Wide praise for board at last meeting

Members thanked for work in community over past three years

Stuart Whitaker






The work isn’t quite over for the current Te Puke Community Board, but its formal meetings are. With local body elections coming up in October, a new board will be in place before Christmas, but last week the board held its last formal meeting of the current triennium. There was plenty of praise and thanks for the community board members’ work over the past almost three years. In the public forum at the start of the meeting, Lee Higgins thanked the board for its work, saying members had bonded as a team and thanked them for what they had done for the community. “It is awesome and aweinspiring, the work you are doing and you have done,” she said. She singled out chairman Richard Crawford for his leadership. Judy Abrahams said she echoed Lee’s views and thanked the board on behalf of the community. Richard said he appreciated the speakers’ encouragement and support. At the close of the meeting, Richard thanked the board members for putting their hands up for election three years ago. “We were all heavily connected and I think we have done Te Puke proud in the way we have worked as a community board. “I want to acknowledge [previous chairman] Peter Miller and the board before this one. I think we have carried on what they began and hope the board coming in carries on with some of the things we have started.” Board member Kassie Ellis thanked her fellow board members for their support and said it had been a privilege to be part of the team. “I think we have set the standard for those who will be part of the next board.” Board member Dale Snell said the board had had quite a few challenges. “I think we all feel we could have achieved more if we had not been stuck in the pandemic, but I think we have had a great term.” Two Western Bay of Plenty District Councillors also sit on the board and outgoing councillor Monique Gray said she felt the board was “the poster child” for generation change. “Our team has always challenged each other and shown we are committed to our community because we have fought for the community.” Earlier in the meeting, the board agreed to pay for the installation of lighting at the bus stop in Commerce Lane. “Getting that light at the bus stop is the icing on the cake,” Monique said. Councillor Grant Dally thanked the Western Bay District Council staff. He said one of the issues that needed to be addressed in the future was the possibility of a town centre bypass due to the town’s likely population increase. ★★★ At the final meeting, the board agreed to set aside up to $30,000 for additional history boards telling the town’s history, approved payment of up to $20,000 to go towards the provision of a dog park in Lawrence Oliver Park and agreed to contribute half of the cost of restoring the waharoa at Jubilee Park. It also set aside up to $5500 to buy new street flags. The board asked the district council to reconsider the provision of extra facilities such as showers for freedom campers at the Commerce Lane car park in its next annual plan deliberations. ★★★ In his report to the meeting, chairman Richard Crawford said a meeting had been held, facilitated by New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc to address issues relating to kava drinking in Te Puke. Representatives from the kiwifruit industry were at the meeting.