Environment Southland will be saying farewell to two of its long-serving council members, Marion Miller and Jan Riddell, at their last council meeting today.
Both Marion and Jan were elected to the inaugural Southland Regional Council when it was formed in 1989. After both taking breaks in the late 90s, they have collectively spent 30 years representing ratepayers in the Invercargill/Rakiura constituency.
During her 18 years on the council, Marion has served on several committees and was Chairman from 1992-1995. Her involvement in protecting Southland’s heritage has been a hallmark of her time on council as chair of the Southland Heritage and Building Preservation Trust. She has cared for some of Southland’s treasured historic buildings, which have been restored to their former glory, such as Kohi Kohi cottage in Riverton.
When interviewed recently, Marion said she had found her work on the Council inspiring.
"The culture here is so conducive to doing a great job. I know I can't be expert in everything, but I'm excited about the new knowledge and the science."
Jan has served as a councillor for 12 years, most recently chairing the Organisational Performance and Audit committee. Her involvement with the council started many years ago as a result of her connection with the Waiau River, chairing the the Waiau Working Party.
Jan has always had a huge passion for the environment and water quality issues, conservation in general, and biodiversity.
“All those things are important to me. On Council you try to make a difference. I'm impressed with the way the science is going in terms of the good information to back up the development of policy,” Jan says.
Chairman Ali Timms said the council was losing two well-respected women councillors.
“Marion and Jan have provided valuable contributions throughout their terms at Environment Southland, both have a passion for improving Southland's water quality and Marion's fantastic work judging our Environment Awards for the past nine years must also be recognised."