Last week as I was standing in line at the check-out at the Mangapapa Four Square, a lovely lady asked me: “What do you enjoy about serving on Council?"
It made me think and as I drove home, I thought about what we as Councillors do on a daily basis. Well.... our job is wide and varied and I always learn something new about our place and our people! We have lots of reading to do to prepare for meetings. Hours and hours of reports and financial information to assist in our decision making. In between that we have meetings with residents to listen to their concerns and feedback. I also serve on different community groups in my capacity as Deputy Mayor and attend several functions on behalf of the Council or as the Mayor’s representative. So it is fair to say - never a dull moment!
But let’s get back to what I enjoy at Council! There are several projects and events that I am proud of (and enjoyed very much), and as I will be sharing heaps of thoughts with you over the next few months, I thought I would stick to the first major project that I took on as a newbie Councillor.
One of my proudest moments in Council was when our new library extension was opened. When I was elected to Council in 2010, that was the first major project that I was the "Councillor representative" on. I was also the only Councillor that was on the Strategic group from start to finish. I had the privilege to sit alongside the architects, engineers, landscapers, cultural advisors and the construction crew to workshop and ultimately come up with the fantastic new layout and design for the library extension.
As you know, processes in Local Government can take a long time as it involves extensive community consultation. This project started in 2010 and the extension was only opened in 2017. It is fair to say that it was a complex process with several variations and some head-aches, but in the end we can be proud that we listened to our community and built the library that they wanted.
The library is our most-used facility. Five thousand people utilise it every week. It is not only a place where we store books, do research or read the paper. It is also a community meeting-place and a social hub. Staff do a wonderful job with holiday programs for our young ones - encouraging them to love reading and to embark on a lifelong journey of learning.
Every time I drive past the library, a feeling of pride fills me. Having fit-for-purpose community facilities, especially for our kids, is what brings me joy. Our kids are our future and delivering assets to assist them in their learning journey is one of the main reasons I love serving as a Councillor.
Until next time ...