McCall wins by-election

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Tapanui has a new district councillor, a country bloke who is concerned about the environment and the people in the area he has called home his entire life.

Lloyd McCall is worried about how people are working with their council.

“Look at the by-election. Only about 35% voted and I am worried about the other 65% who missed the opportunity to engage with their council.”

That engagement with the Clutha District Council features highly on Cr McCall’s agenda.

“People should have more engagement with their council.

‘‘It’s there to serve them and one of the goals I have is to get more people involved with the future running of our district and our council.”

Originally from a Waikoikoi century farm, Cr McCall grew up in the region, studied at Lincoln and later trained as a rural banker.

Following a brief spell in Auckland where he met and married wife Robyn, the couple returned and have worked in the dairy sector since then.

When his son and daughter-in-law took over running the dairy operations, Cr McCall moved back into farm businesses and accounting advisory roles in the South and West Otago districts.

That had taken up about 50% of his time. The other 50% had been developing the very successful Pomahaka Water care group, whose 160 members continue to explore and innovate methods for improving the freshwater quality in the catchment.

“The project has grown so much and there are many good and very capable people now at the helm so I can now move over to working with the council.”

Even though he is taking on a lesser role in the water care group, Cr McCall is still passionate about the environment.

“When my wife said find a hobby we took up tree›growing and now we grow and plant out about 10,000 to 15,000 natives each year.

‘‘It’s a labour of love, just like my other passion for learning te reo.

“I have found it really interesting to learn more about the history of Maori and their culture, especially their views on land sustainability — Ifeel we are both working on the same principals about the land care.

“I became involved in council as I believe it’s very important our area has representation.

‘‘There are lots of new Bills, laws and problems to solve in the near future and it’s important we have a presence on the council to offer our views on the long› term plans for Clutha.

“For now I need to get up to speed on how things work in the council chambers and to do that I will be asking a lot of questions as I work towards getting our community here more involved in understanding what the long-term plan has for us here.

“People need to have their say in this and my mission is to get that other 65% informed.

‘‘The mayor needs support from local communities and while I bring a strong environmental awareness to council I am also very aware that this is a governance role, not a management role.

“It will be awesome to get experience on governance and this will help with the water care group and many other things,” Cr McCall said.

Cr McCall will join incumbent John Herbert as the second of two West Otago ward representatives on the Clutha District Council, after winning a by-election last week.

He defeated Tapanui resident Gabrielle Mills in the by-election, which was triggered by the resignation in December of long-standing councillor Michelle Kennedy, also of Tapanui.