A plan for the future of the Gisborne district has been drafted and now Gisborne District Council wants to know what its residents and ratepayers think about it.
Consultation for the plan that spans 2012 to 2022 opened on Tuesday (20 March 2012). The plan sets out what activities and projects Council is proposing, how much they will cost and how they will be paid for.
The plan has the potential to affect everyone in the district, say Mayor Meng Foon. "It sets out how much you will pay to park in the CBD, how people in Whatatutu will manage their rubbish in future, and whether I will be able to go for a bike ride along a Waikanae Creek cycleway in the future."
"To get our people's feedback I will be calling into every township in the district - all 18 of them - for a community meeting over the next month. I will also be at Waikirikiri School on Thursday (22 March) evening at 5.30pm and Elgin Shopping Centre on Saturday (24 March) morning from 9am. Come along and find out more about what is in the plan and how it will affect you. I am happy to answer all your questions. Next Saturday (31 March) I will be getting up early to go to the Flea Market at 6am and then to the Farmers Market at 9.30am. I really hope people with any interest in what Council is up to will catch up with me or one of the Council team at these meetings and events. Council genuinely wants to know what people think about what is planned."
A schedule of all the meetings is available on Council's website.
National research tells us that the people who submit on local authority plans tend to be older males, who are well educated, says Nedine Thatcher-Swann, group manager community planning and development. "This isn't a good match with the Gisborne district population. Because the plan affects everyone, we are keen to get feedback from a wider group of people."
"This year we have made a video which summarises the plan for those who don't want to read our brochure. The video is on Council's website and Facebook page. It was made at no cost by Roel Velkeneers, a Belgian intern working at Council for three months."
"We have also tried to produce a summary of the plan that has a broad appeal to our residents. The journal themed brochure should have appeared in most people's letterbox this week. The brochure has a submission form which we encourage people to complete before 20 April."
"Submissions can also be made using the form on Council's website. We have already received our first online submission and increasingly this is the way people are choosing to give feedback to Council. Also on Council's website is the rates comparison tool. Ratepayers can check to see how the 2012-2022 draft Ten Year Plan (if adopted with no changes) would impact on their individual rates bill compared to the current year."
When people are finding out about what Council plans to do, it is worth remembering that we are not starting from a clean slate, says Chief Executive Lindsay McKenzie. "This plan carries on from the current 2009-2019 Ten Year Plan. Very little has been added but every aspect has been reviewed."
"Council has thought about the current and future issues facing our district - such as population growth, or lack of it, and affordability - strategies that Council and the community have worked on together as well as activity plans and how much all this will cost. In September last year Council went to community events like Te Unga Mai and the A&P Show and asked people to 'Share an Idea' for the future of the district. All these ideas and reviews have feed into the plan we have now drafted. Now we are asking have we got it right, what do people support, what do they oppose and what have we missed out?"
A copy of the full Ten Year Plan is available from the library, Customer Services or Council's website. Submissions on the draft 2012-2022 Ten Year Plan must be made in writing, on our website, or contact Council's Customer Services and a staff member will fill out the submission form over the phone for you. Submissions close at 4pm Friday 20 April 2012. Those who have made a submission can speak to Council about it at a hearing on 28-30 May 20112