INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Direction For Council Set At Planning Forum

Published: Tue 12 Nov 2002 04:13 PM
New Direction For Council Set At Planning Forum
Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says he’s delighted at the results of the recent weekend Leadership Forum for councillors. “They worked together with a tremendous energy, creativity and teamwork over the entire two days. We have forged a strong direction for future planning, and this will be of great benefit to the city and its people.
“I was very heartened to see their unity right across the spectrum in tackling the tough issues we are facing.”
Establishing a goal of making Manukau a “clean, safe and smart” city was one of the key outcomes of the Forum.
“Achieving that goal is the highest priority for this Council,” said Strategic Development Committee Chair Len Brown. “We are determined not only to clean up our city and in particular our town centres, but to develop each one to reflect the character of their local community. At the same time we will be taking a hard line on unacceptable anti-social behaviour. Basic community standards must be respected by everyone, no matter what their circumstances.”
The Council will now take a more integrated approach to the management of town centres.
Sir Barry says, “Town centres should be really attractive places for people to go, with excellent urban design reflecting the local character. They should be the heart of the local communities and I have no doubt they will also become uniquely interesting places for visitors to experience the many lifestyles and cultures of Manukau.”
Councillors see the need for a Manukau Pride campaign to galvanise action around cleaning up graffiti and litter, taking pride in the parks and coastline, celebrating local people and cultures and creating a strong, positive image for the city.
The councillors, along with the City Manager and senior staff, spent the weekend establishing priorities for the city’s long-term plan and considering how best to reallocate resources to make a real impact in those areas for the future. As well as cleaning up the city and focusing on town centres, transport will remain a critical priority with emphasis both on roads and on an integrated public transport network.
There was clear agreement at the Forum that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to the diverse communities of the city. The councillors believe greater recognition is needed that different communities have different priorities and needs.
“We can still be even-handed about allocating resources, while making sure local priorities are addressed”, said Annual Plan Committee Chair John Kerr.
The world of e-government was also explored. The councillors want to see Manukau develop as a smart city, where people have the knowledge and skills to engage in an information-rich society, and the city has a broadband infrastructure to support it. A portal is to be developed as an information gateway to Manukau.
Summing up the weekend, Len Brown reflected the mood of all of the councillors, saying “Thanks to the concerted effort and concentration at the weekend, we are now strongly setting the direction and agenda for Council. I am confident that this Forum has put us in a much better position to balance the sometimes complex technical advice we get from officers, against our own grass-roots instinct and mandate we have from our communities. We are in a very strong position to govern for the future”.

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