Ratepayers fork out for community board to solve its differences

TROUBLE: Conflict at the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board led to behind closed-door meetings with the Mayor and chief executive.

Ratepayers had to fork out $3079 for three sessions for an independent facilitator to resolve disputes within a community board.

Last week, it was revealed that problems within the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board led to a closed-door meeting with Mayor Lianne Dalziel and chief executive Karleen Edwards.

To resolve conflicts, board members requested meetings with an independent facilitator in October last year.

The city council would not say who the facilitator was due to privacy reasons and commercial sensitivity.

The money came from the elected members’ professional development budget.

Board chairman Mike Mora declined to comment on whether the $3079 spend was appropriate or not.

But he said the funding is often used for training elected members.

Riccarton Ward board member Catherine Chu did not elaborate on the nature of the sessions but said it was good for the board to acknowledge that they had differences.

“We’re all there for the same purpose, which is to represent our community. We’ve got different views on how we execute that, and that’s a reason why we’re a board of nine people.

“It’s difficult to do that efficiently and as effectively as possible if there are disputes. So it’s good that we acknowledged we had some problems,” Ms Chu said.

She said the board is now much stronger together and the disputes are in the past.

“I think the meetings have been run very effectively by Mike Mora and Helen Broughton as the deputy,” Ms Chu said.

Another cause of disagreement last month has now been resolved, Mr Mora said.

There were disagreements within the board over whether Mr Mora should make a deputation on behalf of the board to city councillors about $70,000 being granted to KartSport Canterbury.

Mr Mora said board members agreed to him | deputising for them, but he chose not to as he was confident of the outcome.

The $70,000 to help the Halswell-based kart club move to McLeans Island was granted as he’d hoped on Thursday.

Board members also met with Dr Edwards and head of community support, governance and partnerships John Filsell.

Dr Edwards said it was a planned, informal information sharing visit which she has with all boards every year.

“I have visited community boards to update them on
key work under way including the council’s strategic priorities, the initiation of the annual
plan process, the residents’ survey.

“And, given that the code of conduct was established at the beginning of their term and it is now midway through, to get some feedback on how it is working [and it’s] relevance etc.”