Thames Coromandel Update with Mercury Bay Councillor Tony Fox
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Posted May 11, 2021
Council Matters ,
Brian Gentil spoke with Mercury Bay Councillor Tony Fox from the Thames Coromandel District Council. After asking about the view, Brian asked Tony what submitters had to say now that hearings for Council’s Long Term Plan have wrapped up.
Tony said a lot of submitters talked about waste, which is very important to Council, and a lot of people talked about climate , which is very important to us. He said we had 1623 submissions overall which was fantastic, he thinks the most they’ve had. 107 people chose to speak to their submissions. He said the quality of the submissions was very good. Now that the submissions have been read and heard the decisions will be made being mindful of cost.
People spoke as individuals or representing Ratepayer groups, or for organisations
As Councillors we had all read the written submissions in advance so we knew the material. This was an opportunity for people who wanted to speak to elaborate or provide more context to their submission.
Brian asked why people present at these hearings then? Is it worth doing? And how formal is it?
Tony said we welcome hearing from our communities .. we don’t ask too many questions as we’ve read the material, and it will only be to clarify something when we ask someone for more information.
We try to make it as easy as possible, people can talk to us online on the day, and we moved around the district to the eastern side to hear from people in those areas.
It is a formal process - so people who’ve never done it before may find it daunting. There were many who spoke who were really informed and had done their homework … that is invaluable.
Councillors listen with an open mind, and it’s going to be tough in the next steps where we have to now deliberate on all of this on 1-2 June, Tony told Brian.
Tony and Brian discussed a council meeting last week where Council supported accelerating housing for Thames.
Council endorsed a report that came to the meeting, which is an evidence based case about why housing development for Thames is a priority.
The report shows fewer than 40 new houses a year have been built in Thames over the last decade. It identified greenfield areas that could be readily serviced with infrastructure for residential development of up to 1,000 new homes. The options take into account the potential long-term impacts of climate change and adaptation needs. The areas are in Totara Valley, Matatoki North, Puriri and Kauaeranga Valley.
We’ll need to secure infrastructure funding externally for these potential areas, which would provide new homes immediately as well as over the medium to long term. Tony said, that’s why we’re being bold in pursuing support from the government and other agencies for financial support to get this happening quick.
The next steps will involve engagement with iwi and the community on the potential options, which we’ll be starting in June.
Community Board meetings start this week – Tairua-Paunaui, Whangamata and Thames this week.
Mercury Bay and Coromandel-Colville the week after.
Check out the agendas by going to tcdc.govt.nz/council
The meetings are also recorded, and a highlights package published after each meeting, so you can find out what’s going on.
Remember to visit www.tcdc.govt.nz for more details.