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Peter Revell is reflecting on his first year as a Thames ward councillor. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

‘Green shoots’ showing for Thames

One year has passed since Peter Revell transitioned from community board member to district councillor, and he says he has “absolute optimism” for the town that has faced some “obvious big challenges” recently.
Peter was voted in as one of three Thames-Coromandel District councillors for the Thames ward in last year’s local body elections. He sits alongside second-term councillors Martin Rodley and Robyn Sinclair.
It was hard sometimes, he said, to hear a “seemingly endless stream of negative comments” about Thames and the wider district when so much good was happening.
“In one sense, there are some people who are always looking at what’s wrong rather than what’s right, while in some cases, there are people for which you understand their frustration and their difficulties,” he said. “But in the next six months, there are going to be all these things happening that will be good for Thames.”
Peter’s excitement stemmed from projects such as the restoration of State Highway 25A; the Kōpū Marine and Business Precinct; the Porritt Park playground redevelopment; new businesses such as a movie theatre and aviator experience opening in Pollen St; the Thames Public Art Trust’s final two sculptures being installed on the Hauraki Rail Trail; and the work to promote Thames as “a place to visit” being launched.
He also anticipated other, longer-term initiatives such as: an aquatic centre to replace the existing Thames pool; sea-level rise protection initiatives for Te Puru, Moanataiari, and Thames; the housing development in Totara Valley; and a bike trail following the Kauaeranga River.
“In my election campaign, I unashamedly banged on about the fact that I saw that we had the
opportunity that a ‘new beginning’ presents – a new mayor, new chief executive, new councillors. That ‘new beginning’ has materialised,” he said, “and we are seeing the green shoots of a much brighter future.”
Peter and his wife Keri bought their property up the Kauaeranga Valley in 2008, completing the move to the district in 2012.
He admitted that it wasn’t his idea to relocate from the big smoke.
“I came very willingly, but I enjoyed my life in Auckland, and I came here with not particularly high expectations,” he said. “But I tell you, I’ve become an absolute evangelist for Thames.
“I know we have challenges, but let’s bite them off one at a time.”
Peter said he was yet to have success in getting the Kōpū roundabout to the top of the “relevant priority list” – he hoped it would someday get a purposeful intervention to make the arrival to the Coromandel Peninsula a “wow” experience.
He also said the “plethora” of ram raids in Thames had been yet another handbrake for businesses, and dealing with the impacts had been disappointing.
“Keri said to me about a month ago: ‘Is this council thing working out how you expected?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know what I expected’.
“I knew what it was like on the community board, and there were some frustrations on the previous community board for a variety of reasons, but we’ve got a refreshed board which is fantastic and I feel I am now able to make a bigger contribution to Thames.”