As part of the required Representation Review the Western Bay of Plenty District Council proposed that the current five Community Boards disestablished and replaced with three Ward based Community Committees.

After considering the feedback received from the extensive public consultation the Council suggested five 5 different options to be considered and decided by the full Council at their meeting on 20th September.

Option 1: (The original proposal, no Community Boards, three Community Committees)
That the five current Community Boards are disestablished and replaced with three appointed Community Committees aligned to the three ward boundaries.

Option 2: (Four Community Boards and three Councillor Committees)
That the Waihi Beach, Maketu and Te Puke Community Boards be retained in their current boundaries, the Katikati Community Board be retained in the adjusted boundary and the Omokoroa Community Board be disestablished.

A Ward Councillor Committee consisting of all Ward Councillors be established for each of the following areas:
• Whole of Kaimai Ward
• Eastern end of the Maketu-Te Puke Ward i.e. all the areas not included in the Te Puke and Maketu Community Boards
• Matakana Island and Rangiwaea Island of the Katikati-Waihi Beach Ward i.e. all the areas not included in the Waihi Beach and Katikati Community Boards.

Option 3: (Three ward based Community Boards)
That the five current Community Boards are disestablished and replaced with three ward-based Community Boards, subdivided by communities of interest or with members elected at large across the three wards.

Option 4: (No Community Boards, no Community Committees - Councillors only)
That Community Boards are disestablished and elected representation for constituents of the Western Bay of Plenty District be provided by the 11 elected Councillors and the Mayor only.

Option 5: (Status quo)
That the five elected Community Boards using the current Community Board boundaries as directed by the Local Government Commission following the 2013 Representation Review be retained.

It is apparent that for equitable representation there needs to be some change to the current Community Board system that only covers 56% of the district and only 20% of the Kaimai Ward.

There was also concern that, even in areas that are covered by Community Boards, many groups did not have a “voice” around the table. Clearly there is nothing stopping anybody from seeking election under the current system.

The unanimous decision by Council was for Option 2; Four Community Boards (Waihi Beach, Katikati, Te Puke and Maketu) and three Councillor Committees covering all areas outside of those current Community Board boundaries.

It is a compromise conclusion and it will be interesting to follow the progress of this new system which will result in the Kaimai Ward having one elected committee looking after it’s interests and three committees each in the other two Wards the Katikati-Waihi Beach Wards.

The Council decision must be publicly notified by 2 October and then a month is allowed for appeals and objections to be filed by 2 November.