Plan submitters show passion

ANNUAL PLANNING: Submitters who make a vocal submission to the annual plan draw praise from councillor Rebecca Amundsen.
ANNUAL PLANNING: Submitters who make a vocal submission to the annual plan draw praise from councillor Rebecca Amundsen.

Whew the week that was!

I spent most of last week saying goodbye to my youngest son in the morning and telling him I would see him the next morning.

And this week when I had to cook tea on Monday it was quite an unfamiliar feeling.

So, among all the Dan Davin Literary Foundation events I mentioned in my last post, these past couple of weeks involved some serious council business.

I got to experience my first hearing about a dog control issue. Going in I was a bit nervous but I had two experienced councillors on the panel which really made a difference.

The interesting part of last week was hearing the submissions on the annual plan. Hats off to the people who supported their written submission with a verbal submission. The advantage of doing this of course is that it provides an opportunity for councillors to ask questions, seek clarity and really see and hear your passion.

Of course, it is quite a daunting task to speak in the council chambers. I remember the first time I did it when I spoke about the community activities in Glengarry. It's is a very formal setting and you are essentially surrounded by people staring at you waiting to hear what you have to say.

Over time I have had to make myself get better at public speaking, but it is way easier said than done. So big ups to all the people who came and spoke. Well done!

As far as the submissions went, a number of things stood out for me.

There are many organisations and groups in the city who are keen to work more closely with the council - whether that is through welfare type things such as providing accommodation for people who are homeless and health providers who want to work with council to share and promote their messages or passionate arts and culture advocates who want to see the city develop and grow.

There are also many people and organisations who are working hard to make a difference in this city. They have innovative ideas, huge drive and some have already been successful in making things happen. Others are looking for various kinds of support and encouragement to help drive their ideas.

Some of the possibilities offered up by the submission day were:

- the possibility of the development of a performing arts centre at the Scottish Hall
- more options for smoke free public spaces in the city
- working together to find a solution to homelessness
- offering a living wage to council staff
- having annual plan discussions in a public forum rather than in a workshop
- asking how we can best provide community co-ordination to all of the city
- developing a disability strategy
- improving how we work together

I came away from the day inspired and a little excited about exploring the possibilities.

And I would also like to quote a few of the people who spoke at the hearings. I hope they don't mind. But I really liked their messages.

Anna Claire Thompson asked: "Who are our community and how can we serve them?"

Trevor Daley quoted Victor Hugo, who said: "There is nothing as strong as an idea whose time has come."

Harry Weedon asked: "If we aim high for sport, why can't we aim high for culture?"

Alison Taylor said: "We need to get the 20-40 year olds to come out and get involved (submit)."

Rodney Tribe said: "You need to involve the community in what you do."

The final part of my week involved attending part of the Life Hack weekend. What an awesome experience and so amazing to be in a room with about 50 young and passionate people. It is very clear that young people have a huge amount to offer our community and are very willing to offer it if given the chance.

As a council we really need to look at how we can tap into this! A community's biggest asset is its people and Invercargill is brimming with people who are willing to go above and beyond for their community.

The Southland Times