Proposals swamp residents

By Lawrence Gullery

Havelock North residents face information overload as people are being asked to provide feedback in just a few weeks, on four major proposals shaping the future of the suburb.

Hastings District Council is asking for community views on a reserve management plan for the Havelock North Domain, a new policy on managing alcohol, another plan outlining what should be protected or developed in the village and the district plan which outlines rules controlling what can be built and where.

The first of two public meetings was held at the Havelock North Community Centre on Thursday and another is scheduled for tomorrow, also at the centre, for specifically the district plan, the domain reserve plan and the Havelock Community Plan.

A phone survey in Havelock North is also being conducted in the next few weeks to help generate feedback.

Havelock North councillor Wayne Bradshaw was critical of his own council's efforts to generate community feedback in a short time.

"In the past week I have had many ratepayers contact me, who were confused over the letter they received from the council about the draft district plan.

Now add to this, four other significant, once in a generation, matters for their consideration all at once, is just unrealistic.

"All these matters need to be explained, discussed and consulted with our community but it must be done in a timely manner with sufficient time for each matter."

Cr Bradshaw said the Hastings community was also asked to provide feedback on similar plans and it appeared the council wanted the responses before May 31, to finalise the plans before the council elections in October.

"The time frame for this must be driven by the time it takes to consult properly, not by the council's need to finish the process."

The council said rather than hold separate meetings to cover each plan or project, it wanted to speak with residents through an open day format at various venues around the district. Chief executive Ross McLeod said it was not the council's intention to explain all of the consultation issues sequentially at one meeting. "It has become obvious in recent times community hall meetings aren't well attended and the conversation can be dominated by a few people.

"Our recent experience tells us our residents generally respond well to multi-topic consultation where they are able to get across their views on many issues."

Mr McLeod said the format allowed people to "drop in" when it suited them and explore the topics they want to in as much time as they want or need.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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