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Chance for public to have say on community facilities strategy

AS Gisborne District Council approved the release of a draft communities facilities strategy for public consultation this week, it heard that other sources of funding will be required to pay for community facilities planned for the district. The strategy covers aquatic, sport and arts facilities, parks and open spaces.

Principal adviser Yvette Kinsella said there had been a lot of meetings with interested groups and it was time to test the ideas with the public.

This was very much a draft, she said. More options had been identified at focus groups. The approach being taken was that the council did not own a lot of the facilities included within the plans.

They were not trying to force people, rather collaborate with them.

Pat Seymour said some attention was needed to the script, which looked like it had been cobbled together from a lot of sources.

Graeme Thomson asked what was the point of sending out projects that the council was not going to be able to do.

“Are we going to show people the Price Waterhouse report on where we are going to be financially and where we are going to be if we borrow different amounts of dollars?”

That should be sent out with the document so there was some balance. There was a limit to what the council could afford.

Once people saw where rates and debt could be in the next four years they would realise that everybody was going to have to trim their cloth.

Andy Cranston said the council should not get too fazed by this. It was a work in progress and the council had a responsibility to have that planning in front of it.

The message from all the groups involved was that this was not going to fall exclusively on the council. Funders wanted to know what the planning was.

The council had a responsibility to be involved in the planning for these sports and arts facilities.

The plans had to be there to show that this was a community that did things. There were other commitments outside of roads and wastewater.

Larry Foster said the aspirations in the plan were awesome. There were other sources of funding than the council.

Brian Wilson said the council needed a forward-looking plan and a legacy of all the organisations working together.

“The benefits of all this won’t be known unless we all know what each other is doing.”

The YMCA, of which he was president, had plans but was waiting for this document to come out.

“We want to do something that is different from everybody else so we can be sustainable.”

If groups were all competing for the same things and not knowing what each other was doing it was hopeless.

Rehette Stoltz said many people lived here because of the great quality of life. This report was showing what we had and where there were some gaps.

People did not expect the council to pay for and do everything, but it was the glue that kept it all together.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said she saw the council’s role as being a strategic leader and it was part of its role to be looking forward for future generations. There were people who would contribute in a philanthropic way.