Happy New Year to you all, and welcome to 2022.
I hope you’ve all been enjoying the wonderful weather we've been experiencing and got to explore some of your favourite parts of the district over the break, spending time with whānau and friends.
I am noticing how dry the Waikato is at the moment and I know from my own experience at home, that we have not had any serious rain since mid-December and the country is certainly showing huge stress from the hot dry conditions we are seeing at the moment. As you are all aware, we are in a Fire Restriction period so be very careful with BBQs or if you are using any tools outside that may generate sparks. Also, water becomes far more important at this time of the year so be conscious and aware of your usage.
Waikato District Council welcomed 2022 with a bang this week, announcing the decisions on our Proposed District Plan (PDP). Council is required to review the district plan once every ten years to keep up with emerging issues in the district and the expectations of the Resource Management Act.
We are extremely grateful to our residents, communities, hapū and iwi, businesses, and stakeholders for your involvement in the development of our PDP over the past eight years.
As the fastest growing district in New Zealand, the PDP is an important framework that will help guide us as we continue to grow and develop our district for all who live and work here now and into the future. Enabling us to create more Liveable, Thriving and Connected communities.
It may be a new year, but we are still living under ‘orange’ of the Government's traffic light system to manage the spread of COVID-19 and so a friendly reminder, that if you are visiting a Council facility, please wear a face mask to protect yourselves and our staff.
You’ll be aware that Council currently requires you to provide your My Vaccine Pass as a condition of entry to some of our facilities. You can find out more information on this on our website. We are committed to reviewing our position on vaccine passes soon but will continue to conduct our business in line with Ministry of Health advice and in the best interests of all our residents.
I am pleased to say that there are lots of other exciting things in the pipeline this year, with the team now working hard on our Annual Plan 2021-2022. The Annual Plan is Council’s budget for the fiscal year, explaining how we will fund our projects, activities, and services.
There are numerous plans, policies, and bylaws currently open for consultation and we encourage to share your views. We are currently asking for feedback on the development of Local Area Blueprints (L.A.B.) for Gordonton and Port Waikato – these close next week (28 January).
The proposed amendments to our Dog Control Bylaw and Policy (2015) and Speed Limits Bylaw (2021) are also both open for consultation for a few more days. Your feedback is always valued and genuinely helps to shape the future of our district.
Next week the Local Government Commission are at Council to host our Representation Review hearings. Any changes to our Representation Review Final Proposal from 28 September 2021 will be made from these hearings. Also, October 8 marks our next tri-annual local election day. Elections are conducted via postal voting, so now is a great time to check your address and make sure you are enrolled in our electorate.
I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable year ahead.
Ngā mihi nui,
Mayor Allan Sanson