Concern members withholding information

Joy Davis has announced her intention to stand for the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board. Photo...
Joy Davis. Photo supplied.
A breakdown in communication has led a community board member to lodge an Official Information Act (OIA) request to find out about board projects.

Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board member Brian Miller thought three board members were withholding information about the Mosgiel-Taieri Safer School Streets project.

But board chairwoman Joy Davis said board members had the opportunity to ask Dunedin City Council staff, who are leading the project, about it when they attended board meetings.

Mrs Davis, deputy chairman Dean McAlwee and member Phillipa Bain are the board representatives on the safer streets project.

Mr Miller said the trio was invited to a meeting in October with then associate minister of transport Julie Anne Genter and did not inform, or invite, other board members.

Mr Miller heard about the meeting when Dunedin city councillor Carmen Houlahan emailed board members asking if they knew anything about it, he said.

Ms Genter’s visit was mentioned at the September board meeting, but Mr Miller did not know members would be attending.

Mrs Davis, Mr McAlwee and Mrs Bain had remained silent in the email correspondence, he said.

He lodged an OIA request and found they were invited to the meeting, via email, as members of the project group.

"Now that should have been passed on to all the board and it wasn’t."

They also knew a bus route would be changed to accommodate the trial, Mr Miller said.

The change caused an "uproar", as buses no longer stopped outside the Mosgiel Health Centre, he said.

"It seems to be that some of us are being locked out of some of the things that are going on."

Mr Miller was also concerned about the lack of information given to the board about the Gladfield Rd footbridge before it was put in the annual plan.

The bridge was closed by the council in June and deemed too expensive to fix.

He believed the board should have been presented with a full, written report.

When contacted, Mrs Davis said the meeting invitation was not directed to the whole board, as members were each delegated to represent the board on different groups.

The three board members involved were consulted on the project, but had no operational say in the outcome, she said.

The safer streets project was a historical one, so it was understandable that new members felt they did not know what was going on, she said.

"Once people get up to speed with the historical stuff, I think things will be a lot easier."

Mr McAlwee, who had spoken to residents and the council about the bridge, said he received a report on the bridge from the council’s transport department.

He said the lack of an action list in the community board’s agenda meant many issues were not discussed.

Mrs Bain said both Ms Genter’s visit and the changes to the bus route were mentioned at the September board meeting.

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