This page contains information about Council working with communities to achieve their own goals.
10/10/2018 12:00 a.m.
Council now has two community advisors, one for the north of the District, one for the south and is about to appoint a third advisor to serve the west of the District.
Community advisors are the conduit between community groups and Council, charged with finding ways for communities to achieve goals they have set for themselves.
“Our role is to find the energy, capacity building, act as navigators and to provide a link back to Council’s other departments such as roading and parks,” said Northern Area Community Advisor Claire Wilson.
“A crucial part of our role is relationship building within the community and the community, with Council and other relevant agencies.
“We support community initiatives within other communities in our “patch” and focus on placemaking projects, where modest goals and aspirations for a community are developed and driven by communities,” she said.
“Placemaking work is about community identity, developing neighbourly relationships and enhancing community assets. This is often in the form of beautification, park or reserve development and playgrounds, heritage trails, small-scale community hubs or community kitchens for communal meals. Funding can come from a range of funding organisations, sponsorship, donations, or volunteer time.
“This is long-term work. Usually we invest about three to four years into a community before easing away and leaving groups that have got up and running to get on with their initiatives, before we turn to a new community, identified to be next through the long-term planning process.
"Over that time, some projects may transition to business as usual with other departments. For example, Parks are now working closely with Otangarei to further realise their plans for the local reserves, parks and walkways owned by Council.
“Our Growth Strategy 30/50 listed 23 communities to work with over time. The Parua Bay community was one of the first. Recently, we have been involved with the Otangarei community, and we are currently working with Kamo, Tikipunga and Maungatapere.
PAAG, DAG and YAG
“Communities are not only identifiable by the location, but also by their special characteristics,“ says Southern area Community Development Advisor Jacki Cooper.
“We work with three advisory groups (Youth, Disability and Positive Ageing Advisory groups) to help improve decision making that affects a wide range of people.
The Youth Advisory Group (YAG) provides a youth perspective on Council projects. A great testing ground for community engagement and consultation, YAG members are always keen to support Council led community engagement. They survey Town Basin and Hatea Loop users every year for the Jewel of the City report, provide feedback on our Long Term Plan and a wide range of matters that come before Council.
The Disability Advisory Group (DAG) and Positive Ageing Advisory Group (PAAG) provide feedback from the perspective of older adults and disability community members. This can include comment on accessibility issues, attitudes towards and how to engage and consult with these communities. They are available for walk abouts, site visits and general advice.
“We work with our advisory groups to ensure constructive feedback and advice on Council projects and issues that impact on their respective communities are fed into the organisation. We also help staff to engage with each advisory group, taking into account the different style and emphasis for each group.
“Our aim is to involve the groups as early as possible in projects to ensure a broad outlook and good representation from the start.”