A drive to unite and motivate residents, businesses and community groups in and around Matakana is being made in a bid to give the area greater influence over decisions affecting them as the region expands.
The Matakana Community Group (MCG) wants to bring together “anyone with an interest in Matakana” to brainstorm new projects and coordinate efforts that require interaction with such bodies as Auckland Council or Auckland Transport.
MCG chair Simon Barclay says now is the time to look for new ideas of what people want from their community.
“We’re facing a huge change, with Warkworth exploding, the Link Road coming through, and much more traffic,” he says. “Combined with the developments already planned, future development and tourism will strain our existing infrastructure even more in the next few years. There never has been a more important time for us to all join together so that we can influence the Council and others before these developments dictate our future to us.”
With this aim, MCG wants as many local organisations, businesses, neighbourhood groups and residents to attend a brainstorming evening at the Matakana Hall on Thursday, August 2 at 5.30pm, to identify what needs doing in the region.
Dr Barclay says MCG’s experience in developing community projects and facilities like the Matakana and Tamahunga footbridges, the Omaha cycleway and the school car park have taught the group effective ways how to deal with local government, and one of the least productive methods of achieving anything is to have a fragmented approach.
“We don’t want to take over, and we want to encourage local people to be champions of their own projects. But if they could report back and bring everything under one umbrella, and hopefully get help from people on the MCG who have got good contacts with Rodney Local Board, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, and who know how the game is played, the chances of getting attention are far greater,” he says. “If you don’t know how the game is played, you waste a hell of a lot of time. We all lose influence when several small groups or individuals approach Council separately about the same issue. There is strength in numbers.”
The MCG was originally formed around a decade ago to challenge heavy traffic and look at how the village might develop over time. Membership is open to anyone living or working in the community and everyone is welcome to attend meetings
“We want to get more information out to everyone, be a point of contact for new people, and review and understand problems that are likely to face us. Just come to a meeting and put your name on the database. There are so many people with different sets of skills in this area that we as a group should have enormous power.”