Manager drawn by region's beauty

For new Central Otago District Council infrastructure manager Jon Kingsford the beautiful and ''wicked'' region was a major drawcard.

A keen multisport athlete, he had been to Central Otago several times for events and described himself as a tourist then.

However, ''those visits made me realise how beautiful this region [is] . . . my first visit was in 1999 and I thought the I would like to live here'', he said.

Just over two months ago Mr Kingsford (39), his wife Teresa and their three primary school-aged children moved to Alexandra from Tauranga.

He had been working as a consultant engineer and contract manager to a power company, the New Zealand Transport Agency and local government in the Bay of Plenty and Christchurch.

Now, in his new role as infrastructure manager, he is responsible for 20 staff who take care of the district's water services, roading and road safety, property, community facilities and waste minimisation.

While his first challenge in the job was to get his head around historical and recent issues and to educate himself about the infrastructure network, there would be ongoing challenges, he said.

Water and wastewater are two of the biggest issues facing the district.

Despite the challenges, he had a great team to work with, Mr Kingsford said.

He replaces Murray Washington who, after a decade in the role, left in June for a similar job at the Selwyn District Council.

sarah.marquet@odt.co.nz