Local School Girl Leads the Way

When ten year old Olive Roxburgh presented her submission to the Hurunui District Council’s Public Services Committee, she probably did not expect to have her suggestions put forward to the council as recommended amendments to policy.

While presenting on the draft Coppard Reserve Management Plan, Olive told the committee she believed the reserve should remain as a natural area and that there was an opportunity for a Leithfield history walk, which could begin at the reserve and include narrative boards.

Olive says that the idea for the history walk came about while she was walking past Coppard Reserve with her Mum and saw how beautiful it looked but how underutilised it was. So she began to brainstorm options for how the reserve could showcase Leithfield.

“I really enjoyed presenting my submission to the committee. It was the first time I’ve ever felt nervous talking in front of a group of people, but I enjoyed the experience and appreciated the opportunity to come and share my ideas for Coppard Reserve with the council.”

The committee were extremely impressed with Olive’s suggestions and received her submission well. In fact so much so, they went on to recommend the council amend the draft plan to include the provision for a narrative board.

Public Services Committee Chair Fiona Harris, says the committee recommending the plan be amended to include Olive’s suggestions shows just how youth are engaging with local government in the Hurunui and influencing the business of the council.

“Youth participation is so important to the democratic processes of the council. It is always encouraging to see children as young as Olive presenting their submissions and shows just how impressive the youth of our district are. I also think it is a credit to the district that young people have the confidence to come and present their ideas to the council. This is something that is particularly unique to us that we can all be especially proud of.”

The draft Coppard Reserve Management Plan was amended to include a new policy which would provide for the establishment of a narrative board. It was then adopted by the council at its meeting on 24 August 2017, and the Hurunui Reserve Management Plan was duly amended to include the Coppard and Amberley Eastern Reserves.