Changes ahead at Stratford District Council

By ILONA HANNE

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With the new council ready to be sworn in next week, they have plenty of projects waiting for them.
With the new council ready to be sworn in next week, they have plenty of projects waiting for them.

"The fact all five sitting councillors were all returned to their seats is a vote of confidence in the direction council is taking."

Stratford mayor Neil Volzke, who was elected unopposed, says the five new councillors who join the sitting ones will "each bring a range of views and different backgrounds to the council table".

Stratford mayor Neil Volzke was unopposed in the local government election.
Stratford mayor Neil Volzke was unopposed in the local government election.

With the preliminary results now in, representing an approximate 99 per cent of all votes received, Neil says he is looking forward to working with the new team.

With the launch on Monday night of Stratford 2035, which consists of three documents; an updated Stratford Economic Development Strategy, the Future of Broadway concept plan and the District Plan Review Issues paper, councillors will have plenty to work on, adds Neil.

He says he is also planning to push the need for attention to be paid to the sealing of SH43.

He says the new council will also be recruiting for a new CEO for Stratford District Council, with current chief executive Matt O'Mara having announced his intention to move on at the end of the year.

"I have enjoyed my time at Stratford District Council, and have enjoyed working with both the staff and community," says Matt.

Stratford District Council will be recruiting for a new CEO, after current chief executive Matt O'Mara announced his resignation. He will finish in December.
Stratford District Council will be recruiting for a new CEO, after current chief executive Matt O'Mara announced his resignation. He will finish in December.

He adds there is "never a good time to leave, however due to family cirumstances I have made this tough decision".

Mayor Volzke says it has been a pleasure to work with Matt and he and the council team wish Matt all the best with his future endeavours.

Neil adds Matt has been instrumental in council winning a number of awards, as well as having made some significant internal improvements to information management in his time with them.

Rural councillor Graham Kelly has been re-elected and will be the only "old hat" on the rural ward this time around.
Rural councillor Graham Kelly has been re-elected and will be the only "old hat" on the rural ward this time around.


In the rural ward, incumbent Graham Kelly has been re-elected, receiving 601 votes. He's joined by new councillor Grant Boyde who received 797 votes, making him the highest polling candidate for the rural ward.

Grant Boyde has been elected onto the rural ward
Grant Boyde has been elected onto the rural ward

Grant says he was delighted to receive so many votes, and looks forward to learning the ropes "and increasing my understanding of how council operates".

Rick Coplestone has been elected to the rural ward
Rick Coplestone has been elected to the rural ward

Another new face at the table is Rick Coplestone (663 votes). He says he likes the camaraderie at council. "It is a great group of people and I look forward to working with them all."

He adds he is also looking forward to pushing rural issues to the "forefront of the council table when needed, and making sure our rural ratepayers are heard, as well as increasing the understanding of rural needs with the urban sector".

Keryn Walsh (510 votes) is the fourth rural councillor and says she "got about the number of votes I expected". Her campaign was based less on advertising and answering questions in the paper, "and more about doorknocking and speaking to rural women groups", she says.

Keryn Walsh has been elected onto the rural ward
Keryn Walsh has been elected onto the rural ward

She adds she is looking forward to talking to adults - explaining she currently doesn't have a job, "I spend my time looking after my grandchildren so adult company will be great."

Missing out on a seat at the table is Kevin O'Brien, who received 472 votes.

Jono Erwood was the voter's favourite, polling highest of all the councillors.
Jono Erwood was the voter's favourite, polling highest of all the councillors.


In the urban ward, the voter's favourite is Jono Erwood, who has been re-elected with 1363 votes. Jono says he is obviously pleased to have received so many votes, but adds he would like to see more people voting in general.

"We need to look at how we engage with the general public, to ensure we get people involved in the electoral process."

He says he is looking forward to working with his fellow elected members over the next three years.

"We are fortunate in having such an inspirational leader as mayor Volzke. Stratford is lucky to have him."

Kelvin Squire was re-elected onto the urban ward.
Kelvin Squire was re-elected onto the urban ward.


Fellow current councillor, Kelvin Squire has also been re-elected, receiving 1246 votes.

Alan Jamieson was voted back in.
Alan Jamieson was voted back in.

Another current councillor, Alan Jamieson is also back in, receiving 1222 votes along with John Sandford (1060 votes).

John Sandford has been re-elected onto the urban ward
John Sandford has been re-elected onto the urban ward

The newcomers to the urban table are Gloria Webby, who swept in with 1169 votes, and Peter Dalziel, who received 907 votes.

Gloria Webby is a newcomer to the council table, representing urban voters.
Gloria Webby is a newcomer to the council table, representing urban voters.


Gloria says she is thrilled to have been elected, adding her "grateful thanks" to all who voted for her. She is looking forward to developing Stratford as a hub of what she terms cultural activity, saying she sees this as being something "visitors will embrace and hopefully feel encouraged to not just visit, but to stay here too".

Culture, adds Gloria, "gives a town a soul". "We already have a great start with the wonderful gallery and redeveloped library so lets build on this and continue to grow Stratford as being a vibrant cultural community."

Peter says he is "very happy" to have been elected, saying he had been cautious about the result, "as a relative newcomer to the town I wondered if I was well known enough to be able to get the numbers, so I am delighted to see voters did feel I had some valuable skills to bring to the table".

Peter Dalziel has been elected to the urban ward
Peter Dalziel has been elected to the urban ward


He says he is looking forward to working with his fellow councillors on projects such as the Future of Broadway.

"To misquote the infamous Donald Trump, let's make Stratford great again."

Peter says he is confident ratepayers have a great team of councillors ready to keep the town growing as a great place to live, work and play.

Missing out on an urban seat this time are Rawinia Henderson (699 votes), Brian Tipler (355 votes), Gary Ammundsen (329 votes) while Tony Milham, who unsuccessfully stood for mayor in 2013, received 279 votes.

Councillors will be sworn in on October 20.

- Stratford Press

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