Roading standard defended by mayor

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
A terse exchange in the Waitaki District Council chambers essentially ended a discussion about the council's recent annual residents' survey results this week.

At a meeting of the council's finance, audit and risk committee on Tuesday, members were presented with a report on the survey, which measured how satisfied residents were with resources, facilities and services provided by the council.

When the agenda item came up for discussion, it quickly turned to unsealed roading.

Waihemo ward councillor Jan Wheeler described the satisfaction rating of 28% from the 412 people survey as ''poor'', and said it was an ongoing trend.

''This satisfaction has been going down for years ... it's perpetually downwards.''

Last year's rating was 29% and in 2017 it was 27%.

In a question directed at council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen, Cr Wheeler asked whether the rating should be taken into account when the council negotiated its roading maintenance contracts ''to make sure numbers move up''.

However, before Mr Jorgensen was able to reply, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher jumped in and slammed her comment as ''totally unfair''.

He said in the past some work on roading in some areas had been put on hold to repair flood damage to the district's roading network, and suggested Cr Wheeler consider such issues before she formed her line of questioning.

''You have to look at the overall picture ... we are doing reasonably well. There is a lot of demands on the roads and we have to keep putting resources in.''

Cr Bill Kingan agreed and said it was unrealistic to expect every road in the district to be in top shape.

''What is a perfect road? I'm afraid we are not going to have perfect roads.''

The district's sealed roading network had a higher rating of 41%, up from 35% last year, but down from 47% in 2017.

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