Concerns aired about enterprises

Lingering concerns about the financial state of one Waitaki District Council-controlled company and the future direction of another have been raised by councillors.

Of the four half-yearly reports of council-controlled companies presented at a meeting of the full council last week, those provided by Tourism Waitaki and Waitaki District Health Services came in for the most criticism.

Councillor Jim Hopkins voiced his displeasure at aspects of Tourism Waitaki’s statement of intent for 2020-21, which he said was too focused on the Waitaki Whitestone Aspiring Geopark and needed to change given the potential impact of Covid-19.

"That as a vision does not work anymore. Not now. It may arguably work in 24 months’ time, but it doesn’t work in the foreseeable future. As the overarching aspiration and goal and vision of Tourism Waitaki, I believe we are entitled to ask them to revisit it and reconsider it...

"This is their vision. The question is should the geopark occupy that vision, given that Unesco will not come for its inspection in the agreed time. The notion of becoming a geopark is going to be delayed."

Cr Colin Wollstein expressed his concerns about the continued poor financial state of Waitaki District Health Services, which reported a deficit of $1,176,227 in the six months to December 31, 2019.

"If they can’t employ the rural health medicine specialists... then I think they have no option other than to keep paying the high cost of locums, which means the financial stability... would be very much open to question."

Whitestone Contracting Ltd and Omarama Airfield Ltd also tabled half-yearly reports.

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