Community board update to council

Cambridge Community Board chair, Mike Pettit, at last Tuesday’s council meeting.

Cambridge Community Board chair, Mike Pettit, gave his annual report to the Waipa District Council last Tuesday, highlighting the board’s achievements for the past year and previewing activities for the coming year.  Mike went through the board’s list of accomplishments, including spearheading the refurbishment of the WWII fuel bunker at Lake Te Koo Utu, the Safe Ways to School pilot study and advocacy around trees in conjunction with the Cambridge Tree Trust.  He also expressed disappointment in the stalling of a council-driven parking survey in the town, saying that delays to fixing parking issues were costing businesses in the town money.  After Mike’s presentation, Barry Bergin, group manager – service delivery, advised that council is in the process of recruiting a traffic and transport engineer, with the aim of beginning a comprehensive study of all traffic – including public transport and cycling – on July 1.

Also on the community board’s radar is the lack of 24/7 policing in the town, and Mike told council that the board will continue to champion the town’s cause with police.  There is a meeting planned with Western Waikato area commander Andrew Mortimer and Waikato district commander Bruce Bird in a couple of weeks’ time. Over the past three years, data shows that Cambridge has become less safe, Mike said.  The Rebels bike gang and the Greasy Dogs from Tauranga have both moved into town since the police station went part time, he added.

Looking ahead, the community board will be an active participant in the 100th anniversary of the liberation of sister city Le Quesnoy and will send a small delegation to France to mark the occasion in the town.

Mike also put forward a suggestion for a neon flashing sign on the high-level bridge to advise trucks to keep off it, as it appears that the hanging sign there now is not working.

The board will also continue to champion the case for a Heritage Museum in Cambridge, with Mike seeking the reinstatement of $270,000 which had been earmarked to upgrade the existing museum but has disappeared from the budget.  He said the board would see this as a minimum contribution from council, adding that the concept of a new museum would “fall on its sword” without council support.

While the board had received no formal feedback on the Waipa Heritage Centre to be built in Te Awamutu at a cost of an estimated $12.4M – including a proposed $7.2M contribution from council –  he cautioned that “if our (Cambridge) one can’t happen, then support for the Waipa facility would be questionable”.

Also coming up this year is a Cambridge Charter – designed to provide a scorecard for the community about the impacts of the town’s rapid growth.  Eight factors have been developed – including wellbeing, economic success, education, social services, accessibility and employment – and work is continuing to choose three positive and three negative indicators for each factor.

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