Thank you for your email below and for your personal comment re the positive contribution of Community Board members toward RMA hearing processes. My experience of Board members on RMA hearings has also been positive and matches yours.
My hope is that under a volunteer Community Committee system we would still have these good people providing valuable local knowledge RMA hearing input.
Re CCC, my understanding is that they had their Community Boards long before they had their 24 Councillors halved by the Electoral Commission. A close friend living just outside ChCh who has many years experience of the ChCh Community Boards has nothing good to say of them, though he concedes that the people on them are mostly well-meaning but bound up in the Local Government Act paperwork maelstrom.
I have recently had a letter from someone who claims that the Community Boards around Timaru “are a complete waste of time and money” but that the River Control Liaison Committee [volunteers] to which he has belonged for a number of years has informal meetings as required and works very well. He sums up this voluntary style of Committee as “no cost, no fuss”.
A discussion I have had last week with Balclutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan reinforced successful models of volunteer Community Committees, especially the Waihola Community Committee and the Owaka Community Committee. Independent anecdotal evidence of up to 40 people attending some of these Volunteer Community Committee meetings and significant projects being better funded because all the funds go to the projects [along with solid donations] indicate an alternative less formal type of Community Committee that works well around us and may work well for us too.
Better decision making and better funding of Community projects may result from a fresh look at Community organisations of all kinds.