ADC moves to lead economic recovery advisory group

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An high-level advsory group that will help lead economic recovery in the Ashburton District post-Covid will be established by the Ashburton District Council.
Councillors, except two, voted today for the economic recovery advisory group to be set up quickly.
Council’s economic development manager Bevan Rickerby said the group, led by Mayor Neil Brown, would include representatives of all the different business sectors in the community. Members, expected to provide a high-level and informative insight into their dfferent fields, would be shoulder-tapped.
Mr Rickerby said as the pandemic moved to its next stage, council would need to assist and support businesses and help them return to capacity over the next few years.
Cr Rodger Letham said he was not in favour of the advsory group, despite its good intentions.
‘‘All I can see in this is more meetings, more reports and everything going round and round in a circle.
‘‘I think council can do far more for our ratepayers by making the business environment as friendly and as easy-to-operate as possible.’’
That meant good infrastructure and local and central government staying out of people’s lives as much as possible, he said.
Cr John Falloon agreed with him.
But the two were in the minority. The mayor and seven other councillors gave the advisory group the thumbs up.
Cr Carolyn Cameron said council was already in the wellbeing and environment space and people in its community needed help finding a way forward in a new world.
Cr Angus McKay said councils of the past had led initiatives that were good for the community and this was no different.
Former mayor Donna Favel had led an advisory group on mycoplasma bovis and that group had been able to have a political presence and highlight issues in the district, he said.
‘‘I think this committee will be the same. It will be the horsepower of the leaders of this district to go out and get things done for this district.’’
Cr Diane Rawlinson was also in favour of the advisory group, saying it gave a good chance to lead the community’s leaders.