Council’s new Chat Space events are proving popular with local communities who are welcoming the more relaxed approach to being able to share their views and ideas.
The Chat Space events were specifically set up to reach people and communities who would not normally provide any feedback or comment to Council via traditional consultation methods.
Policy Team Leader Rebecca Bell said that Council staff and elected members were very pleased with the way people were responding to the Chat Space concept.
“The thinking behind Chat Space was to provide a relaxed, nonthreatening environment for people that was ‘on their turf, in their time and on their terms’ to drop by and share their thoughts, concerns and ideas on their community and Ruapehu with Council,” she said.
“We know that many people can find our formal consultation methods daunting and wanted to provide the opportunity for people who would never use the traditional submission methods to have their say.”
“To date we have held Chat Space events in Taumarunui, Ohakune and Raetihi and have more scheduled in all these townships in September, October and November as well as dates in National Park Village and Owhango at the Market Day (5 Nov).”
Ms. Bell said that each event aimed to have different staff and elected members scheduled to attend so that we can bring along staff responsible for different activity areas of Council.
“Yesterday afternoon’s Chat Space was the best so far in terms of the numbers with 11 people dropping by for a chat and a cup of tea or coffee,” she said.
“People got to talk with Warren Furner and Andrea Nicol from Council’s road team as well as Mayor Don Cameron and local Ward Councillor David (Rabbit) Nottage and myself around a wide range of issues.”
“These included; community funding, Raetihi parks and reserves, feral cats, parking, footpaths, freedom camping, licencing of food premises, the aerodrome, banning plastic bags, small business support and how to make a submission to the Long Term Plan (LTP).”
“With next year being a LTP year where we set out Council’s plans and direction for the next ten years (2018-2028) this feedback is invaluable to helping Council decide what we should include, leave out, or take into account, in putting the LTP together.”
Ms. Bell added that anyone wanting more information on the up-coming Chat Space events should check Council’s website ruapehudc.govt.nz or give their local Council office a call.
“We would love to see as many people as possible dropping by,” she said.
“Not only is it a great way to have your say but you get to meet some of your friendly Council staff and elected members.”