OPINION | Our unpaid weekend warriors

Wanaka. Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

QLDC Mayor Jim Boult focuses on the issues facing Wanaka and surrounds in our new monthly column.

My topic this week is the important part that volunteers play in our district. I suspect there aren’t too many households in the Queenstown Lakes District that don’t contain a volunteer or two of some description contributing to the greater good.

A large part of what happens in our area is a result of our unpaid weekend warriors turning out for everything from school sports events, to hobbies, charities (in particular the challenge of fundraising), and even to the essential services provided by volunteer fire brigades, Search and Rescue and St John ambulance service. I could probably fill this entire newspaper by listing the organisations which benefit from the many generous volunteers in our district.

The harsh reality here is that most of our community and sports activities, and emergency services (with the exception of the Police), would simply not happen if it wasn’t for the good folk of our district who put themselves out, often several times a week, to do their bit for their community.

Sometimes the activities of these groups are very obvious, such as the emergency services, other times they’re virtually invisible.

The purpose of my column therefore, is to give a giant and general thank you to everyone in the community who gives their time to the service of others, whatever realm that be in.

I note that the Trustpower Community Award nominations are now open until Friday August 25. I commend those of you who know groups or individuals doing something special to make sure they are nominated for these prestigious awards.

In talking about volunteers, I know that our local Wanaka Ward Councillors and Community Board members do receive financial benefit for their involvement, however I suspect if you applied this as a per-hour rate, for the amount of time they put in they would be amongst the lowest paid people in the district. Our Ward Councillors and Community Board members certainly don’t do it for the money. They do it because they want to make a real and valuable contribution.

With Quentin Smith’s election to QLDC, a further space has opened on the Wanaka Community Board. Nominations close for this on Thursday September 7, and I commend anybody who is seriously interested in having a say in the way your community is run, to consider putting yourself forward.

Details of the Trustpower Community Awards can be found at www.trustpower.co.nz/communityawards

RELATED:  Search for Local Heroes  (Wanaka Sun - 3 July 2017) 

OPINION | A Downtown Masterplan for Wanaka (Jim Boult column - 20 June 2017)

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