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The mayor who constructed a $1.3 million rock wall and says he saved the town thrice

A defiant outgoing West Coast mayor has defended two of his extra controversial tasks.

In actual fact, they’re the 2 he is most happy with, he says.

Westland mayor Bruce Smith, taking a break from politics after a close to loss of life ordealchaired its final council assembly on Thursday.

In his two phrases as mayor, one in all his two highlights was: constructing the cease financial institution now referred to as Havill Wall.

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* Welcome to Westland: The story of the mayor, the cease financial institution and the suspended CEO

Smith, and former councilor Durham Havill, got here underneath fireplace from the auditor-general in 2017 for constructing Franz Josef’s $1.3 million rock wall within the Waiho River with out consulting consultants, metropolis officers or councilors.

Smith stated “for sure” the Havill Wall had saved the town from flooding a minimum of thrice because it was in-built response to a flood in March 2016 that submerged a significant lodge and vacation park and compelled the evacuation of 200 individuals.

Bruce Smith's last Westland District Council meeting.

Joanne Naish / Issues

Bruce Smith’s final Westland District Council assembly.

His different spotlight was saving Sundown Level — a sand-spit lookout level between the river and Hokitika Seashore — from erosion and securing authorities funding for the world.

The challenge made headlines and Smith’s trials have been referred to as into query when environmentalist Des Watson found polystyrene and plastic among the many materials there.

Sundown Level, or the Tiphead to locals, was eaten away by the ocean, and a earlier council determined to desert it and let nature take its course because of the price of defending it.

As soon as Smith grew to become mayor, Sundown Level grew to become his favourite challenge. He contacted each contractor within the space to dump their cleanfill at Sundown Level moderately than ship it to the landfill, and a variety of councilors questioned Smith’s course of, significantly the engineer’s lack of approval.

Smith stated the world was now completed and was a spectacular attraction for locals and vacationers alike.

Sunset Point in Hokitika was in danger of being eaten away by the sea prior to Bruce Smith's tenure as Westland mayor.

Joanne Naish / Issues

Sundown Level in Hokitika was in peril of being eaten away by the ocean previous to Bruce Smith’s tenure as Westland mayor.

Throughout Smith’s tenure, he fought towards each a proposed vote of no confidence and Minister of Native Authorities Nanaia Mahuta’s intention to nominate a Crown Observer amid considerations concerning the board’s “dysfunctional governance and administration, insufficient insurance policies and poor decision-making processes, and allegations of inappropriate habits and bullying”.

He stated the worst a part of his job has been the “fixed battles” with the central authorities over issues like Three Waters, key wildlife areas and land administration.

“You’ll be able to’t win them. You’ll be able to put ahead your viewpoint, however you’ll be able to’t win as a result of the present authorities has the numbers to do what it needs,” he stated.

He stated he would spend a while in Nelson, the place he owned a home, to get better close to his daughter. He has battled prostate most cancers, Covid-19, pneumonia, sepsis and blood clots.

Bruce Smith, assisted with a walker, says he couldn't have accomplished anything without his wife, Jenny.

Joanne Naish / Issues

Bruce Smith, assisted with a walker, says he could not have achieved something with out his spouse, Jenny.

Thursday was the primary assembly Smith has chaired at Metropolis Corridor since March. He thanked staff and councilors, appealed to the council to be extra open and clear and wished the council candidates each success.

“All I can say is that I could not have accomplished any of it with out [my wife] Jennie,’ he stated.

Councilor Paul Davison stated Smith was by no means afraid to talk his thoughts.

“You confirmed us the nice methods and a few unhealthy methods to get the job accomplished, however general we obtained the job accomplished,” he stated.

Councilor Jenny Keoghan stated Smith had been an “completely extraordinary” mayor for the previous three years, principally due to his communication abilities.

“The factor…I cherished you probably the most, Bruce, is that you simply obtained in whenever you set your thoughts on one thing and made it into one thing,” she stated.

Three mayoral candidates were among those present at Westland Mayor Bruce Smith's last meeting.

Joanne Naish / Issues

Three mayoral candidates have been amongst these current at Westland Mayor Bruce Smith’s final assembly.

Six individuals have raised their fingers to switch Smith on this 12 months’s election:

  • Present council supervisor and controller of the West Coast Civil Protection Emergency Administration Group, Te Aroha Prepare dinner.
  • Former South Westland councilor Helen Lash, who clashed with Smith on a number of points and was fired by him as Deputy Mayor, however was later reinstated.
  • Longest-serving present councilor and former deputy mayor Latham Martin, who misplaced to Smith by 99 votes in 2019.
  • Hokitika businessman and firefighter Chris Rea, who’s at present the director of two council-controlled organizations.
  • Richard Osmaston, who campaigns for a cashless society.
  • Phil Paterson, a amount meter from Harihari who’s staunchly anti-1080.

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