‘Cuppa’ feedback being reviewed

COLUMN

It has been a very busy few months for council with all the “cuppas”, and this week we look into the summary of the consultation feedback. Altogether 25 meetings and events were attended by the Mayor, councillors and staff. A total of 250 feedback comments/submissions were received online and on Facebook.

The council did not propose any significant changes to our plans for year three of the 2015-2025 long-term plan. The annual plan consultation document instead focused on the council delivering its plans for 2017/18 within the agreed financial limits (restricting rates increases to 2 percent and capped debt levels), and asked for specific feedback on the future of the Peel Street toilets, the James Cook Observatory, and Easter Sunday trading.

The Peel Street toilets are a constant community conversation and again we have had a number of people request that they are refurbished; however, the issue of vandalism of these toilets has staff recommending a dedicated night-time facility adjacent to the building that will be self-cleaning and more vandal-proof. So it is recommended that the council allocates $400,000 in the 2017/18 year to refurbish the Peel Street toilets.

With the Government’s amendment of the Shop Trading Hours Act last year, councils can now create local policies to allow trading in our district on Easter Sunday. Council staff propose to consult with key stakeholders to draft an Easter Trading Policy for the district. Further consultation, including a hearings process, is planned with a council decision scheduled for early next year in time for Easter Sunday in April 2018. A number of submissions that were against felt it was a moral issue, while other submitters see this as a business decision.

The James Cook Observatory had a number of submitters who strongly supported re-establishing the observatory as an educational, tourism and historical resource that holds benefits for locals as well as a national and international audience. High-level designs will be prepared for council consideration. Once there is an approved plan, the council can seek external funding to revitalise this important community asset.

A decision paper for funds to replace a section of the Turanganui river retaining wall is also on the table.

Another big-ticket item we will discuss is the Olympic Pool Complex. A business case to assess options for redeveloping the pool complex has just been completed. It proposes that $14-$17 million is invested to undertake major renewals and upgrades to the complex over a three to five-year period in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan, to ensure that it is fit-for-purpose and meets the needs of the district over the next 30 years.

A paper asking to support the War Memorial Trust to continue its work with gaining external funds for the benefit of council theatres is also on the agenda.

Our Mayor has produced a significant paper on the Extended Gisborne-Napier Cycleway and Rail Trail. The extensive reading material details the feasibility study and gives a number of benefits as to why this project should be considered.

So a fair amount of reading with all these big decisions, which means some robust discussions to be had and strong coffee needed!

It has been a very busy few months for council with all the “cuppas”, and this week we look into the summary of the consultation feedback. Altogether 25 meetings and events were attended by the Mayor, councillors and staff. A total of 250 feedback comments/submissions were received online and on Facebook.

The council did not propose any significant changes to our plans for year three of the 2015-2025 long-term plan. The annual plan consultation document instead focused on the council delivering its plans for 2017/18 within the agreed financial limits (restricting rates increases to 2 percent and capped debt levels), and asked for specific feedback on the future of the Peel Street toilets, the James Cook Observatory, and Easter Sunday trading.

The Peel Street toilets are a constant community conversation and again we have had a number of people request that they are refurbished; however, the issue of vandalism of these toilets has staff recommending a dedicated night-time facility adjacent to the building that will be self-cleaning and more vandal-proof. So it is recommended that the council allocates $400,000 in the 2017/18 year to refurbish the Peel Street toilets.

With the Government’s amendment of the Shop Trading Hours Act last year, councils can now create local policies to allow trading in our district on Easter Sunday. Council staff propose to consult with key stakeholders to draft an Easter Trading Policy for the district. Further consultation, including a hearings process, is planned with a council decision scheduled for early next year in time for Easter Sunday in April 2018. A number of submissions that were against felt it was a moral issue, while other submitters see this as a business decision.

The James Cook Observatory had a number of submitters who strongly supported re-establishing the observatory as an educational, tourism and historical resource that holds benefits for locals as well as a national and international audience. High-level designs will be prepared for council consideration. Once there is an approved plan, the council can seek external funding to revitalise this important community asset.

A decision paper for funds to replace a section of the Turanganui river retaining wall is also on the table.

Another big-ticket item we will discuss is the Olympic Pool Complex. A business case to assess options for redeveloping the pool complex has just been completed. It proposes that $14-$17 million is invested to undertake major renewals and upgrades to the complex over a three to five-year period in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan, to ensure that it is fit-for-purpose and meets the needs of the district over the next 30 years.

A paper asking to support the War Memorial Trust to continue its work with gaining external funds for the benefit of council theatres is also on the agenda.

Our Mayor has produced a significant paper on the Extended Gisborne-Napier Cycleway and Rail Trail. The extensive reading material details the feasibility study and gives a number of benefits as to why this project should be considered.

So a fair amount of reading with all these big decisions, which means some robust discussions to be had and strong coffee needed!

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Rob - 2 months ago
25 meetings, a low 250 submissions and some of the big-ticket items being discussed are the pools, peel street toilets, Turanganui retaining wall....? Nothing more about our wastewater system?? Really.....
Just make a call on the toilets already, retain what's required and obvious on our river and move on with our filthy pools . . . next agenda item is...!
Businesses will also need more than a couple of months notice to get themselves around Easter Trading . . . slow, slow, slow . . . this really should have been done by now. Wairoa has already made a call on this . . . why are we so slow? Does our council not understand how businesses actually operate and timelines required to make decisions around staffing etc?
A few months gone and this is how far this council has come? If you were a business with real customers you would be broke already. So slow, and slow is the reason you only received 250 pieces of feedback over a three-month period from a populous of more than 45,000 individuals. How can this process be expected to be engaging for anyone?
Possibly too many Cuppas . . . our cummunity deserves better.
(The council must find a way to make great decisions faster ...)