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Councillors farewelled at final meeting before election

At the final Hastings District Council meeting for this triennium on Thursday, two councillors were farewelled – Rod Heaps and George Lyons.

Mr Heaps was first elected in the Heretaunga ward in 2004 and since that time had contributed to the council across many areas including: hearings, landfill and District Plan committees, sustainability and climate change portfolios, animal welfare and coastal hazards.

In summing up his 15 years service, Mr Heaps said he had enjoyed working with everyone in the organisation from the staff to the various councillors over the years.

“I have learned so much through the different areas I have worked in and have also enjoyed working with the community and want to thank the community for putting me back here every three years.”

Among the highlights of his tenure he identified being on the wastewater committee since the day he started and being part of bringing about the significant improvements, resulting in the biological treatment system being used today.

He was also pleased to see the Clifton revetment wall built, a piece of infrastructure he battled long and hard to bring to fruition, he said.

Mr Lyons was voted onto council in 2013, after having served on the rural community board from 1995 until 2004.

In his time he had been involved in district plan hearings, animal and pest control, building and parking control, health and safety, resource management, regulatory and community board matters.

He said when he first joined the council his plan was to serve six years and then stand aside to provide an opportunity for someone else to bring fresh thinking and different skills to the council.

“The mechanics of council are complex. Governance and management are separate entities and should remain so. I want to thank the staff for their assistance over the last six years.”

He also thanked the Mayor and councillors for their commitment, focus, mahi and long hours.

He noted in recent years how the district’s economic environment had improved.

“Six years ago we were struggling to get economic growth, but there have been significant gains in the last three years.”

Kiwibank relocating its call centre to Hastings, the Eastern District Police moving its headquarters here and the imminent arrival of a hotel to the city centre were evidence of how much things had changed, he said.

Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst acknowledged the breadth of skills both councillors had brought to the table over their time, and noted that they took a lot of institutional knowledge with them.

She said the council was grateful to both for their contribution and she wished them the best for the next stage in their life’s journey, knowing they would continue to serve their community in other ways.

© Scoop Media

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