Meeting the challenges

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Hello again everyone.

I do hope all is well with you as we navigate our way through the current Covid situation. It is a very difficult time with so much change and uncertainty, and the divisions in our community are, at best, unfortunate.

Sadly, there are people who have lost jobs and businesses as a result of Covid and its restrictions, so it is easy to understand some of the hostility and anger. But we should also remember that we have got off more lightly than most other countries. Even though predictions are that we still have another two weeks or so until we hit the daily peak number of new cases from this current variant, we are generally coping quite well.

I know many of us are very pleased that our death toll from Covid is minimal compared with almost all other nations. I continue to hope for the best for Waitaki, and for the safety of our people. We were one of the last districts in New Zealand to get Covid, and we can work together to be one of the least affected.

As a community, we will get through it.

On another, more positive, note, the proposed sport and event centre is making great progress. With the strong support of many generous businesses and individuals throughout Waitaki, the fundraising is going well. The Event Centre Trust has been working hard to get the necessary funds and that is greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile, in the background, we continue to work on the nuts›and›bolts side of the project, making sure we will have a facility that meets or exceeds the expectations of our community. It will cater to a wide range of sports, activities and events. To that end, we continue to check out other similar facilities to find out what works and what doesn’t.

One of the constant messages has been the challenge of keeping to budget, not easy at a time when supply chains are stretched and building supplies are difficult to obtain.

De-risking the project is very important. That means using the best procurement processes available to us to ensure we get the best value and the best quality possible, while maximising local sourcing of products and tradespeople. Design is also critical to ensure the building functions effectively and efficiently. We have seen other facilities which look great but have got their functionality wrong, ending up with centres that cost more to run than they should. So far, we are on track to deliver the best facility possible, but there is a lot more work to be done to make sure that happens.

Lastly, I would like to let you know what we are doing for Anzac Day. Importantly, we expect that Poppy Day will still be held, as well as poppies being sold in numerous shops and businesses. Please support our returned service personnel and their families by purchasing a poppy if you can.

With so many events being cancelled, we are confident we can run most of the Anzac Day services we normally would, although there will need to be some changes made.

Under current rules, the number of attendees at each service has to be limited. That will mean some public services cannot be held at some of our memorials, though we will still lay wreaths at them and invite locals to pay their respects separately.

For other services, we will be able to control entry, limiting them to 100 attendees. There are some key services where we will livestream the services to allow many people to pay their respects online to our servicemen and women.

More details on these will be publicised closer to the date.

Wherever we are, we will remember them.

  • Gary Kircher is the Mayor of Waitaki