New council has its first meeting

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Newly-elected Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher has chaired his first official council meeting.

Yesterday’s meeting followed the official declarations by elected councillors and the handing over of the mayoral chains by WDC chief executive Michael Ross.

Mr Kircher said it had been “a big day” and it was very pleasing to share the ceremony with family and friends.

“I am keen to get down to business,” he said.

“We have an excellent team and this meeting will be our first together as a group as we work together to shape the next three years.”

The afternoon session of the inaugural council meeting included a public forum with councillors addressed by Oamaru woman and former president of the North Otago Grey Power Lousia Burrell.

Mrs Burrell welcomed the new council and said they should expect to “see plenty of her” at meetings.

“I stand for the older people of the community and take no prisoners,” she said.

“Council must remember that a high percentage of older people voted in the election because they feel it is their duty, but there are matters concerning older people which need to be addressed such as ruts on footpaths and bridges, which if left unattended, could result in an accident.”

The appointment of Cr Hugh Perkins as deputy mayor was officially ratified and Waitaki electoral officer David Blair outlined the timetable for by-elections to cover vacancies on the Ahuriri Ward (one vacancy), the Ahuriri Community Board (two vacancies) and Ward One of the Oamaru Licensing Trust (one vacancy).

The Ahuriri by-election is to replace former councillor Craig Dawson who didn’t restand for election and by-elections for the Ahuriri Community Board and Ward One of the Oamaru Licensing Trust are to fill seats left vacant after nominations closed.

Mr Blair said nominations would be called for around November 25, they would close around December 23 and if a by-election or by-elections were required, polling day would take place on February 11.

Councillors also moved a Minute of Appreciation to former Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton, outgoing WDC councillors and members of the Ahuiriri and Waihemo Community Boards.

The next meeting of the WDC will be held on Tuesday, October 29 at 9am.

By Jacquie Webby