed kick-off time – with the Mayor calling councillors, present and past – with not a baby in sight – to attention with a shrill whistle.

He claimed as he was not in charge until officially sworn in by chief executive Hamish Dobbie, it was not his fault the meeting started late.

It was then down to the business of swearing in the Mayor and councillors and setting up committees.

The appointment of Marie Black as deputy mayor, for a second term, was nearly straight forward.

There was a bit of confusion in moving and seconding her appointment to the position, after the Mayor declined to appoint his own deputy.

But it happened in good time with Cr Black saying she had enjoyed the “wonderful” opportunity of being deputy Mayor in the previous term and hoped she could continue to carry out the duties of deputy in the “highest” regard.

Committee membership, with the Mayor a member of all, is:

Finance, Audit and Risk committee: Chair: Dick Davison. Core members: Cr Marie Black, Nicky Anderson and Geoff Shier.

Infrastructure: Chair: Vince Daly. Core members: Michael Ward, Nicky Anderson, Fiona Harris.

Regulatory: Chair: Marie Black. Core members: Dick Davison, Jason Fletcher, Fiona Harris.

Public Services: Chair: Fiona Harris. Core membership: Julia McLean, Vince Daly, Marie Black.

committee: Chair: Grant Lilly. Core members: Fiona Harris, Nicky Anderson, Jason Fletcher.