Norman Weiss, Wainui/Okitu Residents and Ratepayers Association
I WOULD like to comment on one paragraph from Craig Bauld’s Monday column.
He speaks about the issues before the GDC Community Development Committee this week, one of which is stakeholder mapping for the development of a community plan for Wainui/Okitu. He asks rhetorically, “Don’t ask me why they get a community plan when others don’t.”
First of all, many others have gotten a community plan in recent years, including Manutuke, Patutahi, Tolaga Bay, Ruatoria and Te Karaka to mention a few.
Wainui/Okitu have not got one yet and I would imagine that if Craig and other similarly-minded councillors have their way, it will be a challenge for our community to achieve this goal.
I would ask Craig, why do you not want Wainui/Okitu to have a community plan?
But to answer Craig’s “don’t ask me why” question, I will provide several reasons.
Back in 2008, after the big Wainui/Okitu reticulation debate was settled with the council withdrawing its proposal to reticulate the community, GDC “promised” Wainui/Okitu a community plan encompassing some of the aspects of Plan Change 37, which it tossed out along with the reticulation proposal. The council put this idea into its Urban Development Strategy, calling it the Wainui/Okitu Project. Since 2009, the Wainui/Okitu Residents and Ratepayers Association has been lobbying the council to fulfill this pledge.
While GDC likes to think of Wainui/Okitu as just another part of the city, the people who live in and/or own property here consider it to be separate and distinct. Wainui/Okitu is geographically set off from the city, separated by a stretch of 100kmh state highway, and is nestled between the hills and the sea.
We are truly a beach community with a unique environment, characteristics and lifestyle. We want a comprehensive community plan that helps to set out our vision for our community in the coming decades.
A significant portion of the people in Wainui/Okitu want this community plan. They have asked GDC for this plan through the Residents Association. Why would Craig, or the council, want to deny such a plan to Wainui/Okitu?
We thought that the council had decided to support this initiative. They put it in the current 10-year plan and they are the ones who sponsored the stakeholder mapping.
Wainui/Okitu will not be “getting a community plan” as that makes it sound as if it is handed to us on a platter with no effort from the community. Instead the people of Wainui/Okitu will be putting their views forward in a way that involves the entire community.
These people will be volunteering their time and energy to put a plan together for the community’s future. This will be a community project, not a council initiative. But we want GDC to support this effort and recognise that it will benefit both Wainui/Okitu and the council.