Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Council hopefuls show what they could bring to table in Matua

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Meet the Candidates evening at Matua Hall. Photo/George Novak
Meet the Candidates evening at Matua Hall. Photo/George Novak

Council candidates for the Otumoetai-Pyes Pa Ward outlined what they would bring to the city council table at a "meet the candidates" evening in Matua tonight.

A crowd of more than 50 residents gathered in Matua Community Hall to listen to what the six candidates running to represent their community had to say.

The night began with each potential councillor giving a verbal CV of their skills and background.

Then each candidate spoke about what their vision and focus was for the next three years for Tauranga City Council and the city itself.

Unsurprisingly, the civic heart and Tauranga's growing traffic concerns were hot topics.

Larry Baldock, who is also standing for mayor, said traffic was a threat to the city. He said congestion would not be an easy fix and council would need to work with government and the New Zealand Transport Agency, but it needed to be a top priority.

Mr Baldock said the current form of public consultation was "appalling" and council should make it easier for residents to have their say.

His opposition to building a new council office building was also made clear.

Bev Edlin, a current city councillor, said council would need to look at ways to improve traffic issues, finish the Southern Pipeline and said a civic heart and waterfront needed to be built.

Ms Edlin said the current council had worked hard for a stable platform for positive growth going forward.

Graeme Moore, with a background in teaching, said he was committed to finding ways to finance basic infrastructure and recreational, cultural and sporting facilities without unnecessary rates increases.

He also said traffic congestion was a major concern.

Mr Moore said he supported the idea of council leasing an office space, which would free up money for civic amenities.

Catherine Stewart, a sitting councillor, said she would like to see council better engage with residents.

She said affordable housing was an issue, which needed more council energy to achieve and more collaboration with government and agencies.

While she had an open mind when it came to leasing new council offices, she wanted to one day see a museum built but was wary of operating costs.

Sheldon Nesdale, a young businessman, said communication between council and residents needed to improve.

Mr Nesdale said his priority was value for money, citing examples of consultants getting paid "big bucks" but those projects not going ahead.

Another priority was transportation, which he said needed creative, smarter ideas to improve - adding lanes would not solve the problem.

Jo West, an educator, said affordable housing needed council support.

She said there needed to be better public transport - more available and cheaper - which would help relieve congestion problems.

Ms West also wanted to see more events, festivals and activities for residents.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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