New councillor for Ahururi

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The Waitaki District Council has found a representative to fill the vacant Ahururi ward seat.

The new councillor is June Slee, of Doctors Creek, Otekaieke, who was the only candidate nomination received by the closing time of midday on Monday.

Electoral officer David Blair said since the number of candidates did not exceed the number of vacancies, Mrs Slee was duly elected, although she would not be able to perform her duties until formally sworn in on February 19.

Mr Blair said history had also been made, with the council now having a 50-50 gender split, which had never happened before.

Mayor Gary Kircher told Tuesday’s council meeting that he had telephoned Mrs Slee to offer his congratulations.

Mrs Slee was nominated by Andrew Watherston and Struan Munro.

Starting of meetings

In public forum at Tuesday’s council meeting, Louise Burrell said the council should have “an opening structure, not necessarily a prayer” to start its meetings.

She said the council had an intent that they would be doing their best for Oamaru.

Mayor Gary Kircher said the intention was to have a statement prepared and added: “We’ll be here for Waitaki district, not just Oamaru.”

Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust

A loss of $23,445 for the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust for the July-September period was reported to the council on Tuesday.

Cr Jim Hopkins asked Marian Shore and Dave Clare, from the trust, whether they were looking at ongoing losses. They advised him that good news was on the horizon; other opportunities had arisen and a new truck and four-bay shed would now enable the trust to manage considerably more construction and demolition material.

Renaming settlement

Among recommendations adopted at the meeting was approval for renaming the settlement at Macraes Flat to Macraes, and the council agreeing to a memorandum of understanding with NZTA allowing them to issue 50MAX truck permits for the district on the council’s behalf.

A recommendation to budget $800,000 to built mattress protection for the coastal area between Oamaru Creek and Holmes Wharf was referred to the assets committee which has been asked to report back to the council on April 30 next year.

By CHRIS TOBIN