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Chief executive responds to Herald's article

6 Jul 2017

Chief executive responds to Herald's article

Response by Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann, to the Gisborne Herald article Thursday 6 July 'Council Under Fire, parents angry waste collection trucks are back near schools.

I would like to respond not only as the Chief Executive of the Gisborne District Council, but also a mother of children who have attended Central School and one who will be commencing at the school next term.

I acknowledge our media statement of 17 May 2017 where we said that Waste Management were trialing changes to their collections routes with the intention of avoiding collections near schools from 8am to 9am and 2:30 to 3:30pm. 

I also acknowledge public comments that were made via social media whereby trucks were subsequently sighted in school areas at these times. 

Following the trial changes to collection routes, Waste Management agreed on a revised Traffic Management Plan with Tairawhiti Roads which is a binding document.  That document clearly stated that their trucks would avoid congested areas, including schools at their start and finish times.  This was intended to give a longer-term solution.  All of the trucks are equipped with GPS to enable vehicles to be monitored.  I have issued Waste Management a formal notice under their contract to comply with the Traffic Management Plan and to cease operating around schools at peak traffic times.

I am disappointed that we were not responsive in terms of our communication over this.  The legal advice we were given at the time was not to comment due to the ongoing investigations.  This I now regret.  I should have followed my heart and responded to our community.

Together with the Deputy Mayor Rehette Stoltz, we will continue to keep the communication open between Council and the Neems family.  I can only but continue to offer my ongoing support and commitment to the family.

I have spoken separately to the Herald about the appropriateness of reporting on matters that are currently under investigation and the importance of providing the Council an opportunity to respond or comment where the Herald intends to publish articles that are critical of the Council or its staff. 

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