From left to right: Tonchi Begovich, Katherine Kelly, Richard Mansell and Nu Taramai. (Nigel Wilson photo)

by Geoffrey Churchman

Some 40 people attended the meeting in the (increasingly shabby looking) Waikanae Beach community hall in Rauparaha Street on Saturday afternoon to hear the 4 candidates for the 2 vacant seats speak about their ambitions if elected. Originally, Eric Gregory also put his hand up, but withdrew after the nomination period was extended.

Waikanae Beach Residents Society Chair Gerald Rys gave some introductory remarks on what the Society had set out to achieve — and our longer term readers have seen the posts from 2015 to 2017 on the Beach Futures initiative with the particular desire to retain the ambience and nature of the Olde Beach zone. Just last Thursday, the council’s Strategy and Operations committee agreed to the rezoning of Waikanae Beach as Beach Residential, which is a big part of that.

WCB Chair James Westbury also gave some introductory remarks — basically as a CB member you are a powerless, part-time politician and it’s a hard, often thankless job. As I discovered myself, that’s because of the extent of predetermination by the bureaucrats, combined with the inappropriate attitudes of the present mayor and certain councilors.

However, being elected does give you the moral authority to speak on behalf of the community, and rewards come from meeting members of it, listening to their concerns and doing what you can about them.

None of the candidates appeared unsuitable; it was a matter of deciding who had the best combination of skills — diligence, tenacity and diplomacy being the key ones — for the role.

Voting papers for the mail-in ballot (unlike in the U.S. we don’t think voter fraud claims will apply 🙂 ) get sent out by the Council to those in the Waikanae ward next week.