In these uncertain times, we councillors have had to change our usual focus to respond as quickly as possible to an entirely new set of needs and desires.
Of course, this is never an easy feat – we as a community all have different desires for what we want the council to provide for at a time like this, and communicating these ideas over Zoom meetings is new ground and presents its own unique set of challenges.
Please be confident that you are all being heard, and every angle is being considered.
Your councillors are representatives from all walks of life, meaning that we understand your frustrations and the feelings of hopelessness that can sometimes overcome us in these trying times.
What can seem so simple to provide a solution for from the outside often isn’t when you have to look at the big picture.
We have to look after the interests of the entire Waitaki district.
We are spending public money – your money.
Everything is complicated by layers of bureaucracy for a very good reason we have to be transparent and accountable for every decision made and every dollar spent.
Rushing decisions at times like this, where there are still so many unknowns, is not in any of our best interests.
New packages to aid businesses, individuals and organisations are coming out of central Government regularly. Help is available through many avenues, so please do reach out if you need assistance at this trying time.
All the while, council staff have worked tirelessly to put shovel-ready projects on the table for Government consideration, to make sure we have our best shot at securing whatever central Government funding that we can in order to stimulate employment opportunities, and inject money into our local economy.
We have established a local support and stimulus fund, set up with the intention to help push any existing or planned projects forward that would benefit the wider community, and in turn aid economic recovery through regional employment and spending opportunities.
We are working through the finer details of this policy now. It is, of course, not an easy topic. Everybody has different ideas.
Please be assured that everything that can happen is happening, and you have an amazing team looking after you. The last thing we want to do right now is make the wrong decisions.
Look after each other. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
We are an incredible district of people with a very strong spirit, and we will get through this together.
By the time you read this, we will have conducted our first council meeting live on Facebook. There will be technical challenges to overcome, and it will be held in homes experiencing the joys of home schooling. But we do hope for your sake that everyone was appropriately dressed from the waist up!
We miss you Waitaki!
Hang in there.
This will all be a memory soon.