Arrowtown residents could be in for some serious debate about their future representation in the Queenstown Lakes District with a recommendation before full Council next week to consider consulting the community about amalgamating the Arrowtown Ward with Queenstown and creating a new Arrowtown Community Board, QLDC regulatory and corporate general manager Roger Taylor said.
At the last Council meeting on 28 February 2012, a draft proposal presented by the Representation Review Working Party to include Gibbston in the Arrowtown Ward was rejected.
“The issue continues to be that the existing Arrowtown Ward no longer meets the requirement (population) to constitute a ward,” Mr Taylor said.
Council staff were asked to prepare alternatives to last month’s recommendation. Four alternative models will be put before the Councillors.
“We will need a decision next week that adopts one proposal for consultation, which is what the legislation requires,” Mr Taylor said.
The community would then get to have a say on the proposal before the Council adopted a final proposal in June.
In detail, the proposal for consideration next week was:
• There would be two wards, a Wakatipu ward and a Wanaka ward;
• All councillors would be elected within wards, the Wakatipu ward would elect 6 councillors and the Wanaka ward would elect 3 councillors;
• Community boards would be established for the Wanaka ward and in the former Arrowtown ward;
• Both community boards will be comprised of 4 elected members and councillors appointed by Council.
While removing the Arrowtown Ward could be considered by some as a loss, there was considerable gain from the proposal. It was certainly something that warranted debate in the community, Mr Taylor said.
“Including Arrowtown in the wider Wakatipu ward meant that residents of Arrowtown had a considerably wider choice of candidates to select from at the triennial election,” he said.
“If the ward is retained, electors will continue to be able to vote for just one candidate. The creation of a community board provides for the continuation of a “voice” for Arrowtown issues within the District. One that is formally constituted and has a statutory role,” he said.
The three alternative proposals involve:
• Election of all Councillors at large, with community boards established for Wanaka and Arrowtown;
• Retain the current wards with the current boundaries, elect 4 Councillors from Wanaka, 1 from Arrowtown and 6 from Queenstown/Wakatipu and retain the Wanaka Community Board with 4 elected members; and
• Retain the current wards with the current boundaries, elect 4 Councillors from Wanaka, 1 from Arrowtown and 6 from Queenstown/Wakatipu and remove the Wanaka Community Board
The recommendation for next week’s meeting is:
1. Council adopts as its Statement of Proposal for the purposes of consultation:
a. All Councillors are elected in wards;
b. There will be two wards, which are the current Wanaka ward and a new Wakatipu ward that combines the old Arrowtown and Wakatipu/Queenstown wards
c. The ward boundaries for Wanaka will remain the same and for the new Wakatipu ward, they are the remainder of the district;
d. The Wanaka ward will elect 3 councillors and the Wakatipu ward will elect 6 councillors;
e. There will be a Wanaka Community Board comprised of 4 members elected directly and councillors resident in the ward as appointed by Council;
f. There will be an Arrowtown Community Board comprised of 4 members elected directly and councillors who are resident within the boundaries of the former ward as appointed by Council.
2. The Working Party receives submissions on the proposal and convenes hearings where necessary to hear from submitters on this initial proposal.
3. The Working Party makes its final recommendation to Council at the meeting of 26 June 2012.
The submission period for the representation review opens on Monday 16 April 2012 and runs until Friday 18 May 2012
For further comment please contact Roger Taylor 03 441 0499