Queenstown Lakes District Council Mayor Jim Boult convened a small and diverse group from across the district this week to begin work on building a vision for the future of the district “which went beyond council long term plans”.
The bigger questions the mayor said was, “what are our hopes and aspirations for our district in the long term and what can we do today to influence 2050?”
The work to find answers began with a meeting on Monday and included hearing some diverse voices on their aspirations for 2050. They heard the views of iwi, an older resident, a student, a nurse, a working parent and several ethnic minority voices. The next phase will including building on that conversation and including the tangata whenua.
Bridget Legnavsky, John McDonald, Ann Salmond, Sam Chapman, Dr Leslie van Gelder, Michael Sly, Mandy Bell and Martin Hawes joined Mayor Boult in the initial discussion, which was facilitated by Tony Balfour.
A council spokesperson said between the group was passion and expertise in multiple and diverse areas including social issues, business diversity, tourism, sustainability, rural issues, landscape, education, affordable housing and academic thinking.
“Our next step will be to bring together a broad and highly representative forum of people from across the district and beyond to work through those questions with a goal to ultimately engage the whole community on a set of potential objectives for our future,” Mayor Boult said.
“I envisage that this work will cover many issues, including where and how we live, how we move around the district, what will be the economic drivers and, importantly whether there is a finite number of visitors we can host in the district without detracting from the amenity and environmental values we all treasure.”
The work would draw on a number of initiatives and thought pieces that had already been enabled in the community through various forums, including Shaping Our Future.
Mayor Boult said he hoped that “this critical work can transcend individuals, agendas, and politics and affiliations and take us all back to the core values of why we are passionate about this great place.”
He highlighted the need to throw the net widely and bring in further diverse voices and wider expertise including community, arts and culture, heritage, mana whenua and youth, as the conversation continues.
Council had identified a guiding thread through the 2018-2028 Ten-Year Plan Process which speaks to vibrant communities, enduring landscapes and bold leadership, which the mayor said sets a strong foundation from which to build a longer-term community vision.
“I think our communities are more than ready for this work. I think our environment demands it,” Mayor Boult said.
Sustained growth in the district meant the work was pertinent to residents and visitors.
“I want the legacy of today’s community to enable the community of 2050 and beyond to continue to hold a passion and love for this incredible environment, this incredible place,” he said.
He believed that the success of such an ambitious project was reliant on a partnership approach that the community, the council, the mana whenua, the tourism sector, the business community, central government, and stakeholders, could respect and adhere to.
The wider district engagement is yet to be defined, but council will be encouraging the district’s communities to contribute and participate.
“Ultimately this work will influence and shape all things we do as a council beyond the scope of any of our existing long-term planning and thinking and I have no doubt it will challenge us.
“This work is also well timed in relation to the long-term spatial planning that council has underway. My hope is that it will remain relevant and enduring for decades to come,” Mayor Boult said.
“That is ‘my’ vision.”
Pictured: Wanaka. Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun
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