It’s that time of year when I have the privilege of celebrating the diversity of our district through attendances at different events.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been at various school prize-givings, celebrating the achievements of our tamariki.
I’ve had the pleasure of being at Diwali celebrations, learning more about the culture of our residents who originate from India.
Huntly International Speedway was the venue to be part of a joyous family occasion at one of our district’s premier sporting locations for the Fireworks Spectacular night.
And it’s always a pleasure going along to community service organisations like Lions and Rotary and the Huntly Ladies Allsortz breast cancer fundraiser was a beautiful example of the great work that goes on. They’ve raised about $95,000 for the cause since 2007.
So, when you think of our Council vision of creating Liveable, Thriving and Connected Communities, it’s that connected part that I really enjoy, meeting people from all walks of life in our fantastic patch of Aotearoa.
I also enjoyed connections of a different type since I last connected with you all through this editorial, and that was down in Wellington.
We were down there for a Future for Local Government event run by Local Government New Zealand.
Representatives were there from all over the country and we worked on the reform mandate to get a resolution and way forward around funding our infrastructure.
I, and my fellow councillors, and staff are working through the next Long-Term Plan, which goes out for consultation next year.
This is a mammoth task, and our biggest challenge is cost. Just to maintain our infrastructure and services it’s extremely challenging to keep rate increases low.
And of course, we need to view the impact of capital projects through the lens of our four community well-beings - social, economic, cultural and environmental.
It’s not just us facing these challenges, all councils have the same issue of how to fund the infrastructure needed and keep our rates affordable, while maintaining the level of service expectations of our communities too.
Ngaa mihi nui and warmest regards,
Mayor Jacqui Church