Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Western Bay mayoral candidate plans to take council to community

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IN THE RUNNING: Western Bay of Plenty District Council mayoral candidate, Don Thwaites. PHOTO/John Borren
IN THE RUNNING: Western Bay of Plenty District Council mayoral candidate, Don Thwaites. PHOTO/John Borren

Kaimai Ward Councillor Don Thwaites first action if elected as Western Bay of Plenty mayor would be to hold council meetings in the district's main centres.

"The first action I will take is to hold regular council committee meetings at our main towns of Te Puke and Katikati - we must get much closer to these communities," he said.

Mr Thwaites said he put his hand up for the position of Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor, "simply because I believe I would be the best candidate for the Western Bay of Plenty district".

"I have the experience at council, have a real passion for the area and have the energy and ability to commit fully to the role," he said.

Mr Thwaites had been a councillor for the past seven and a half years, after being elected in a by-election and winning the seat twice since then.

"I would lead council with a focus on the real issues that drive budgets, rates and debt while enhancing the processes and opportunities to listen to our communities' wishes and aspirations," he said.

The main priorities of Mr Thwaites' mayoral campaign include enhanced communication between community and council, financial prudence and rates affordability, road safety and capacity improvements, with particular attention to a Katikati bypass and SH2, SH29 and SH33 intersection safety.

He would also push for progress on the Rangiuru Business park and promotion of the creation of one more community board to ensure "the final 7500 properties not currently in a community board catchment are included in one".

Mr Thwaites had been the chairperson of the operations committee and was the deputy commissioner of the district licensing committee.

He said he biggest change he would implement if elected as mayor was a three waters committee, looking at water, waste water and storm water.

The Western Bay of Plenty ratepayers "are about to see the cost of currently under-utilised assets start to be spread over a larger base and give some long awaited relief from higher rating," he said

"We are finally poised at a period when growth will finally start paying its way and this will allow many long awaited community projects and improvements to proceed in a financially prudent manner."

Mr Thwaites said he would support collaboration and co-operation with Tauranga City Council and other neighbouring councils for economic development, planning, tourism, arts, regional reserves and transport.

One councillor from Te Puke-Maketu and another from the Katikati-Waihi Beach ward "may well be appointed as co-deputy Mayors".

- Bay of Plenty Times

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