Western Bay of Plenty District Council

Community matters to me

I’m passionate about the Western Bay. Part of this passion stems from the chance I get as mayor to meet people from all walks of life, witnessing firsthand the diversity that makes our District so rich and vibrant.

James Denyer

Connecting regularly with our community is important for me because without hearing people’s views – the good and the bad – we cannot provide leadership and make decisions on their behalf.

These interactions often happen at times of heightened emotion. Whether at the excitement as to what is possible, or frustration at the pace of change.

This year, it has all too often been at times of sadness and loss from the devastating effects of extreme weather events – Cyclone Gabrielle, rainstorms, flooding and tornadoes. The damage both to people’s homes and belongings, and Council’s infrastructure has been significant.

However, I am thankful that such events have not led to loss of life as other districts have suffered. These events can be traumatic and overwhelming, and this is where staying in touch with our community becomes critical so that we can understand the need, and provide help where required so that life can gradually get back to normal.

At the same time, it has reinforced my belief that only together can we make the changes we need to take our District forward while protecting all the things we love about where we live.

Climate change and sustainability, housing, or nationwide reforms such as the Future for Local Government, and Affordable Waters Reform.

These are big issues Council cannot solve on its own, and so it is important we are in touch with our community. Because community involvement is the key to ensuring Council’s plans work for everyone.

While we can never hope to please everyone, we do try to do our best for our community. We do care and listen.

I care and listen, and am committed to working collaboratively with everyone. Whether stormwater concerns, a new playground, or upgrading community facilities – no matter how big the project or issue it matters to someone, and so in turn matters to us.

It’s the reason I got into local politics. The chance to advocate for my community and District, and to see grassroots projects come to life that are truly special and spark joy.

That project for me was the Waitekohekohe Recreational Park, previously named Lund Road Reserve. Back in 2018 I was one of those passionate locals who managed to get the idea for the park backed by Council, and eventually the wider Western Bay community who agreed to support the park plans through the Long Term Plan 2021-31.

This project wouldn’t have happened without Council and passionate locals working together on a shared goal for a community facility and ecological improvement.

Fast forward to now, and as Mayor I want to see others right across our District experience the same excitement and satisfaction, and pride of place.

Projects like upgrading Pukehina’s Midway Park, restarting the concept planning to develop the property and upgrade the boat ramp at the end of Beach Road in Katikati, and beginning to tick off our planned dog exercise areas across the District all have the potential to achieve this.

I look forward to what we can achieve together and hope you will join us.

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