Consultation ‘impossible’ during lockdown

Civic amenities such as the ‘‘zig-zag’’ footpath in Lawrence will have to wait a little longer...
Civic amenities such as the ‘‘zig-zag’’ footpath in Lawrence will have to wait a little longer for upgrades following the suspension of Clutha District Council consultation until further notice. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
The Clutha District Council has moved to suspend public consultation processes as the country wrestles with the consequences of a nationwide lockdown.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said on Tuesday that consultation would cease until further notice; a decision that was likely to affect four current and two planned processes.

Those included the Our Place Lawrence community plan due to end on Tuesday, the draft Catlins Reserve Management Plan and the unstarted Lawrence and Kaitangata Reserve Management Plans.

Feedback on the council’s draft annual plan and new fees and charges — including significant changes to trade waste fees — was due to end today, but had not been formally halted, Mr Cadogan said.

Despite that, the council’s intent was to "get it right".

"Logistically, consultation is about embracing the public and its views. At this time it’s impossible to do that, so we want to do it once, and do it properly.

"Until we’re able to have a council meeting and can make a formal decision on the remaining processes, our underlying intent remains acknowledging the community’s needs."

He said disruption to consultation was not reflected in the council’s delivery of other core services, which would continue to address the district’s needs.

"We’re fortunate to be in a strong financial position, and have money set aside for a rainy day. Right now, it’s fair to say it’s raining."

The council would look at ways it could assist vulnerable and struggling ratepayers, he said.

"These are extraordinary times, that require a pragmatic but responsible approach from council.

"We’re rolling our sleeves up in Civil Defence mode, and we’re ready for action."

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