The chairman of the Teviot Valley Community Board has lamented the recent actions of a minority group — and fellow board member — in the valley as ‘‘a complete waste’’ of his time.
Addressing the board in Roxburgh last Thursday, Norman Dalley said the actions of this group had taken up time which prevented him from fully serving the community.
‘‘Unfortunately, much of my time in the last three months has been taken up by the unwanted distractions and actions of a minority group attempting to make council ungovernable,’’ Mr Dalley said.
Speaking to The News after the meeting, Mr Dalley clarified he was referring to board member Gill Booth.
In recent weeks, Ms Booth, who is associated with the Voices for Freedom movement, has distributed leaflets around the Teviot Valley area, with her name and contact details on them.
The leaflets discussed Three Waters, proposed local body reform and the Local Government Funding Agency.
Ms Booth claimed the agency permitted the ‘‘unauthorised use of your private property as collateral against council debt’’.
In response, Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan, Mr Dally and board member and Teviot councillor Sally Feinerman published a joint statement in a Teviot Valley community newsletter last month rejecting Ms Booth’s claims and labelling them as ‘‘misinformation’’.
Mr Dalley told the community board there was no place for ‘‘radical influence or cynicism’’ in the Teviot Valley.
‘‘The fabric of our community has evolved over time through sensible, rational and well considered respect for the wellbeing of others,’’ he said.
‘‘This has been a complete waste of my time as an elected member and chairman of the board, and time that would have been far more valuable contributing to the serving of the Teviot Valley community.
‘‘My colleagues — bar one — feel the same.’’
Future generations of the ward would benefit from a unified promotion of the community’s values and interests, Mr Dalley said.
Mr Dalley emphasised the board served the interests of the entire community, not just ratepayers.
‘‘We are not a closed community as some are trying to lead us to believe.’’
Despite these comments, Mr Dalley said the board had ‘‘achieved well’’ since being elected last year.
He said he saw great improvement in the relationships the board had with the community.
However, during the public forum, Teviot Valley resident Graeme Rae said he was ‘‘sort of in support’’ of the leaflet’s contents.
‘‘I think it’s good we’re actually being informed of some of the things that go on, whether they be right, wrong or otherwise.’’
Mr Rae said, after reading the leaflet, he was concerned rates collected in the Teviot Valley were being put towards development elsewhere in the district.
‘‘Our community board, I feel, needs some more finances to run little projects in our community.’’
Mr Rae said he believed rates paid in the Teviot Valley largely went to Alexandra, with no return in service from the council.
‘‘Fulton Hogan come down here and do the smallest of jobs.’’
He also raised the issue of rating for tourism in the Teviot Valley saying a ward service rate assessment showed residents paid a specific rate for tourism.
However, tourism also benefited from the economic development rate, the ward promotion rate and the ward services rate, he said.
‘‘It’s almost like double dipping. If tourism was so much of an earner, why is it all coming out of rates?’’
Mr Dalley said the inquiry was a ‘‘reasonable question for clarification’’.
He said the board would discuss the issue and seek advice from the council before communicating its informed response back to Mr Rae.
Attempts by The News to contact Ms Booth before deadline were unsuccessful.