Petition will be considered says Mayor
Council will consider the issue of a referendum along with all the other information it is gathering on water meters, said Mayor Jenny Rowan.
“We acknowledge the right of residents to call for a referendum, and we have an open mind on this.
“The petition (calling for a referendum) has been received and we will consider it along with the other information we are gathering.”
Mayor Rowan said the issue of meters had been around for a number of years. “We accept that some residents thought the issue of meters had been dealt with and feel they have been ambushed, now that the issue is again before Council.
“We decided to look at meters earlier this year as part of the larger water supply project. We did consult in March and April, but clearly people don’t think that that was enough.
“We do intend to put this whole issue before residents again as part of the Long Term Plan consultation round in February/March next year. This is a set structure where all the material will be put on the table for residents to see and then to comment on.
“The process will allow for dialogue between residents and councillors. That seems to be a sensible, planned, open and transparent process.
“The Charging Regime Advisory Group that comprises representatives from different sectors of the community is currently working through the issues of a charging regime that will be fair and equitable.
“It makes good sense to keep an open mind on the issue of meters till we receive that charging regime information, which will be early in the New Year. When that information is available, then we can have an informed debate.
“We need to ensure that all residents have access to that information so they can choose whether to participate in the debate or not.
“We now have the petition calling for a referendum. It will not be ignored.”