A report by Raglan councillor Lisa Thomson on her ‘Councillor Community Chats’

I’ve now had three ‘Councillor Community Chats’, each different and each valuable.

Last Friday’s chat was dominated by Raglan Naturally.

A steering group has been working since August on how best to reinvigorate the 2001 Raglan Naturally community plan. They will be hosting a community open day on Sunday May 21 at Poihakena Marae, shared lunch please bring a plate.. Look out for it and think how you’d like to contribute to planning, working and volunteering to improve Raglan.

Specifically, we talked about mowing, litter, tourism and sewage. Already some initiatives have started under the auspices of Raglan Naturally.

Many people – our community unsung heroes – have been litter collecting for a long time and are now coordinating their work as part of Raglan Naturally.

Like many of us, they’ve concerns about the changes in grass mowing, introduced just before I was elected last year.

Another Raglan Naturally group is looking at the impacts of tourism, how we might reduce them and how we might benefit more from tourism, which, I was reminded, the Government plans to double.

I was disappointed that only four people came along to the Annual Plan information session on Thursday evening. It highlights that council needs to work more on publicity, building up trust (one of the reasons for these chats) and effective use of staff. However, our out-on-the-street approach has been working, with many dropping by to give feedback and input. Remember, consultation closes on May 15 – have your say on our wastewater targeted rates.

A few issues came up that I’d not thought about before. When the footbridge was replaced in 2011, fabric and wooden stakes were left on the beach. I’ll check that there’s no good reason for them to be there. If not, the chat’s probably going to result in a volunteer effort to remove them – perhaps another backpacker group may wish to help with that cleanup.

As more people move into lifestyle blocks, it increases concern about what farmers are spraying. If you’re concerned, or if you’re a sprayer, please google regional council’s “6.2.4.9 Permitted Activity Rule”; it’s there to minimise such concerns.

So far the chats have been too busy to talk more about a community pot luck dinner and I’ve not been inundated with offers of help. But, it will happen!

I’ve heaps to do, so you’ll probably see me like this (re photo) if you come into the library between 10.30am and 1.30pm on a Friday. But do disturb me and don’t keep quiet! I’d especially like to hear solutions to the housing crisis, which alarms me more and more each week.

If you can’t come in on Fridays, you can contact me on 0211 798 256 or email lisa.thomson@waidc.govt.nz. Oh, and thanks to the library staff for the decorations – not my thought bubbles, but certainly a positive way of sending out good vibes.

Cr. Lisa Thomson, Raglan Ward Councillor