Perth beckons for Rotorua council infrastructure head

District Council’s (RDC) Infrastructure Services Group Manager, Nico Claassen, is leaving the council after eight years to take up a new position in Western Australia.

Mr Claassen has been appointed Director of Infrastructure Services for the City of Joondalup, a local government authority in the northern suburbs of Perth with a population of more than 160,000.

RDC Chief Executive Peter Guerin said Mr Claassen would leave big shoes to fill as he had been instrumental in progressing a number of vital infrastructure projects, achieving high quality results for Rotorua.

"Nico will be a hard act to follow. He brought to our organisation a wide range of skills and experience gained in previous engineering positions in New Zealand and in South Africa, and he very successfully adapted those attributes to meet the specific needs of local government in our community.

"Some of these engineering projects have been major, such as constructing a series of new community sewerage schemes across the district, airport extension, wastewater treatment plant upgrade, and four-laning of Old Taupo, Fairy Springs and Lake roads," said Mr Guerin.

Mr Claassen said he had been very fortunate to work for a professional and progressive organisation like Rotorua District Council with a well-deserved reputation as one of the best councils in the country.

"Any successes I may have had here are a direct result of the skills, professionalism and commitment of management and staff of the council. They are the best team of people I have ever had the privilege of working with and they stand out amongst their peers in New Zealand local government.

"A major part of what we’ve been able to achieve during my time at RDC has been the commitment by the mayor and councillors who have been prepared to make hard funding decisions to ensure Rotorua has some of the best infrastructure of any local authority in the country."

Mr Claassen said he was sad to be leaving New Zealand as the country had been very generous to him and his family since moving from South Africa nearly ten years ago. However he would be retaining close ties with New Zealand and would continue to cheer for the All Blacks, "except when they came up against the Springboks," he quipped.

Mr Claassen’s last day with Rotorua District Council is Friday 2 November.

Mr Guerin said the council would shortly commence the process for recruiting a new Infrastructure Services Group Manager to replace Mr Claassen.

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