Community Board Proposal

posted 22 Nov 2015, 14:18 by CPCA Secretary   [ updated 22 Nov 2015, 14:20 ]
Residents may have seen recently that Johnsonville and Newlands/Paparangi Residents’ Associations are collecting signatures as the first step towards establishing a Community Board.

Your Community Association was asked if Churton Park wished to join, but after giving long and careful consideration decided to decline the invitation. Some background and comment on the “no” decision includes the following:

  • The exercise arose at the time the multi-city amalgamation proposal debate was at its peak. Johnsonville/Newlands were concerned that they may be “swamped” by the bigger suburb of Karori if they were within the proposed Ohariu district and would miss out on getting matters that are of importance to them addressed in their favour. That amalgamation exercise has been abandoned, but the Local Government Commission will be making a further proposal at some stage, and the shape of that may be significantly different from previously. The state of local body governance nationally is in a state of flux and it is very hard to see what direction it will take and what formats will apply. This makes the Board proposal very risky, as it may well have a very short existence.

  • The prime requirement in the establishment of a Board is to have a “community of interests”. Despite extensive review CPCA could not find anything of significance in this area. Suburbs invited to be included in the proposed Board are quite separate geographically and do not have a common focus or “town centre” and have quite different areas of concern.

  • An analogy that could be applied to Churton Park if it were to be operating under a Community Board would be if a proposal did not interest Johnsonville/Newlands they may not accede to Churton Park’s requirements. For example, housing intensification is an issue that is of relevance to Johnsonville, but not to Churton Park.

  • A Community Board would leave this Association in a significantly weakened state. For example, should Churton Park have an issue concerning a specific matter and approached Wellington City Council, the Council is most likely to refer the Association to the Community Board. The Board may have little interest in the issue and not be prepared to advance the matter. Where would that leave Churton Park residents? CPCA believes it has excellent lines of communication with Ward Councillors and WCC staff that it has been able to use with success.

  • Despite Johnsonville/Newlands’ contention, Community Boards do not get all they ask for “as of right”. This fact has been confirmed by looking at the Tawa Community Board’s operations. A community board is also expensive to run – this has the potential to impact on rates.

  • There could well be difficulties in getting sufficiently motivated people with the necessary skill-sets, as well as being well-known over the whole district, to stand for election to the Board. This may mean, ultimately, that Churton Park could be left with no representation on a Community Board. Churton Park could be left with additional layers of governance to battle through to get issues to the ultimate decision making table.

  • WCC may not agree to the setting up of a Board – it is not something that occurs automatically if asked for.

Taking all the foregoing into consideration it was decided, unanimously, by your Committee not to accept the invitation to join in this scheme.

Richard Taylor President CPCA 23 Nov 2015