Every now and then we’re faced with difficult decisions that challenge our thinking or our values. Defining moments when you have to step up and do what you believe is right regardless of the criticism.
Recently I’ve had to make a couple of those decisions, one I can’t talk about just yet, but the other I felt needed explaining.
I’m referring to my resignation as chair of Elevate Ōtaki. It’s a group and purpose I was very passionate about given the efforts I went to securing the $300,000 and establishing the group. Over the last 18 months I have personally contributed more than 200 hours and attended 32+ meetings working over projects to support Ōtaki and Te Horo from the economic effects of the expressway. Multiply that by the XXX members of the group and you start to get an idea of the time put into this by myself and the volunteer members.
In that time we have had numerous KCDC staff turnover and at times no staff assistance, several commitments made and not followed through, suggestions of spending the money on activities that KCDC should have been funding out of its own budgets, push-back over using the KapitiDestinationNZ and KCDC websites, and finally, when we came to appoint a contractor for the Ōtaki Identity project, we couldn’t get sign-off (KCDC holds the funds) as there was no process by KCDC for payment. It put the project at risk and behind schedule.
“You should have raised these issues with KCDC,” you might say. I did, in February 2018, and again in July, September (twice), and October. I also raised it with the mayor and chief executive.
They were all attempts by me to get things resolved for Elevate Otaki. It was a “last resort” when I resigned as chair to force KCDC into taking action. It was personally taking a toll on me. Fighting the bureaucracy was distracting me from my role as ward councillor, the criticism of inaction was affecting my reputation and those in the group, and it was jeopardising the very outcomes we were trying to achieve.
The change in support from KCDC since my resignation has, to date, been vastly improved. The Ōtaki Identity project is finally under way and things are happening. To my critics, a quote: “A critic is often someone who says they know the way but can’t or won’t drive the car.”