Finding a balance to deliver appropriate services – to serve our district, while being mindful of people’s ability to pay their rates is important and difficult.
At the beginning of December, Council elect will come together to discuss our strategic approach for the next three years.
Part of this will entail a principled debate around the role our council plays within the district. Yes, there is clear legislation around what we are to deliver. However, I and many others, believe Local Government has a far wider role. One being the role of advocacy, and being mindful of what we do and don’t support. Recognising that the decisions we make today can and do influence the now and the future.
I believe that it is our role in this area - our place in encouraging social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being, ie, promoting a district of sustainable prosperity and well-being, that we can truly make some in-roads into a better tomorrow.
My point has always been that councils have no invested interest other than the well-being of the district. And thus they are well placed to advocate on behalf of the people they serve. And I believe the people desire this – more and more so.
They look to their leaders to have a position on things that are important to them – health, safety, education, environmental activity, etc. They expect their leaders to be able to stand up and fight the good fight for the betterment of our people and our place.
So, one of the questions is, how do we keep things affordable and still manage to encourage the right type of development? How do we service one of the biggest districts with a relatively small population and be fair and equitable?
It will be an interesting discussion and unlikely to be solved on the day – however, it will set some clear frameworks for moving forward and provide a great opportunity to develop some clarity around the role we wish to undertake, in serving this fabulous place.
My message will be that we must journey together as a district. Wisely and with integrity. Work alongside each other, share our knowledge, lift each other up…play to our strengths.
It is through unity, respect and a smart approach that the Far North will be it’s potential.
Keen to hear people’s thoughts.