October 2 deadline for regional development feedback

With less than a week to go until the consultation period closes on the Southland Regional Development Agency proposal, Southland Mayoral Forum chair and Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks is encouraging people to get their feedback in.

The agency proposal aims to form an organisation that will bring together local government, iwi, and community and business interests to lead regional social and economic development opportunities. It will combine the goals of SoRDS (Southland Regional Development Strategy), and the activities of Venture Southland, including tourism, but will have a wider focus.

The Southland Regional Development Agency Consultation Joint Committee met for the first time on Monday (25 September 2017).  The full committee, will hold public hearings, where submitters who have indicated they wish to speak to their submissions, will have the opportunity to do so. It will report back to the councils – Environment Southland, Gore District Council, Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council – on the submission process and its findings. There will be a comprehensive report on the submissions heard, and the recommendations for the Councils to make a decision on.

Councillors Amundern (l) and Soper
Cr Amundsen (left) and Cr Soper

The committee has eight members from all Southland councils: Environment Southland (Councillors Neville Cook and Grant Hubber), Gore District Council (Councillors Cliff Bolger and Doug Grant), Invercargill City Council (Councillors Rebecca Amundsen and Lesley Soper) and Southland District Council (Councillors Brian Dillon and Gavin Macpherson).

Gore District Councillor Cliff Bolger was elected chairman of the committee and Environment Southland Councillor Neville Cook was elected deputy chairman.

Mayor Hicks said Cr Bolger would bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role. “Given his years of work as a hearing commissioner, I have every confidence he will lead the hearing panel with skill and diplomacy.”

Hearing dates and locations have yet to be finalised. The consultation period closes at 4pm on Monday, 2 October 2017. More information about the proposal and how to make a submission is available at www.es.govt.nz/SRDA or from any Southland council office or website.