Two ratepayer groups vying to serve community

There are now two ratepayer groups serving Waihi Beach residents. Photo: Ella Mitchell.

Waihi Beach ratepayers will be well-served when it comes to tackling Western Bay of Plenty District Council on local issues, with two groups now vying to represent ratepayer interests.

Representatives of the newly-established Waihi Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association were out and about in the village last month, handing out a survey to find out what people want to see in the community in regards to infrastructure and services.

Chairman Don Fraser says the new association was established as it was felt the Western Ward Residents and Ratepayers Association was more representative of the Katikati area.

“We want to work collaboratively with the [WBOP] council in a way that doesn’t annoy them,” says Don.

“Hopefully we can be the body that goes to council and has a yarn to them about what’s going on here and help them achieve what they are trying to achieve as well.

“It’s not on our agenda to go and argue with council about high rates. We’d like them to feel good about Waihi Beach and we’d like them to come to us and say ‘we’re thinking of doing this’ and we can be part of that process.”

The Western Ward Residents and Ratepayers Association committee decided at its annual general meeting on October 21 to change the name of the association to the Katikati-Waihi Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association, because many people did not connect with ‘Western Ward’.

Secretary Keith Hay admits the name change may cause some confusion between the two ratepayer groups, but the new name will be staying.

“We have a different philosophy to the other group, but I think we both want what is best for ratepayers in Waihi Beach, so to that extent we’ve probably got the same aims, just different ways of trying to achieve them.”

Anyone wanting to add their details to the database of the new Waihi Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association can email: waihibeachrandr@gmail.com