Branching out for community feedback
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
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