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Councillor update August 2023: Building community resilience


SH26 closed by flooding in June 2023
SH26 closed by flooding in June 2023

Trees down, roads closed, electricity outages and flooding – we’ve experienced it all in parts of the Tamahere-Woodlands Ward this year because of wild weather events – events that are likely to become more commonplace because of climate change.


Building community resilience

Waikato District Council’s vision that we work together to build liveable, thriving and connected communities is a vision that needs to encompass good times and bad. As a community we need to plan for those unexpected events so that we know how we can pull together to help our neighbours and ourselves get through emergencies.


Waikato District Council staff provide the core civil defence emergency management (CDEM) team for the District – and they train for the roles they take on. They also form part of the CDEM group for the wider Waikato region. However, they are also reliant on community groups and local volunteers with local knowledge.


Where do you direct people to go if they need to evacuate their homes? Who can supply food and bedding if it’s required? Who might need access to special care provisions?


The Council would like to help local communities get together to develop local ‘Community Response Plans’ to identify the potential hazards to prepare for, and the local resources and people who can be called upon if needed in an emergency.


Templates for developing a local Community Response Plan are available and your Councillors are distributing these to local hall and community committees in the Ward to start the ball rolling. If you would like to be involved, please get in touch.


Have your say

Consultation is now open on two proposed Council strategies and an update to the Council’s Freedom Camping Bylaw. Consultation closes on August 13 and 14. There's a drop-in session in Tamahere on August 9 for those seeking more information - see details below:

· Freedom Camping Bylaw – Thank you to those who contributed to early engagement on updating this Bylaw. The proposed new Bylaw is now open for consultation until Monday 14 August. It is aligned with recent changes to Government legislation. It identifies areas in the District that are prohibited or have specific restrictions for freedom camping, and designates areas for freedom camping for vehicles that are not self-contained. Hearings and deliberations on the proposed Bylaw will be held on 12-13 September.

· Community Facilities Strategy – Early engagement is invited to help develop a strategy to provide direction for managing our community facilities (including halls, libraries, sports facilities, pools and public toilets) for the next 20 years. Drop-in sessions to hear more about this include a session at Tamahere Community Hall in Devine Rd on Wednesday 9 August from 2.30-4pm. For more information please go to the Council’s consultation website here. This early opportunity for consultation closes on Sunday 13 August.

· Connectivity Strategy – This will replace the existing Trails Strategy 2016 to provide direction for the development and management of trails (including walking paths, multi-use tracks, biking and horse-riding trails) over the next five years. It will also guide the Council on projects and activities that should be considered for funding through the next Long Term Plan 2024-34. You can hear more about this strategy at the same drop-in sessions that are offered for the proposed Community Facilities Strategy, including the online session on Tuesday 1 August at 5.30pm. This consultation also closes on Sunday 13 August.


Community catch-up

Thank you to all those hall and community committee representatives who turned out for a general ‘catch-up’ with your Councillors and senior Council staff on 11 July. The get-together was for your community leaders and representatives to hear more about the Council’s planning processes, including the Annual Plan that has now been adopted for the current financial year. We hope this will be the first of more such sessions to enable us all to work better together as we move forward.


Rural Economic Advisory Panel

The Council is in the early stages of establishing a rural economic advisory panel to strengthen the rural voice on Council matters. The panel will include representatives of the farming and rural business communities, as well as rural services and support organisations such as Rural Women NZ. An inaugural meeting has been held to establish terms of reference for the panel.


Census

A recent presentation on the Census for the Council showed that 60% of our District population is defined as ‘remote/rural’ (compared with 14.4% of the national population) and 40% of our people live in small urban or rural settlements (compared with 15.1% of the national population). Despite the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, 89-91% of people resident in New Zealand responded to the Census, including in Waikato District. The first 2023 Census data is expected in May 2024.


Contact your Tamahere-Woodlands Councillors:

Crystal Beavis, mob 0275 957 927, email

Mike Keir, mob 027 449 3012, email


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