Branch­ing out for com­mu­nity feed­back

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ANDY BAKER

It has been a busy time within Auck­land Coun­cil with a se­ries of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion events across Franklin.

Over the years these have changed in for­mat and lo­ca­tion in an ef­fort to try to find the magic formula to get peo­ple along and also pro­vide those who do at­tend, the op­por­tu­nity to ac­tu­ally take on board what is be­ing put out there and in turn, have a fair crack at dis­cussing it with not only their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives but also coun­cil staff with a high de­gree of ex­per­tise on the key is­sues.

The way we have gone about it has been us­ing two meth­ods, firstly drop-in ses­sions in the evenings where we have de­tail on the plans and ini­tia­tives avail­able as well as staff and where in­di­vid­u­als or small groups can dis­cuss and then views col­lected as feed­back.

The other way has been less for­mal stands at the likes of the Pukekohe and Hunua mar­kets or at lo­cal su­per­mar­kets and events.

In­ter­est­ingly, we got the bet­ter turnouts at the less for­mal ses­sions, so our learn­ings con­tinue.

Whilst it is stan­dard to get the oc­ca­sional per­son op­posed to ev­ery­thing that coun­cil or Govern­ment is do­ing and propos­ing to do dif­fer­ently, the will­ing­ness of peo­ple to ask ques­tions, to chal­lenge and or agree, and take on board the in­for­ma­tion avail­able was re­ally heart­en­ing and has led to some very good feed­back on a va­ri­ety of im­por­tant is­sues.

The over­rid­ing sen­ti­ment I got was a re­al­i­sa­tion that there are some pretty se­ri­ous pro­pos­als to try to deal with a num­ber of is­sues that have been build­ing up over decades but only able to be ad­dressed now for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons.

Whilst wish­ing for in­stant fixes, the re­al­ity is some things are go­ing to take some time to sort out.

I re­peat what I have said many times, we are in the glo­ri­ous po­si­tion of hav­ing to catch up on gen­er­a­tions of in­ad­e­quate or nar­row plan­ning, man­ag­ing the cur­rent day needs and de­sires whilst plan­ning ahead so we don’t cre­ate the same sit­u­a­tion for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

I was urged on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to re­mind peo­ple about the pric­ing struc­ture for our pub­lic trans­port whereby the Pukekohe and Waiuku bus net­work is in the same zone as the Pukekohe train sta­tion.

So if you use a bus to get to the sta­tion to catch a train fur­ther north (as I do when go­ing to the Pa­pakura sta­tion from my home in Drury), there is no ad­di­tion to the fare charged for the train jour­ney.

You could say the bus trip is free!

This only ap­plies to those us­ing hop cards.

On bus trips, I ac­tu­ally did the whole trip to Albany last week by bus and train at peak times in around an hour and a half whilst do­ing some work on the way.

My first time on the north­ern bus way, I see why it is so pop­u­lar and it will only get eas­ier when all the works in and around Brit­o­mart are fin­ished.

- Andy Baker is deputy chair­per­son of the Franklin Lo­cal Board


Let­ters should not ex­ceed 350 words and must have full name, res­i­den­tial ad­dress and phone num­ber. Write to Let­ters to the Editor, Franklin County News, PO Box 14, Pukekohe or email

Andy Baker

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