Jonathan Hobday’s resignation as chair of the Rosebank and Mowbray Civic Association (RMCA) – a position he has held for 25 years – marks the end of an era.
Mr Hobday said the sudden death of his wife, Carol, in March this year, had been a wake-up call and he felt something needed to change (“Carol remembered for selfless service,” Tatler, March 28).
Although he will remain a member of the association, he says it is time to pass on the baton to new leadership.
Mr Hobday moved into the area in 1993 and immediately became involved in the neighbourhood watch, civic association and community police forum. After retiring from the Weekend Argus in 1997, he was able to devote his time and efforts to the various community structures.
His firm belief in the importance of active citizenry had kept him motivated, he said.
“I don’t believe in just sitting back and waiting for officials. I want to be part of the process to drive change in my community.”
It had been interesting to see how the growth in student accommodation had driven the development of Mowbray and Rosebank, he said.
The civic’s role as watchdog over development was crucial, especially given the City’s gentrification and densification policies, he said, and it was aided in that by local architects and town planners who volunteered their expertise to the civic’s Rosebank and Mowbray Planning and Aesthetics Committee (RAMPAC), giving expert comment on development proposals.
Crime, public transport, the environment, infrastructure, homelessness and urban blight are some of the other issues the RMCA has tackled over the years.
“Some battles we have won and some we have lost,” Mr Hobday said.
“For me it was important to keep out of politics and take a balanced approach.”
He said it had been a privilege to speak up for the community and a rewarding experience.
“I had a sense of giving rather than receiving. I look back at the 25 years as a period of great learning.”
Mr Hobday said he would continue to chair the Mowbray Community Police Forum and remains a member of the neighbourhood watch.
“I will continue to be involved in civic matters – it’s what I do.”
Mr Hobday praised the Tatler for informing residents and giving them a voice. “We would, as a community, be so much poorer without the existence of service providers such as the Tatler.”
Yves Ducommun has been elected as the new RMCA chair.