The Ashburton Mayor has justified a special presentation of a plaque to councillor Phill Hooper.
Hooper, a first term councillor, signed off after 16 years as a local radio host earlier this month and mayor Neil Brown said his office decided to present a plaque “fitting for a recognition” to his 16 years’ service to the district.
At the recent council meeting on April 19, councillor Carolyn Cameron queried the process behind the presentation.
Rather than wait for the community awards, Brown said the plaque was a spontaneous gesture he organised, describing it as “a special case and fitting to be done at the time”.
It aimed at recognising “DJ Hoops”’ part in keeping the community connected over the years, for helping council spread its vital messages when needed, and for his assistance in a host of community fundraising efforts, Brown said.
“It is very different to the formal civic awards that we administer, that recognise the outstanding efforts of our district’s volunteers in a number of categories.”
The dedication was on show during the floods in 2021, Brown said.
“Hoops stayed on air past his regular shift ending time to keep residents abreast of the latest information being shared by our emergency management centre.”
Chief executive Hamish Riach said the plaque was simply a thank you rather than a formal award.
The council has a few plaques in store that can be adapted for various occasions, he said, and a small engraving cost would have been incurred.
In Brown’s absence, the plaque was presented to Hooper by deputy mayor Liz McMillan during his final radio show on April 6.
- By Jonathan Leask