Council may hold Q and A sessions

Louisa BurrellPeople may still get the chance to quiz Waitaki District Council representatives about the 2012-22 long-term plan and projected rates rises.

The council is looking into having a "question and answer" session at the Oamaru Public Library using rostered councillors and staff throughout a day as one way of publicising the plan.

It used to conduct road shows around the district in each of its four wards - Oamaru, Corriedale, Ahuriri and Waihemo - but stopped last year because of poor attendances, staff and councillors outnumbering the public at some meetings.

At the public forum before a council meeting earlier this month, ratepayer and Grey Power president Louisa Burrell suggested the idea of a day at the Oamaru library to publicise and answer questions about the plan.

She accepted the road shows were no longer warranted, but councillors rostered over a day would give people the chance to ask questions about the plan.

Councillors felt that was a good idea, and have asked staff to investigate the possibility.

Councillors and staff will be available to speak to stakeholders and groups who request it. More than 90 parties have been notified of that opportunity.

It is printing about 12,000 copies of a newsletter - "Tomorrow's World, Choosing Your Future" - to be sent to all ratepayers which will highlight the major issues in the plan and encourage public submissions, which will include examples of the effects on rates.

In the past, it has sent individual ratepayers a sample of their new rates under the draft plan, but is unable to do that this year because of implementation of a new computer system.

Copies of the draft plan will be available for people to look at the council headquarters, libraries and service centres and on its website. Because of the size and cost, copies will not be printed unless requested.