Regions feel 'isolated' from ORC

Discussing the Otago Regional Council's proposed 2019-20 annual plan at a drop-in session in...
Discussing the Otago Regional Council's proposed 2019-20 annual plan at a drop-in session in Cromwell yesterday are (from left) council planning manager Mike Roesler and communications and engagement team leader Rebecca Borland, Cromwell resident Wendy Rhind, and ORC councillor Andrew Noone. PHOTO: PAM JONES
More connection between the Otago Regional Council's Dunedin head office and constituents in the regions is needed, a Cromwell woman says.

Wendy Rhind attended the council's 2019-20 annual plan Central Otago session yesterday, where several council staff and councillors hosted a three-hour drop-in session in Cromwell.

Mrs Rhind said it was easy for constituents in the regions to feel isolated and alienated from the council's city office. Councillors in the regions did good work, but she would like to see a greater presence from council staff.

Dunedin ward councillor Andrew Noone, who was at the session, said it was vital all councillors represented the entire Otago region, and not just their ward.

Council planning manager Mike Roesler said feedback at the ORC sessions had been about mixed topics, such as biodiversity, flood protection work, noise pollution and the debate over unitary authorities. Water issues were expected to feature strongly in feedback in Central Otago, he said.

The council has had sessions in Dunedin, Balclutha and the Waitaki district so far and will end the round of drop-sessions with one in Queenstown today.

The feedback of those attending would be provided to councillors at their June 13 meeting. No formal submissions were being sought for the 2019-20 annual plan, because little had changed from the 2018-28 Long Term Plan, Mr Roesler said.


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