Waitaki District Council chief executive Alex Parmley. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

Waitaki residents and ratepayers will have a chance to meet new Waitaki District Council chief executive Alex Parmley next week.

The Oamaru Rotary Club has organised an event with Mr Parlmey at the Oamaru Opera House Ink Box at 6pm on Wednesday.

In the past, the Oamaru Rotary Club had organised events with former chief executives for members, secretary Sven Thelning said.

“This time, we felt there was a lot of interest in someone coming from the United Kingdom to lead the council here, so we decided to invite members of the public as well,” Mr Thelning said.

It would be a reasonably informal event.

“We will have a time at the start for people to mix and mingle, then we will hear from Alex Parmley before inviting people to ask him questions about the issues we’re dealing with now and how he thinks his UK experience may be useful here,” he said.

Mr Parmley (49) has moved to Oamaru with his wife Elizabeth and four children – Mabel (8), Harlen (6), Rory (4) and Aalish (2) – from the UK, where he was chief executive of South Somerset District Council.

He has a background in tourism and event management and oversaw a major regeneration programme when the Royal Navy’s Portland base closed.

He was also involved in another ambitious plan to develop a $50 million leisure centre, when he was a corporate director at Eastleigh Borough Council, in Hampshire. The centre included a pool, gymnasium and sports hall and was built at no cost to ratepayers.

With a new sports and events centre planned for Oamaru, Mr Thelning thought this might be something Waitaki residents would be interested in discussing.

Mr Thelning said the new chief executive wanted to engage with the community and liked the fact that Waitaki was ambitious and willing to adopt new ideas.

“So this is a chance to begin a two-way discussion about what’s next here,” he said.

There is no cost to attend the event, but the Oamaru Rotary Club is asking people to bring a donation of a non-perishable food item.

“We can donate them [to] the Oamaru Food Bank and help them continue to provide for people experiencing hardship.”