During Council's discussions with Ruapehu communities for the 2016-2017 Annual Plan it was clear that people had significant aspirations for the future of their town, community and the District.
The common message was that people were tired of 'waiting for things to happen' and wanted to see tangible signs of progress in their township along with the opportunities and investment that comes with it.
This general consensus was reflected in Ruapehu communities overwhelming support (81% of submissions) of Council's proposal to reprioritize some spending to economic development for local digital enablement and to support tourism sector development as part of the 2016-2017 Annual Plan consultation.
This clear vote of confidence highlights that Ruapehu communities recognize that we need to take responsibility for our own regeneration.
Over September 2016 Council held a series of public meetings (Taumarunui, Ohakune, National Park, Ohura, Waiouru, Raetihi) on a range of issues including; the Regional Accelerate25 Action Plan, government's initial co-investment announcements, planned and future projects, township revitalization, Council services, the 2018/28 Long Term Plan process and how this all fits together.
Community meeting outcomes
There was an excellent level of community engagement at all the meetings where participants considered the issues confronting their towns and what needed to happen to get them moving. This included discussions on the good things and not so good things as well as perceptions around township identity.
There were plenty of ideas about what people thought needed to be done and how they thought Council could help. People also made it clear that they wanted assurance that these meetings would produce tangible outcomes and were not just 'feel good talk fests'.
Full meeting 'brainstorm' notes can be found on the relevant township web page.
Council's vision is to create an environment which will facilitate the development of prosperous rural communities that are able to capitalise on our agriculture, business and tourism sectors while sustaining our beautiful environment.
The objectives are to improve the well-being and quality of life for our communities by:
- creating and retaining jobs,
- supporting and growing incomes and
- increasing the ratepayer base.
Council is committed to providing the governance, leadership and facilitation to enable this vision.
How we have responded
Council has responded to community calls for tangible signs of progress by:
- Bringing forward the delivery of community development projects wherever possible.
- Committing resources to supporting communities and community organisations to update or enhance and deliver community development plans.
The level of support required for communities and community organisations has varied by township. Some townships have on-going development plans while others are starting the conversation amongst themselves. All townships however share a common desire to get things moving.
The use of Bespoke Landscape Architects
For some townships Council has engaged Bespoke Landscape Architects to work with local communities to develop or enhance existing concept plans and ideas. These are useful in helping communities to think about and discuss what they want for their township.
So far Bespoke has worked with the following townships:
Residents and other stakeholders of these townships can view the Bespoke concept plans on the relevant township web page. Feedback on the Bespoke concept plans can be made online.
The township revitalisation journey - have your say in the process
Township revitalisation is a journey and we won't get to the finish line in one swoop. Putting our townships on a path to growth and prosperity will take ideas, energy and passion from the people who will benefit the most, our local communities.
We are encouraging residents, ratepayers, friends and other stakeholders to have their say on what they want for their township.
To help to develop a deeper understanding of what stakeholders want for their town along with the relevance of the spaces targeted for redevelopment people are encouraged to think about township revitalisation based around four key questions. These are:
- What is the historic and cultural significance of the town/town centre?
- What is the role of the town centre for locals?
- What is the role of the town centre for visitors?, and,
- The key structural elements that should remain or be taken out?
If there is not a specific web page for your town Council still wants to hear from you on what your aspirations are for your community. Fill in the General Revitalisation Input Form or send us an email.
For more information please email Rebecca Van Orden or Margaret Hawthorne or phone on 07 895 8188.