Cafe-style Discussion Planned on Wellington's Future

15 January 2009

Wellingtonians are being invited to spend a couple of hours at a public forum at the end of January discussing the challenges the city faces with other people interested in the city and its future.

The forum, on Tuesday 27 January from 6.00pm to 8.00pm, is just one of a number of ways people will be able to express their views in coming weeks on how best to keep rates affordable without compromising the things that make Wellington such a great place to live.

The Council is seeking about 50 people who will sit in small groups around tables, café-style, and discuss "big picture" issues and questions, as well as the pros and cons of a range of ideas and options. Facilitators will be present to help and to ensure everybody gets an opportunity to share their views and listen to what others think. Participants will get an understanding of the diverse range of views Wellingtons have and hopefully come up with some shared thoughts and ideas.

The forum is being held in the meeting room on the mezzanine floor of the Central Library in Victoria Street.  People interested in attending should contact Roger Tweedy on (04) 499 4444 as numbers are limited. A second forum will be organised if there is a large number of people wanting to take part.

Wellington City Council's Director of Citizen Engagement, Wendy Walker, says community views and suggestions are being sought to help develop the city's next Long Term Council Community Plan (2009/19). The long term plan is a vision and action plan rolled into one that will determine what the Council does over the next three years and also provide a blueprint for what the city should be like in 10 years' time.

"We'll be developing a draft plan in March that people will be able to comment on but we do have some tough decisions to make over the next six months so we want Wellingtonians to get involved now, find out more about the challenges the city faces and tell us what they value and where they think savings could be made," she says.

"We need to trim spending to keep rates rises to a minimum but at the same time Wellington must remain a vibrant city with a great quality of life to ensure we're in the best possible position when the recession ends."

The café-style forum is just one way people can choose to get involved. Others include a hotline - specific times when people can phone to talk with Mayor Kerry Prendergast or City Councillors - a residents' panel, surveys, information stands at events where people will be able to find out more and talk with Council staff, and meetings with groups and organisations. The forum is intended for people with a broad interest in the city rather than people representing the views of a single group or organisation, who will get other opportunities to share their views.

The Federation of Wellington Progressive and Residents Associations is also running a number of weekend workshops. For details, visit their website.