Christmas brings a time to be grateful

A busy 2022 followed a hectic 2021, which came on the heels of an unprecedented 2020.

Just thinking back over the past two and a-half years is exhausting.

And that is before coming to the realisation that 2023 is going to be equally dynamic in the face of central government elections and a New Zealand response to global issues around inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and labour supply challenges.

No wonder resilience is thin, and people are tired.

In the face of all this, it can be a little harder to pull out the nuggets of good that one might like to reflect on at the end of a busy year — nonetheless, I found myself reflecting on several things that made me feel grateful.

In the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, here are mine from a Central Otago District Council (CODC) point of view:

1. Engaged and passionate staff at CODC who wake up, front up and deliver every day of the year for the community that they live in and love.

2. A dynamic work environment where people can work more from home and in a way that suits their style and levels of productivity.

3. Government funding of $3.21 million for specific projects in Central — new toilets at the Cromwell Bike Park, renovations to the Alexandra library, Community Wellbeing/vision for Central Otago, engagement with iwi, digitising all property files, technology to enable self-checkout at the libraries, sand filter and liner replacements for the pools, fencing at Roxburgh Pool, a stage upgrade and earthquake strengthening at Alexandra Community Centre, upgrades at Clyde Hall and seismic assessments on council-owned buildings. All without having an impact on rates!

4. A new destination management plan designed to ensure that visitors become an extension of our community, loyal advocates and believers in Central Otago.

5. Clyde wastewater (stage one live) and Lake Dunstan water supply (live in the first half of next year).

6. Progress on the Cromwell Memorial Hall and Town Centre projects — as determined by the community.

7. Houses going up at the council development at Dunstan Park in Alexandra.

8. A new-look Maniototo library.

9. Turning sod at Roxburgh Pool.

10. Detailed assessments of bridges across Central Otago, important connectors that will now be the focus of a new strategy in 2023.

11. Great customer feedback when things go right. Keep it coming, it makes a world of difference when staff know that their work is appreciated.

12. A stable council. Central Otago should count its blessings for the council it has — capable, consistent, intelligent and proactive. In an environment where there is so much political turmoil, I know that the way our council approaches things will give us the very best chance of good outcomes for Central Otago in 2023 and beyond.