Questions for Invercargill City Council candidates

Invercargill City. Photo: ODT files
Invercargill City. Photo: ODT files
What do the candidates in the 2019 local body election stand for? The Otago Daily Times gave nominees for the Invercargill City Council  the opportunity to answer the following questions:

1   Invercargill will be under construction for a long period while the new CBD development work is done. What will be the biggest challenge for the city during this time, and what will you do about it?

2   What are your goals and what should the priorities be for your council?

Lindsay Abbott
Lindsay Abbott
LINDSAY ABBOTT

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 70.

Occupation: Broadcaster.

Question 1: Challenges include traffic flow, disruption, public safety and access. Potential health hazards during demolition and building may arise. I will promote outlying facilities and amenities - provide public updates. Establish alternative routes. Restrict non-essential vehicular and pedestrian access. Recognise and consult with developers of any problems or perceived problems and work to a suitable outcome. I will champion the eventual benefits to the city and its residents

Question 2: Establishment of cost-effective compliant affordable housing for elderly and general public and strong representation to central government for part-funding. More public input and consultation into major decisions affecting council. Fast-forwarding museum and art gallery build. A separate water supply. Promote the CBD development, the city and regional facilities and the jet service to attract visitor numbers and potential new residents, workers and families. Change the nation's perception of our weather.

 

ALLAN ARNOLD

No response received by publication deadline.

 

Toni Biddle
Toni Biddle
TONI BIDDLE

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 42.

Occupation: Elected representative, self-employed project manager.

Question 1: The biggest challenge moving forward in this area is to ensure our building division is meeting statutory requirements. This is an area that we do not deliver in. We have made progress but there is a substantial amount of improvement required. While the CBD project is important, we have businesses, developers, builders, start-ups and local families who deserve to get statutory requirements as a minimum.

Question 2: My goals if re-elected remain the same. A new museum and art gallery, an improvement in the regulatory department of the council, specifically the building division. A move towards district plan changes to ensure the council contributes to resolving our housing crisis. A relentless focus on Iwi relationships including both mana whenua and maata waka. Continued transparency and a council culture of public service. We are elected for our people and this should always be our priority.

 

THELMA BUCK

No response received by publication deadline

 

Barry Chilton
Barry Chilton
BARRY CHILTON

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 64.

Occupation: Retired restaurateur.

Question 1: Assuming the council is not affected by cost overruns (and I will strive to prevent that) the major challenge will be to the retailers and their customers in the streets surrounding the demolition and rebuild. That may mean offering limited free parking in the council's Leven St parking building and in metered parking adjacent to retailers affected. Consideration is possible of rate rebates for businesses that can show sales downturn attributable to the CBD work.

Question 2: Council priorities should be to make measurable improvements to the maintenance and development of city infrastructure (including roading, water, sewage, rubbish and recycling, housing land availability, cost of public transport), encouragement of home building especially pensioner housing by reducing regulations. The council has a social role that it can play in improving the lives of disadvantaged citizens. I wish the council to continue to fight for SIT, the disabled recycling workers, and to review the museum closure.

 

Nobby Clark
Nobby Clark
NOBBY CLARK

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 68.

Occupation: Retired.

Question 1: The biggest challenges for the CBD project will be traffic management around the block and the need to attract and house construction workers from outside the city, which will put stress on our housing stock. I would convert the vacant Lower Esk St buildings into a series of two-bedroom flats for the construction team.

Question 2: I stand for my issues, the main three being (i) lowering rate increases to the CPI level (ii) reopen our museum (iii) ensure Southland disAbility Enterprises continues with our WasteNet contract.

 

Jay Coote
Jay Coote
JAY COOTE

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 34.

Occupation: Community-school connector.

Question 1: Possibly the next decade will see the Invercargill CBD under construction and this should not be looked at as a challenge but more of an opportunity to learn more about who we are and what we can really do. Let's use our surrounding suburbs as places to interact and come together and let's get out of our comfort zone and discover more of what Invercargill and Bluff have to offer.

Question 2: I want to see a positive culture within the council which can be contagious to the wider community and I want to be part of a council its people are proud to have elected.

Furthermore, our region is becoming more culturally diverse and I want the council to lead the way in its obligations to mana whenua and the migrant community by making sure opportunities are the same for everyone.

 

Waka Coughlan
Waka Coughlan
WAKA COUGHLAN

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 53.

Occupation: Milk tanker operator.

Question 1: I believe the biggest challenge facing Invercargill with the inner-city redevelopment will be the closing of many shops and having nowhere to go. We need to find temporary accommodation for all these businesses, and we will all need to work together, as this can not be done alone, to achieve a favourable outcome for everyone.

Question 2: My main goals are to keep rates to a minimum and to work with the people, for the people to achieve the desired outcomes of council policies. My main priorities are the SDE contract to stay as it is and to get the museum open again. I would also like to open Rockdale/Boundary Road as a heavy vehicle bypass for all vehicles to and from Bluff.

 

Alex Crackett
Alex Crackett
ALEX CRACKETT

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 29.

Occupation: Marketing manager/Invercargill city councillor.

Question 1: We are entering an exciting period of transformational development and advancement unlike Invercargill has ever seen! The challenge is to ensure the remaining ICC priority projects are advanced as planned, such as the museum, Anderson House, and the Arts Centre Invercargill. It's also integral that we assess how we can assist with housing shortages and activation projects with both the CBD and surrounds, to ensure we don't lose engagement and to assist with businesses effected.

Question 2: Prior to becoming a councillor, I pledged action towards urban rejuvenation, innovation, community engagement and delivering our core services better. We have made great progress with the CBD block redevelopment, library redevelopment, Splash Palace changing rooms, hydroslides to come and other projects, but there is still much that remains. Moving forward, we need improved transparency, continued delivery on SORDS with a synergistic focus on attracting people and to ensure we deliver our planned infrastructure projects.

 

Ian Edwards
Ian Edwards
IAN EDWARDS

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Occupation: IT professional.

Question 1: Candidate did not answer this question.

Question 2: Better administration, better judgement, less indecision, managed meetings, admit to faults and less closed meetings.

 

CAROL (CJ) JASPERSE

No response received by publication deadline.

 

PETER KETT

No response received by publication deadline.

 

Kari Graber
Kari Graber
KARI GRABER

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 44.

Occupation: Director PR company, instructor at Southern Institute of Technology.

Question 1: Maintaining consumer loyalty will be the biggest challenge. How do you encourage people to still come when we put multiple hurdles in their way? We need events that involve pop-up retail, eatery areas and pop-up play areas for kids. Encourage public art and introduce a competition. We need to maintain and support positive messaging to showcase the ease of still shopping and supporting the businesses directly affected by the construction.

Question 2: Building a city we want to live in now, and in the future. Marketing Invercargill to the world as a place for businesses large and small. I see the council's role as looking after our current assets before embarking on anything else; the museum, water tower, and Andersons Park, for example. We need policies that encompass economic, social, environmental and cultural needs of our community.

 

Wayne Harpur
Wayne Harpur
WAYNE HARPUR

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 60.

Occupation: Managing director.

Question 1: The biggest challenge will be retaining vibrancy in the CBD and supporting those remaining retailers retaining access to the public. I would advocate for two-monthly reviews to be tabled at council and ensure impediments are removed by quickly passing temporary amendments to council plans and bylaws to remove any obstacles identified.

Question 2: Priority No 1. Bring about more transparency to the ratepayer, less public excluded and more open governance. Priority No 2. Ensure Invercargill ratepayers stop subsidising key infrastructure used by the wider community. Priority No 3. Amalgamate all Southland councils into a unitary authority: three mayors, a chairman, 47 councillors, 67 board members and four CEOs is ludicrous.

 

Graham Lewis
Graham Lewis
GRAHAM LEWIS

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: Declined to provide age.

Occupation: Contract pharmacist, recently retired from permanent employment.

Question 1: The maintenance of physical and commercial flow around the city. Ensure utilisation of the existing services such as council parking building, transportation, and minimise disruption to nearby businesses. Encourage and support city use with pop-up shops, cultural activities. Ease the flow of normal traffic, look at re-evaluating use of the inner-city circle bus but council input means ratepayer cost. This must be kept closely in check.

We want happy ratepayers, not irate payers.

Question 2: Goals aimed at ensuring Invercargill is a growing, desirable city for all ages in which to live and prosper. Development of the CBD and airport services are examples of progress, but living includes use of parks, good housing, education, culture, museums, art galleries and sport. Prioritising becomes a problem due to funding considerations. More public involvement in the long-term plan to keep within prudent budgeting to prevent large annual rate increases should be encouraged.

 

ALTON MCDONALD

No response received by publication deadline.

 

SHANE PLEASANCE

No response received by publication deadline.

 

Ian Pottinger
Ian Pottinger
IAN POTTINGER

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 59.

Occupation: Self-employed (partner in an electronics and technology company).

Question 1: Invercargill has never experienced the inner-city large-scale building projects that are about to take place. The council's role is a critical one as it will oversee all the resource management and building consents required. ICC staff are already busy with business-as-usual work and the council will need to be up with the game to give them the support and resources that will be needed.

Question 2: My goals this term would be focusing on projects that have rested in limbo for whatever reasons. Budgets have already been allocated for these projects, but again the council needs to assist staff with the required resources to achieve these results. As well as the large developments happening, the council's priorities, such as infrastructure renewals and upgrades, must continue to plan, as playing catch-up is not a good place to be.

 

JOHN RIKKERINK

No response received by publication deadline.

 

Nigel Skelt
Nigel Skelt
NIGEL SKELT

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 62.

Occupation: ILT Stadium Southland general manager.

Question 1: One of the biggest challenges for the city whilst the hugely exciting CBD development takes place will be the ability to retain the heartbeat of the local city shopping centre, to ensure that our retailers continue to thrive in what will be a challenging environment. The Invercargill city council must ensure it does everything possible to minimise impact and retain the vibrancy and confidence of the wider community in the total redevelopment.

Question 2: My goal is to champion the right change whilst maintaining the integrity of our city. Our community is our biggest, most influential resource. By listening and being solution-driven while making informed decisions, we can continue to transform our city into a vibrant hub. Teamwork makes the dream work!

The number one priority is to ensure that our ratepayers are listened to and that the council makes informed decisions for the current community but also the generations to follow.

 

Lesley Soper
Lesley Soper
LESLEY SOPER

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 64.

Occupation: Lawyer/ACC advocate/city councillor.

Question 1: To keep the heart of the city alive. We need to ensure the development proceeds smoothly and quickly (on time and on budget and fulfilling all consents), while ensuring that neighbouring businesses are supported and enabled to continue operating and that we provide exciting reasons for visiting the centre - like the temporary museum and art gallery project I have been involved in, and more family-friendly inner-city events.

Question 2: Continue contributing to significant local-level change, ensuring solid foundations for a vibrant, exciting Invercargill future. That means the priorities should be: ensuring that the inner-city development proceeds on time, on budget and with significant community infrastructure features to rebuild the city heart; rebuilding our museum and art gallery; addressing earthquake strengthening and heritage building preservation; enabling further housing development; and maintaining fiscal prudence and rate levels within the long-term plan predictions.

 

BARRY STEWART

No response received by publication deadline.

 

Russell (Judge) Tempero
Russell (Judge) Tempero
RUSSELL (JUDGE) TEMPERO

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 58.

Occupation: Hotel manager.

Question 1: Exciting times ahead with the inner-city development and the Langlands hotel and direct flights from Auckland, just to name a few. We must get these things right so that further down the track it does not cost the ratepayers and future generations. So I am a firm believer of "Do it once, do it right" and will strive to ensure we have the best for future generations.

Question 2: Accountability is paramount and a priority. "Our" council money cannot be spent without authority or reporting. I will do my best to ensure this stops and help make Invercargill the great place it is to live. Currently Invercargill has no museum, a half-used rugby park. My goal will be to get these attractions up and running. By achieving this goal I will make our city a great place to live and visit.

 

Lindsay Thomas
Lindsay Thomas
LINDSAY THOMAS

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 60.

Occupation: Truancy officer.

Question 1: As with any building works there will be inconvenience when the construction of the block begins but it will be in a staged approach. The positive side is many shops that were vacant around this area are now rented by retailers who have vacated the block. This has created more foot traffic in areas that were not so busy previously.

Question 2: As chair of infrastructure, priority has always been based around core business of water, roading and pipe networks. Our upgraded water treatment plant has performed exceptionally. Maintaining our services through a robust asset management plan is a priority for my committee and moving forward should always remain council's core priority. The city block is a joint council project with private partners and will future-proof our inner-city CBD while this city continues to grow.

 

JULIANA THOMSON

No response received by publication deadline.

 

Miriama Uamaki
Miriama Uamaki
MIRIAMA UAMAKI

Council: Invercargill City Council.

Age: 36.

Occupation: Educationalist.

Question 1: I believe one of the issues facing our community will be the uncertainties around the relocation of services and shops during the build. I'd like to see an on-site centralised service that will guide our community through this new development. Traffic management is also going to need serious attention. Dee St is congested at present. We will need to consider a plan to de-centralise traffic.

Question 2: One of my goals is to bring fresh new ideas to the decision-making table. To ensure that as ICC reviews and creates policies for our community, I deliver a strong voice that will support our diverse community. The priority, of course, is the people of Invercargill.

May the facets of wellbeing for the people of Invercargill be the foundations that our council stands upon.

He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata!

 

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