by Geoffrey Churchman
A 15 year resident of Waikanae, Michelle Lewis was dismayed last July when the Council made the decision to close the Recycling Facility in Park Avenue. She organised a petition, and spoke at a Public Meeting, to stop it. The efforts were unsuccessful, but that hasn’t deterred her from seeking public office to address that and other needs.
Elected unopposed to the Board vacancy created by the resignation of Margaret Stevenson Wright last August, she is ready to take up the advocacy role for Waikanae people as an official representative. She says she is passionate about the principle of Ratepayers and Residents being listened to by decision makers.
She has a background in transport planning, which included 2 years a decade ago as a KCDC staffer. “As a Transport Planner, I have worked in national agencies, local and central government and private consultancies on small and major transport investments, and supported developers to successfully get consent for major housing and commercial projects. I will continue to advocate for the inclusion of the needs of all users in designs.”
I met with her to discuss the various local issues that she is likely to be involved in as a Board member; the big ones are the impact of the several announced and probable new housing developments on infrastructure needs, not only streets, traffic and parking, but also other amenities such as parks, reserves, paths, street and path lighting and halls. A proper replacement for the library that was closed in 2018 remains as pressing as it was in 2019 and needs to be advanced.
She has also been a dance teacher, working with families and special needs adults. “It’s important to me that our community accepts everyone, identifies what they are best at and supports them to be their best.”
She gets sworn in at the first Community Board meeting on 1 February.