Community Association for the Moutere Hills Mooted

A recent meeting of residents living in the inner Moutere Hills area voted unanimously to form a local Community Association, to address community issues.

Support for this move came from attending Moutere Ward councillors Trevor Norriss and Brian Ensor. They told the meeting the Council preferred to work with representative community groups to discuss local issues and get feedback.

Councillor Ensor noted that a community association could bring together the views of local organisations such as schools, churches and businesses, along with those of general residents. "This avoids council being “bombarded from all sides” on a number of issues - or getting no feedback at all."

Local resident Tim Finn, said the area was vibrant, growing and many residents wanted a say in future development.

In order to receive TDC funding for secretarial work etc, groups must be incorporated so as to be accountable legal entities. Incorporation is also required in order to receive regional or national grants for local projects. 

There are twelve Community Associations listed in the Tasman region and the more effective ones help plan and organise community projects, and act as a focal point where people can put forward ideas seen to be of value or locally significant. "They enable residents to have a voice in matters affecting their communities," said Councillor Norris.

Hamish Rush, Chair of the effective Tasman Community Association, reported the group has held a number of well attended public meetings and have a strong team, active in co-ordinating and communicating projects. These include "...the design and construction of walkways, building of pump tracks, old mill site renewal and revegetation, safety pathways  alongside roads, the storm water project, seeding funds for Taste Tasman, support of school projects  and communication of issues such as subdivision of the Baigent Domain, etc. Membership is spread widely; they a cohesive, supportive team and they get a lot done."

Ron Oliver, chair of the Ruby Coast Initiative Group explained it's role as an umbrella group for local businesses and other groups, ranging throughout the Moutere Hills. "The first focus was the Ruby Bay by-pass, and current projects include interpretive signs with information on ecology, geography, and history, and community gateways - seven metres high!"

Councillor Ensor said he was impressed by the way the MHCC board was running with input from the community. Board member Tim Finn noted that the existing Moutere Hills Community Centre board was unable to deal with the issues covered by the Community Associations, and that the inner Moutere Hills community could benefit strongly from forming such a pro-active representational

The public meeting voted unanimously to proceed with the formation of a local Community Association. This inaugural meeting of the Moutere Hills Community Association has been scheduled for Monday September 3 at the Moutere Hills Community Centre, starting 7pm.

The meeting will put together some agreed aims for the Association, and move towards forming an incorporated society with constitution, members and office bearers.  A start will be made on listing possible projects for the new committee to consider, and input from residents and community organisations is solicited.

From The Grapevine, September 2012