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Council mulls major community honours shake-up

Council mulls major community honours shake-up
Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown.

The keys to the Ashburton District are gathering dust.
The Keys to the District were introduced as a Community Honours Award in 2019, but is yet to have had a worthy nominee to be awarded.
The Ashburton District Council is currently reviewing its awards policy, which looks to remove one of the unused awards and at the behest of the mayor remove the limit on some of the remaining awards.
The awards were revamped in 2017 to introduce a range of award types rather than one civic award, with the keys to the district then added in 2019.
No keys to the district have been awarded and no-one has yet to be named an honorary citizen, which is why the latter is proposed to be dropped.
The mayor’s award for public service has been awarded 11 times, and there have been 10 civic awards.
In 2022, Mid Canterbury Rural Women received an Ashburton Medal. The medal was first awarded in 2017 to Tony Harnett, and then to Martin Nordqvist in 2018 as the only other recipient.
Currently, only one medal can be awarded each year, and one set of keys, but mayor Neil Brown asked why there was a limit.
“If there is more than one worthy recipient then perhaps there could be more [than one award], so why are we limiting it to one,” Brown said.
“It’s not as though we are going to give away 35 of them, it will be limited anyway.
“I would like to see the numbers removed and we decide how many get given away each year without having a limit.”
As the councillors requested further changes to the policy at what was the final meeting of the term, the council opted to leave the matter on the table.
Once the proposed changes are made to the policy, it will be considered by the new council.

  • By Jonathan Leask