So far so good for the class of 2016.

It was a year ago this weekend that Whanganui elected a much changed council led by new mayor Hamish McDouall.

It had been a divided campaign with the pending construction of the $41million wastewater treatment plant at its centre.

The Beyond 2030 block was largely responsible for putting it on the agenda, campaigning on delaying the build and re-examining the decision made twice by the outgoing council.


There were paid advertisements, public meetings, open letters and social media spats between two sides.

All four Beyond candidates were elected to a council with seven new members and the chamber seemed split between halting the plant and endorsing an already taken decision.

Council was staring down the barrel of a rocky three years if the war extended beyond the wastewater issue.

To his credit, Mr McDouall recognised this early.

The voters had spoken and the debate had to happen again and be put to bed.

One of his first acts was to hold a two-day workshop to talk through the WWTP issues.

He allowed debate. The council voted again, and the plant went ahead as planned.

So much money, time, effort and tension for the same result.

But if anything the council has emerged better for it.

Meetings have been mostly cordial and respectful and councillors have presented a united front to the public.

In June it delivered a modest 2 per cent average rates rise for the district.

In December Mr McDouall wrote of his wish "that all councillors now move forward into 2017 in a spirit of hope and positivity for the future of Whanganui".

That is so important right now.

There is too much good happening in the district at the moment to be derailed by a dysfunctional council.

Thankfully, Mr McDouall got his Christmas wish.

Saturday's Chronicle will feature an interview with Hamish McDouall reflecting on his first year as mayor.