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Russell Wharf community vote moves to final stages

Russell Wharf community vote moves to final stages

Date set for upgraded poll

Russell residents are now able to view the documents they will be asked to vote on to establish the proposed Kororareka Russell Community Wharf Kaitiaki Trust. The proposed Trust Deed and the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Far North Holdings are both available in the Russell Wharf community consultation section of the Far North District Council (FNDC) website.

Both documents show what changes have been made to the original text as a result of a comprehensive community consultation exercise carried out in May.

The Question and Answer document on the FNDC website has been updated to address the queries received during the consultation process.

Russellites made 12 formal written submissions to the consultation process and Riki Kinnaird, a local businessman facilitating the establishment of the new Trust, said he had received “dozens” of verbal submissions.

“We took each of these extremely seriously and have moved mountains to incorporate whatever changes we felt were both reasonable and achievable,” Mr Kinnaird said.

“People now have everything they need to make an informed decision on whether or not to establish the Trust along the lines we are proposing, which will give our community for the first time a say in how our wharf is managed and maintained.”

Russellites will be asked to vote on two matters. There will be a yes/no vote on whether they accept the proposed Trust Deed and MOU. And there will be a vote for five members of a Wharf Trustee selection panel, drawn from the Russell community, who will be responsible for selecting the Trust’s first Board of Trustees.

One of the developments arising from the consultation process is a change to the way that voting will be conducted, and a shift in the timing of this process.

“People told us clearly that they wanted to be able to vote electronically,” Mr Kinnaird said. “They also told us that they felt the voting process we had previously outlined was not sufficiently robust and secure.”

As a result, Far North District Council has engaged Independent Election Services Ltd, a company that undertakes and enables local body elections, representation reviews and polls, to oversee and manage the Russell vote.

A mix of voting options will be available; online, postal and ballot box. Anyone eligible to vote in local body elections, who lives within the designated Russell/Kororareka area, will be able to vote on the matters. As will all non-resident ratepayers.

The voting date has been moved to a three-week period starting on Friday 12 July as a result of these changes, and details of the voting process have also been changed as a result. Updated dates and processes are outlined on the FNDC website.

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