Ella Lawton has formally confirmed her resignation as Queenstown Lakes councillor and been given a large “to do list” from her council colleagues to take to the Otago Regional Council.
Lawton said her nomination to stand for the vacant seat in the Dunstan ward of Otago Regional Council was being lodged on April 21.
Her late mother Maggie Lawton held the Dunstan ward seat from September last year until her death from cancer on March 13.
Lawton told her colleagues her resignation was “with a heavy heart” but the decision was made easier by support from council staff, councillors, friends and family.
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The second-term councillor made her announcement at the start of today’s council meeting at the Lake Hawea Community Centre.
She thanked her colleagues and said she had enjoyed her service.
“It is difficult to understand what it is like to be in this seat unless you have been there,” she said.
Her parting request was for councillors to focus on social policy alongside economic development initiatives.
“Social policy has to sit alongside that as we continue to change and grow as a community,” she said.
Lawton reminded the councillors she and her mother had a plan for how they wanted to work together for the district so it could be well governed and well planned.
It was essential to have good relationships between the two authorities and, if elected, she would be pleased to deliver the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s submission to the Otago Regional Council’s 2017 annual plan.
“If you could just vote me in we could get on with it,” she said.
She would campaign for strong leadership, solid science, communication, innovative solutions and a clear plan on how to pay for things.
She hoped the Queenstown Lakes submission to the regional council would not fall on deaf ears and encouraged her colleagues to “dig a whole deeper” in their submission to the regional council’s 10 year plan.
Mayor Jim Boult wished Lawton well and said he would watch the election process with interest.
If elected, he hoped she would take the “to do list” with her.
“I have very much enjoyed your contribution and would like on record that you have been a tireless servant of the district, particularly the Upper Clutha and Wanaka, and residents of the area should feel the benefit of having you as a strong and committed representative,” Boult said.
Later in the council meeting councillors Alexa Forbes, Calum MacLeod, Scott Stevens and Ross McRobie added several more things to the “to do list” aka submission.
The topics ranged from pest control, wilding pine work, lagarosiphon control, air quality monitoring at Frankton and Arrowtown, and tourism and airport numbers.
Councillor Tony Hill suggested the regional council delay its rates rise until the following year, so it would coincide with the extra activity being urged on it.
Boult agreed: “They are pretty well funded and we would like to see them start spending their money.”