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People are in charge, not Council

13 Feb 2017 12:01 pm

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‘The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. To change it, we have to change our thinking.’ Albert Einstein

I am finding that people genuinely take strength from the presence of Local Board members representing them, even if we can’t immediately fix their problems. Representing the community is about involving people and working thoughtfully and constructively to build effective relationships that influence and enable change. The Matakana Bridge was purely the result of relationship building. All projects are team events and community is the biggest player.

We need to change our thinking on so many levels as Rodney grows and transforms. The Board initiative to stop printing copious board notes and consider the environment by digitising is working well. We will soon be able to Skype into some meetings to save mileage costs to create efficiencies. I feel privileged and inspired to meet our people in community halls, at events, on the cycle trails and in board rooms, and it is important that people feel empowered to lead Council. We used to need money, resources and power; now we need the power of ideas. We also need to be optimists rather than cynics and communities with the ideas will be the ones who win!

So how do you get your ideas and projects into the Local Board plans, because if it’s not there it is unlikely to happen? Please act now and share your dreams at shapeauckland.co.nz. I also ‘get it’ that some people don’t care about plans, strategies and frameworks, but want to simply enjoy their lives. Transport is the most sensitive topic affecting all and cycling is making big, positive waves. School children and youth need cost-effective transport, and we need walk-able and bike-able communities where health is a benefit and gridlock goes away.

Board members will advocate for the people and make decisions, and the staff deliver the goods, often at a slower rate than what people expect. That’s because councils tend to be process-orientated rather than outcomes-focused, but Rodney is taking a different approach. The world is changing everywhere and although we could be sticklers for rules and regulations, we aim to help people solve problems fast.

I have applied to become the Board’s lead for cycleways, trails and paths throughout Rodney, and with the role as deputy chair of parks and recreation I want to be experimental, frank and fearless. Just as Board members expect transparency with staff, so do communities in working together with the Board as they are the key contributors to local projects.

There is no bottomless bucket of cash, so we have to think differently to make things happen. For example, the expressions of interest process for the Warkworth pool is underway. We must be open to all possibilities including a joint venture or partnership of some kind. Likewise, just because we will soon have a Greenways plan for Warkworth doesn’t mean that Council alone can or will fund it. However, by partnering and sharing ideas, resources and energy we will attract the right teams to help us achieve our collective dreams.

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