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2005 Community Outcomes and Priorities Workshop

Tuesday 16 August 2005, Fairfield House

1.0 Summary

Just over sixty of Nelson's community leaders discussed their vision for Nelson. Those at the workshop refined draft outcome statements, the broad goals that summarise what Nelson residents want for Nelson's future. They also explored ways for the community to work together to achieve these goals.

The following five draft outcomes received broad endorsement, with some improvements in wording:

  • 1.1 Care of the natural environment
  • 1.2 A sustainable built environment
  • 1.3 A strong economy
  • 1.4 A safe, welcoming, healthy community
  • 1.5 A distinctive, creative local culture

The full, amended draft outcomes are available separately from these notes. Several potential additional outcomes were suggested. Discussion of these lead to a possible sixth outcome:

  • 1.6 Proactive, innovative, inclusive leadership

Details of the major recurring themes

1.1 Care of the natural environment

We need to look after the good things we have, especially the environment

1.2 A sustainable built environment

  • We need improved public transport
  • The central city needs to be more walker-friendly, with more pedestrian areas
  • Integrated planning needs to recognise Nelson as a sea-side 'city village'
  • The Nelson community needs to debate the pros, cons and definitions of growth

1.3 A strong economy

  • The business sector drives the economy and provides employment, so needs to be engaged in making the vision into reality.
  • Business depends on a healthy environment, balanced with a healthy society.

1.4 A safe, welcoming, healthy community

  • The future is about people, inclusion, transport, sustainability, communication, community, growth and accessibility
  • Nelson needs to be a place where our youth want to be
  • If Nelson is good for children, it will be good for everyone
  • Aim to have Nelson recognised as a model city for balance and healthy living, including its facilities for learning

1.5 A distinctive, creative local culture

  • The Nelson community needs to debate and address 'what is our local culture - what is it that makes Nelson unique?'
  • Include fun and creativity in all aspects of Nelson's future
  • Nelson can be seen as a 'battery' that recharges people; residents and visitors alike

1.6 Proactive, innovative, inclusive leadership

  • The outcomes (goals) are interconnected and overlapping
  • The outcomes are what the community wants, for everyone to commit to, own and implement collectively
  • Everyone needs to work together regionally; 'Nelson' means the broader region, not just the city
  • Leaders and planners need to think of the next generations and listen to minorities

2.0 Mihi - Barney Thomas

3.0 Welcome - Deputy Mayor Gail Collingwood

Gail emphasised that this is a key workshop to further refine community outcomes and priorities - it is about both talking and listening. She explained that the outcomes are what the community wants, for everyone to commit to, own and implement collectively. Themes emerging from today's discussion will shape the priorities for the future. She said we are all players in achieving the outcomes; it is not just the Council's responsibility, and this workshop is not the end of the consultation process - it is the beginning in many ways. Gail introduced the facilitators, Esme Palliser and Peter Lawless, who outlined the programme for the day.

4.0 Introductions

Participants introduced each other, the extent of involvement they'd had in developing community outcomes so far, and what they wanted to achieve from the workshop. Comments included a start towards a shared, inclusive vision for Nelson, listening, challenges, safety, detail and structures, action, wellbeing and health, balance, making decisions and sticking to them, and addressing public transport.

5.0 Guest speaker - Vicki Buck, Former Mayor of Christchurch

Nelson City Council strategic planning adviser Jacqui Irwin Lawless introduced and welcomed Vicki Buck, a former Mayor of Christchurch city. Vicki's approach to community development is to "just do it" - have a go, and give yourself and others the freedom to take risks, have fun, and make mistakes. Vicki was Mayor of Christchurch for 9 years from 1989 after being elected to the Council in 1974 when she was 19. She has a MA(Hons) from Canterbury in political science with a thesis on local government finance. From 1984 to 1989 she was a member of the Local Government Commission. Since then Vicki has been involved in a range of things from wind turbines to education. She also chairs the NZ Learning Discovery Trust, which set up two new state schools (a primary and secondary) in central Christchurch aimed at children directing their learning around their interests.

Be bold

Vicki invited everyone to be bold and to make a difference. She said not to worry about making it up as we go along, instead, think about what excites and interests. Steal ideas. Vicki referred to the implications of rising fuel prices, and that we need to use ingenuity to respond. She thought Nelson well placed to capitalise on wood resources as an alternative fuel source. She addressed life-long learning and the importance of 'educating for the unknown' to help today's youth respond to future challenges. Her message emphasised the need to get on with initiatives and put decisions into action. Anyone can be a leader. Concentrate on the good things that are happening. History doesn't remember the knockers, just those who made a difference like Kate Shepherd who is now on the ten dollar note while those who vilified her at the time are forgotten. Have the courage to close roads for pedestrians and outdoor movies. Be brave enough to get it wrong occasionally. Focus on children - if a city is good for them, it's good for everyone. She described the Christchurch KidsFest and Kids Market in the Square. Support young entrepreneurs and leaders - students are 'digitals natives' so set up degrees in computer gaming for them. She encouraged the community to set bold goals and then make them happen. Be cheeky, but most of all, get started.

6.0 'Life in 2025' - Youth Council

Three youth councillors showed the workshop what life might be like in Nelson in twenty years time by being themselves in their forties, sitting in a café and talking about everyday life in Nelson. They mentioned a range of issues including travel by electric trams, a fat tax, cars being rare, boatpeople arriving from USA, how clean the air is, the [Paul Matheson] performing arts centre, heaps of festivals, a zero-waste rehabilitation camp for those who litter or pollute, flocks of kaka flying around the town and cultural changes. The youth councillors responded to questions from the audience about the future, which included further questions about resource consents for cars.

7.0 A shared vision for Nelson - major themes

Participants worked in seven groups to express their personal vision for Nelson's future, then combined these into a shared vision, as represented in words and/or pictures. The main themes that emerged from each group were as follows

7.1 Group 1 - report back by Richards Sellars

Theme of a branched tree representing choices. Need to look after what we have, especially the environment. The sun represents a sustainable future. Nelson seen as a 'battery' that recharges people; residents and visitors alike. Water's edge, people-centred market places and neighbourhoods. Transport, including electric cars

7.2 Group 2 - report back by Ed Kiddle

DiverCity - importance of leadership, vision, sustainable economic growth. The sea and land sustains health and well-being. Be open to innovative possibilities. Transport, reflecting greenspace. A vision of post-Treaty settlements with the Maori community fully participating

7.3 Group 3 - report back by John Moore

Great unanimity in the group that the future is about people, inclusion, transport, sustainability, communication, community, growth and accessibility. Need to design the town so we can see each other, not gated communities. The pros and cons of growth need to be debated to increase understanding. Need work for those living here, fun and to make families strong and healthy.

7.4 Group 4 - report back by Phil Barker

Need more interaction and integration. Public transport is an increasing issue with rising fuel prices. The future is about bringing people together, caring, respect, clean air, by the sea, the 'feel of the place'. Nelson seen as the region, the whole environment, so we need to come together as a region not a city in isolation. Need a vision to guide planning and make ideas into reality. Through diversity, move forward towards a bright future.

7.5 Group 5 - report back by Darren Eyles

Need to be proud of a Nelson that is fully inclusive. Everything intertwines; sun, trees, sea. Sustainable housing, areas for parks, play. Safe environments for fun. Adequate incomes for people to live comfortably. Transport suitable for everyone to use, young or old.

7.6 Group 6 - report back by Neil Hodgson

The environment needs to be cared for so Nelson is a great place to work, live and play. Respect everyone, and encourage healthy ways of living. Nelson region has a heart, including smart sustainability, and an optimum size. TDC should have been at this workshop so we can think as one region. The business sector drives the economy and provides employment so needs to be engaged in making the vision into reality. Business also depends on a healthy environment, balanced with a healthy society.

7.7 Group 7 - report back by Arahi Hippolite

Make the central city more walker-friendly, and extend it to include the Maitai river and beyond. More pedestrian areas and walkways, integrate Maori culture and values into our community's values. Innovative transport, vibrant diversity, a single community of interest across the whole region. Heritage is valued. Value-added industries using sustainable energy, with high-value work and pay. Think of next generations and listen to minorities. Be eco-friendly. Protect the green back-drop and build more cycleways everywhere. People are our greatest resource. Be leaders in our choices.

7.8 Healthy Cities workshop

Ed Kiddle of Public Health mentioned a Healthy Cities workshop to be held in Nelson on Monday 26 September. He thought it would cover many of the issues mentioned above. Ian Butterworth from Australia will be a guest speaker on how to create healthy environments. Anyone interested can contact Ed to take part.

8.0 Refining the draft outcomes

The first small group session after lunch looked at refining the draft outcomes that had been circulated to all participants before the workshop. These covered:

  1. care of the natural environment
  2. a sustainable built environment
  3. a safe, welcoming and healthy community
  4. a distinct and creative local culture
  5. a strong economy

Participants worked in the same seven small groups, each starting on a different outcome and working through them to brainstorm and check that the narrative accompanying each of these was complete, and to suggest whether there were any additional areas that needed to be added. They suggested improved wording for the outcomes as drafted. This work was recorded on large sheets, which will go to Council strategic planning staff to incorporate into revised outcome statements that will be circulated separately from these notes.

Groups reported back through a plenary session where someone from each group summarised highlights, what was interesting, unanimous or contentious, and what patterns emerged. Rosie Christenson, John Robinson, Jan Fryer, Peter Rainey, Darren Eyles, Brigit Malone and Sharon McGuire each spoke for their group and responded to questions from the facilitators.

Some of the themes to emerge from the plenary included that some definitions of terms were needed. Nelson was seen as being part of the whole region, not a separate place.

Two key issues that need wider discussion were:

8.1 What is local culture - what is it that makes Nelson unique? and

8.2 The pros, cons and definitions of growth.

One group suggested that 'fun' needed to be included somewhere, another that the economic outcome needs to include support for the business sector, as well as acknowledging what it contributes to the region.

Q: What comments or themes emerged repeatedly?

A: Fun. Education needs specific mention. There is a strong regional vision with shared aspirations particularly with the Tasman area. Nelson shouldn't be seen as separate and isolated.

Q: Did any issues produce polarised or different opinions?

A: That minority groups also need specific recognition and inclusion.

Q: Was there anything that emerged that was uniquely 'Nelson'?

A: local food and wine, the natural environment, people want to come here, the natural and built heritage and people, the human heritage of the wider region, the 'city village' feel and its boutique shops.

Q: Which themes need to be considered as possible separate (additional) outcomes?

Suggestions included:

8.1.1 A place where our youth want to be

8.1.2 Recognition of the Nelson/Tasman area as one community of interest, including for transport, tourism and integrated project

8.1.3 Nelson recognised as a model city for balance, healthy living

8.1.4 A proactive attitude to the management of threats such as pests

8.1.5 Innovation, fun and accessibility to everything

8.1.6 Education, and specific mention of children and families

8.1.7 Leadership, underpinning everything

9.0 Action on community outcomes

Participants chose which group they wished to join, based on the five draft outcomes plus one group looking at possible additional outcomes. These small groups were facilitated by Neil Clifton, Ed Kiddle, Janine Dowding, Martin Rodgers, Colin Gunn and Lynne Williams. Each group worked through the key areas necessary to implement each of the outcomes. Groups were asked to suggest ways organisations and individuals could work together, who should coordinate everyone's efforts, who would take the lead for specific issues, and who needs to be involved to achieve each outcome. The written responses from each group are available separately on request.

The six facilitators reported on the results of their groups' discussions. Themes included:

The vision is the starting point, not the budget. Steal and adapt ideas, and ensure participation. Develop our planning from the vision, and stick to it. Don't make ad hoc decisions. Health Impact Assessment is a useful tool.

We need to develop a sense of direction, based on research, and get the fundamentals right. Ensure there is engagement, and acknowledge the links between the outcomes. We need to see tangible results. The direction includes community ownership of our cultural infrastructure. We need a regional cultural strategy and a cultural think tank to give an overview. There needs to be creativity in everything we do so it is normalised and everyone is comfortable with it. We need to identify our priorities and have project teams working on specific projects.

We need smart businesses, and the Seafood Centre is a good example. Nelson is a region of mostly small businesses, so they need to cooperate as the regional economy depends on them.

The potential new outcomes boiled down to three possibles:

9.1 Working together regionally, eg amalgamation of councils

9.2 Proactive leadership

9.3 Healthy living

The workshop found that processes to implement the outcomes need further development.

10.0 Summing up by Martin Maguire

This is what I observed:

A warm welcome from Barney set the tone for the day. Gail, in her introduction, talked about a 'pivotal inspiration' for the day. Vicki Buck said be bold. Take risks. Think in non-traditional ways. Get it wrong. Do it with passion. Listen to and support innovation. Doing nothing is never an option. Have the ability to dream and the energy to try. Trust your instincts. Just do it!!  During the day we decided that coming together as a group is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success. That's why days like this are so important. Having the right people here is integral to the success of the day.

The Local Government Act and the community outcomes process is changing the way local government relates to the community and changes the game from an attitude of 'are we allowed to do this?' to one of 'should we do this?'  How do you future-proof your community and region? Is the community outcomes process a vehicle for doing this? The changing face of energy and its availability will mean major changes to how society is structured. Nelson is well suited as a community to rediscover the concept of 'village' and the resulting community changes and expectations that will accompany that.

Youth participation in the day was very important [and also very good]. How do we show young people that they have a future in our community? What do we do to encourage them to see themselves as future leaders? How do we mentor young people in leadership roles? How seriously do we take their dreams and aspirations for their future?

Some key words I heard during the day:

  • Acceptance, of self and others
  • Welcoming
  • Resilient
  • Access and inclusion
  • The need for a whole-of-government approach to community outcomes
  • A regional response, not restricted to Nelson City boundaries
  • The need to protect productive land, and long term planning especially around land use for future-proofing
  • The need to be truly multi-cultural and not just simply multi-ethnic
  • Celebrate our differences.
  • Diverse and yet inclusive
  • Look after natural assets
  • Leadership
  • Vision
  • Sustainability

I think our genius is our creativity, and not believing in ourselves is our biggest and most often repeated mistake. When our genius informs and enlivens what we do, we are world class. So, Nelson, be bold and prepare to be world class!!

For detailed notes or further feedback, contact Mark Tregurtha on 546 0364 or Jacqui Irwin Lawless on 546 0227 at the Nelson City Council.