Call for strategic plan for Geraldine

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by Chris Tobin

Three Geraldine Community Board members want Geraldine to have its own strategic plan.

“It’s not dissatisfaction with Timaru [District Council]. It stems from a lot of projects happening in Geraldine and ideas for the future,” board member Janene Adams said.

Together with Jan Finlayson and Jennine Maguire, she recommended such a plan at last evening’s community board meeting.

“The thrust of the plan is that we open up communication lines and have ‘joined-up’ thinking for the overall benefit of the Geraldine community.”

Some recent activities considered for Geraldine have been a facilities review and transport strategy, and Bike Geraldine was keen to develop bike trails. An enhanced river-bank walk was also being proposed.

“The community here is vibrant and it’s bucking the trend over other small towns. It’s not dying.

“We are a rural service centre and we’re on the tourist route.”

Mrs Adams said they had a good relationship with the Timaru District Council.

“We have a successful relationship with council staff – they’re very amenable and open to things.

“It’s a productive relationship.”

Geraldine ward councillor Kerry Stevens

Kerry Stevens, the Geraldine ward councillor on the Timaru District Council, said he had received a preliminary report on the proposal.

“I don’t think it’s dissatisfaction [with Timaru]. It’s just that Geraldine people are in general independent people.

“I have a few reservations about it, but it’s democracy.

“They want to discuss it and I’ll be going to the meeting with an open mind.

“If they convince me, I’ll support it.”

Board chairman Wayne O’Donnell said he had also been notified of the proposal.

“I don’t know if there will be a case for it or not.

“I wouldn’t comment until we’ve had the meeting and had the discussion with the whole board.”

The three board members said in a report for last evening’s meeting that decisions made without the direction of a local plan, heightened potential for “negative unintended consequences such as lack of coherence and for cumulative negative environmental, amenity, social and other effects”.

“A strategic plan ‘owned’ by the Geraldine Community Board would give voice to our special community identity and link purpose, workstreams, activities and relationships back to the board’s statutory purpose.”

They said a plan would provide guidance for “confident decision-making that would be in accordance with the community’s views”.