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Tech puts end to SWDC roadshow

Online council meetings means a stop to SWDC rotation, says Mayor Alex Beijen. PHOTO/FILE

MARCUS ANSELM
[email protected]

Technology upgrades to council chambers will end the South Wairarapa District Council meeting roadshow.

The monthly meetings are set to be streamed online from SWDC council offices in Martinborough, rather than from halls in each of the three main centres.

Featherston and Greytown have each hosted council meetings since a resolution almost two years ago.

But South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said the rotation would likely end with a livestreaming plan that was part of his report to council on Wednesday.

He said the move had been made in the interest of cost and time savings.

“The need to rotate the meetings around the three towns is partly negated by giving people the ability to observe meetings online wherever they are,” he said.

The council is leasing the old information centre on Kitchener St until February 2021.

These chambers are set to host all ordinary SWDC meetings after a refit. The rooms, opposite existing council officers, are being refitted for meetings.

Some council officers work from the building.

In 2018, council resolved to hold meetings in Featherston and Greytown as well as Martinborough.

Since the new council was sworn in October, all council meetings have taken place at Martinborough’s Waihinga Centre.

Although not its central purpose, the decision to upgrade an existing council room should also help with sound issues, which have been a bugbear for several attendees.

“I think you will find discussions in the new chambers will be more audible,” Beijen said.

“It’s a smaller room with carpet. If poor sound quality continues to be an issue, we can look at some sound enhancements.”

In answer to a question from councillor Leigh Hay, chief executive Harry Wilson said the technology cost about $8500.

Councillors Pam Colenso and Brian Jephson both said they had reservations over livestreaming.

Colenso said she would encourage a slight streaming delay to stop outside influence.

The formal decision on keeping the meetings in Martinborough would be taken by council in due course, Beijen said.

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