Pos­i­tive change takes pa­tience

The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS - CR BRENT BAR­RETT, EN­VI­RON­MENT AND SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY, TRANS­PORT, ED­U­CA­TION, EM­PLOY­MENT PORT­FO­LIOS

In to­day’s con­nected and fast paced world we of­ten ex­pect in­stant re­sults. But gen­uine and last­ing change takes time, pa­tience and col­lec­tive will.

My col­leagues and I at the Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil are com­mit­ted to bring­ing about pos­i­tive long-term change for the city.

This is re­flected in our pro­posed new vi­sion: small city ben­e­fits, big city am­bi­tion.

Reach­ing our potential won’t hap­pen overnight. But it will hap­pen over time if we en­gage with the is­sues, sup­port our com­mu­nity lead­ers, work col­lab­o­ra­tively, and recog­nise the cu­mu­la­tive im­pact of small wins.

Let’s take the ex­am­ple of the Manawatu River. To re­alise our vi­sion we must play our part in im­prov­ing the water qual­ity by cre­at­ing the best waste­water so­lu­tion for our city. The re­al­ity is there’s no fast way to do this.

Our cur­rent waste­water con­sent re­quires us to ap­ply for a new con­sent by June 2022. Coun­cil re­cently adopted a state­ment of in­tent that aims to have a de­ci­sion on the best op­tion for the city no later than De­cem­ber 2020.

This gives us time to in­ves­ti­gate the op­tions and con­sult with com­mu­nity and iwi.

The next step is to iden­tify a range of op­tions for the fu­ture scheme which will in­clude river based dis­posal, land based dis­posal, or a mix­ture of both. A project group has been es­tab­lished to guide the development of these op­tions and lead our com­mu­nity en­gage­ment. And that’s where you come in.

Like all our big projects, we want to work with you to find the best so­lu­tion. We need you to be ac­tive cit­i­zens who think not just about your­selves, but about fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. We need you to sup­port the lead­ers within your own com­mu­ni­ties who can be your col­lec­tive voice.

Per­haps most im­por­tantly, we need you to take part in smaller scale ac­tions to­day that will make a dif­fer­ence in the fu­ture- like us­ing planet-friendly clean­ing prod­ucts, wash­ing your car on your lawn, and not tip­ping paint and other chem­i­cals into our drains.

Im­prov­ing our river is a big job, but it’s a job we can do. There are count­less in­spir­ing suc­cess sto­ries from the small­est streams to London’s mighty Thames. All around the world com­mu­nity voices are turn­ing into com­mu­nity ac­tion and po­lit­i­cal will, and together we can join the ranks of cities that en­joy suc­cess­fully re­stored rivers.

What is true for help­ing our river is true in so many ar­eas of our com­mu­nity. What­ever the op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges we pur­sue it takes real ef­fort to bring about last­ing change. I urge you to get in­volved with what’s go­ing on in our city, and to play your part in mak­ing our vi­sion a re­al­ity. Change takes time, but together we can achieve a lot.

HAVE YOUR SAY

The Tri­bune wel­comes let­ters. They should not ex­ceed 250 words and must carry a gen­uine name, home ad­dress and day­time phone num­ber. Let­ters may be edited, abridged or omit­ted with­out ex­pla­na­tion. They can be emailed to tri­bune@msl.co.nz or posted to PO Box 3, Palmer­ston North to be re­ceived by 4pm on the Thurs­day prior to pub­li­ca­tion.

Op­er­a­tions man­ager Mike Mon­aghan at Palmer­ston North’s Awa­puni Waste Water Treat­ment Plant.

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