Last week we had an excellent session with the CE’s of Christchurch City Council and Waimakariri District Council, Dawn Baxendale and Jim Palmer about the Council’s planning for Greater Christchurch 2050.
It’s a difficult topic planning for a future date. ….said it best when she spoke as a GP in a low income part of the City. Her comment that they find it hard enough to engage their patients in thinking about health matters, which are of vital importance to them personally, as they struggle to survive from day to day. Talking about a plan which is about 30 years ago is outside most people’s interest. Initial thoughts are “will I be alive”. Beyond that it’s, take it as it comes, for most people. It is up to those of us, tragics, who are interested in long term views to think for those who are trapped in just surviving every day. To be the voice, and hope, for the voiceless.
However, Local Government has the responsibility to plan that far out, and over the past few years they have not been very good at it around here. The earthquakes were a great chance to think long term, but that was patchy at the very best.
I really, really, like that the planning is involving the three councils around Christchurch. I really like that Sam Broughton, Mayor of Selwyn, is chair of the Council body for the North of the South Island and that he has challenged the Chair of the bottom of the South Island cluster to join him and start thinking together for this Island.
A vast array of components makes up a 30-year plan. Local Government in places is totally dominated by matters involving roads, sewage and water. Raising their planning eyes to the four well beings in the Local Government Act, social, economic, environmental, and cultural is a challenge. This plan needs to be iterative and continuous and Local Government must engage far and wide to capture the thoughts and dreams of people who can add to the final scenarios.
This drawing in the Economist this week seemed to summarise what is in front of our community as we contemplate Greater Christchurch 2050.