Craig Dawson will continue as chairman of the Omarama Residents' Association but will bow out of local politics this year after overseeing a range of initiatives to support rural communities in North Otago during a three-year stint as Ahuriri Ward councillor on the Waitaki District Council and four years on the Ahuriri Community Board.
Mr Dawson, who has strongly supported the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, the Otematata buildings upgrade and the planned Kurow street upgrade, said he will not stand for re-election in October. He said unfair changes to expense allowances for councillors had made it hard for him to juggle the demands of sitting on the district council with the demands of running his own seven-days-a-week business in Omarama.
Red tape had been been a constant frustration, he said, but he enjoyed ''pushing the barrel'' for the district's rural communities.
''I do find the council process frustrating," he said, "When you're in business, you can get up in the morning and say: `Yes, I'm going to do this', but you can't do that in council."
''Basically I have been there to put my hand up for funding when we can get it and try and push the barrel for small towns. It's been enjoyable and I have learned a lot.
''I find the community service awards very rewarding. There are a lot of people in the small towns that work very hard and do many many hours of unpaid work simply to keep their small towns going and to keep them vibrant. It's been fun working with those groups.''
Source: Otago Daily Times