Colleagues of Rodney Local Board Chair Phelan Pirrie, who is standing down for local politics, say his ability to find innovative ways of doing things, commitment to delivering results and strong community advocacy will be sadly missed.
They say for Pirrie, delivering results for Rodney has always been at the forefront of his thinking and decision-making over his nine years on the board.
Representing Rodney communities for the past three terms, Pirrie was Board Chair this term, having also served as Deputy in 2016.
He has also held several other roles including as the transport targeted rate project lead, served on various political steering groups including Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara, and also on Auckland Council working groups including the Auckland Governance Political Working Party.
While it is impossible to list all his achievements, the standout must be bringing public transport to previously isolated rural communities.
Even though the Rodney Targeted Transport Rate was strongly criticised when introduced in 2018, it will deliver a $46 million investment in bus services, community transport hubs and footpaths.
Pirrie says while transport targeted rate projects were a first for the Board and Auckland Transport, they showed how local communities could work with council entities to deliver projects decades earlier than planned.
He remains passionate about the important role Boards play in their communities, particularly around empowering people through partnerships with farmers, landowners and volunteers to deliver environmental restoration projects, and community-inspired public spaces, including Warkworth’s Te Puawai Kōwhai and Kumeū’s Huapai Hub.
As Board Chair, he presided over a challenging time when the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the country and hit council finances hard, delaying projects, something that was especially tough for areas such as Rodney, experiencing high population growth.
Pirrie says while it has been difficult and sometimes challenging, he is grateful for support from family, fellow Board members and the community.
His parting words of advice for incoming Board members and those returned at this year’s local body elections is that Board members be effective navigators capable of continuing to find new ways to get things done to deliver for their community.
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