Dunedin City Council members farewelled five long-serving
councillors at their final meeting yesterday.
Saying farewell to Dunedin City Council papers yesterday
are retiring councillors (from left) Neil Collins, Syd
Brown, Bill Acklin, Fliss Butcher and Colin Weatherall.
Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Councillors closed the final meeting of the triennium
with praise and well wishes for councillors Colin Weatherall,
Neil Collins, Syd Brown, Bill Acklin and Fliss Butcher, who all
announced their retirements before the local body elections.
Crs John Bezett, Paul Hudson and Collins said they were
disappointed to hear Cr Acklin had resigned after nine years'
service, and hoped he would one day decide to come back.
Many might not understand just how much of a contribution Cr
Acklin had made, especially on issues such as John Wilson
Ocean Dr, Cr Hudson said.
Cr Acklin said his tenure had been a ''huge roller coaster''
of good and not so good, but he was focusing on the positive.
He was proud of his work in areas such as Logan Park,
theatres, Middle Beach and playgrounds, but said his biggest
challenge had been John Wilson Ocean Dr.
''I like to think of it as not open, even though it is open
on weekdays ... Hopefully, the next council will make it
Councillors said Cr Brown was a fair-minded and trusted
member, a consistently hard worker who made a ''very
substantial'' contribution, especially on financial issues
and as a strong advocate for Mosgiel, in his 15 years on
''He is a wise old owl. When he speaks, I listen and know we
all do,'' Cr Collins said.
Cr Bezett said he had ''absolute integrity'' and had been a
wonderful servant for the city.
Cr Brown, chairman of the finance, strategy and development
committee and a former deputy mayor and chairman of the
planning and environment committee thanked the Mosgiel
community, his family, and council staff.
''Thank you for the opportunity to serve the city, I
appreciate it and I'll never forget it.''
Some councillors recalled Cr Butcher's arriving on the scene
nine years ago as at first making them ''a bit nervous'', and
said her ideas were, at times, ''a bit out of left field'',
but all said she was a staunch advocate for environmental
issues, women on council and mana whenua.
''I appreciate how much effort and courage was required to
articulate some of the things you did,'' Jinty MacTavish
Cr Butcher said she was proud of her work on sustainability
and heritage issues and recalled the fun she had, including
the time she got then-mayor Peter Chin to sit down and knit
peggy squares with her for her ''warm up a tree'' project.
Cr Collins, who served 22 years on the council, was always in
touch with the concerns of the community, Cr Brown said.
Other councillors said he had been a great adviser, was fun,
and would be missed.
''It's like being at your own wake,'' Cr Collins said, before
he launched into a round of tales from his time on council,
including the time he set off a stink-bomb in the council
chamber and the building was evacuated and the fire brigade
He said it was satisfying to have been part of the Olympic
plaque and Shanghai sister city delegations, to have CCTV
cameras installed in the Octagon and the 75-plus parking
permit system in place.
Many councillors praised Cr Weatherall, who is retiring after
30 years in local body politics, 15 of them as a city
councillor and chairman of the council's hearings committee.
Councillors spoke of his professionalism, his dedication to
due process, his steadiness, integrity and collegiality, and
staff's high regard for him.
''He has been a rock for this council,'' Cr Brown said. Kate
Wilson described him as ''an action man''.
He got things done and his work in the community had been
fantastic, she said.
''He's a battler, he'll do anything and battle anything if he
thinks it's important.''
Cr Bezett said Cr Weatherall had devoted nearly all his life
to his community, be it Brighton, Otago Rugby, community
boards or council.
''You talk to Colin and he would say it was a pleasure, but
to us, it would be a lifetime of really, really hard work.''
''You are the kind of councillor I look at and think, this is
the kind of councillor I want to be seen to be,'' Chris
Cr Weatherall appeared emotional as he listened to the
tributes, and said he appreciated the opportunity to serve
his community, and would do it all again, given another go.
He thanked his family, council members and staff for their
support, and urged council members to ''never forget'' that
90% of Dunedin was rural.
He still wanted to see Saddle Hill protected and asked
councillors to continue that battle.
He made no apologies for supporting his community.
''That is one of the privileges of life.''