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Mayor opens big jar of ideas

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang launches the council’s “Big Jar of Ideas” public engagement initiative. PHOTO/MARCUS ANSELM

MARCUS ANSELM

[email protected]

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang is hoping a new initiative in the district will stimulate some big ideas, and the local economy.

The district launched its “Big Jar Of Ideas” yesterday, which asks residents and community groups for their proposals and comments to improve life in the area.

The council hopes to capture concepts to take into next year’s Long Term Plan reviews.

CDC resolved not to open public consultation on its annual plan for 2020/21.

The council decided in meetings during lockdown that there was no material difference between its intentions for this financial year and those described in its long term plan.

The council’s main project this year is its sewage plant upgrade, which came into focus this week.

A council committee met to consider tenders of up to $3.5 million on the next stage of the Dalefield site.

The project would also fall under the scrutiny of the proposed new water standards authority, and as part of the Department of Internal Affairs’ Three Waters Review, which offered hundreds of millions of dollars to local authorities for infrastructure.

The council, however, remains eager to harness the creativity of locals for more ideas in its long term planning.

Lang said ideas such as cycle lanes, and the climate change strategy shared with neighbouring South Wairarapa, were concepts created by residents and community groups adopted by CDC.

“It [the climate change strategy] wasn’t in the annual plan. It was a concept that was heavily pushed to us. We accepted the points and we got traction. And it’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done.”

People can also take part online. A Facebook page already attracted hundreds of members before Friday’s official launch, and the council is taking feedback through all its channels, including face to face.

Lang said the process showed people “really, really care about where they live”.

“They don’t necessarily want council to spend money in certain areas but they want us to influence and facilitate where we can. Some of what is suggested is not council core business, but we want to engage with all aspects of the community.

“It’s about contacting everyone, and that’s why there’s various mechanisms to do that. If a section of the community feels that they’re not getting engagement, we’re trying to help them do that.”

Lang said that the scheme could also help the Carterton economy recover from the covid-19 lockdown.

“It’s another way, without attending a public meeting, to engage. People can sit in a café and contemplate, they can fill it out. It might be they go to a shop, and they can’t get a car park, they could fill out then.

“It’s a great way of adding value.”

Wairarapa recovery chief Dave Gittings said the initiative provides “a perfect platform” to help the district’s recovery from the covid-19 lockdown.

Gittings is CDC’s assets manager but has been seconded into a leading role to steer a multi-district post-pandemic plan, working with neighbouring South Wairarapa and Masterton.

“The long-term plan engagement provides a perfect platform to incorporate the community’s ideas on the long-term recovery of the Wairarapa post the covid-19 pandemic lockdown,” he said.

“The economic effects of covid-19 will have a bearing on what people want us to focus on in the next 10 years, so the two projects go hand-in-hand.”

The jars will be on display at businesses across the district from July 10 to August 10.

Visit CDC’s website, or Facebook page, for more details, or to submit an idea.

-NZLDR

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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