Letter: Consultation not enough

Last updated 11:24 09/09/2013

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OPINION: The idea of renovating Invercargill is not new.

For many years I have heard local people say our city is in need of a makeover, and I have uttered these sentiments myself. 

However, the process of revitalising the CBD is a major financial undertaking, requiring the fullest process of public consultation. 

I would remind the council that the Local Government Act (2002) Section 82 (1) (e), states: ''That the views presented to the local authority should be received by the local authority with an open mind and should be given by the local authority, in making a decision, due consideration.''

Cr Elder stated there had been ''too much consultation'' and the editor of The Southland Times has used the phrase ''extensive public consultation''.

I invite Cr Elder and the editor to quantify the amount of discussion by stating exactly how many times the general public had been formally consulted - and not just the ''experts'' and some businesspeople. 

I ask this because it seems the petition of more than 1000 Invercargill citizens has been largely ignored, as well as common issues raised in numerous letters to the newspaper. 

I know in Southland that contrary opinions are not well received, and those who give them are often referred to in a negative sense, but there seems to be quite a large body of opinion that this plan is badly flawed. 

This city belongs to all residents and, as such, we are the key stakeholders and are paying for much of the upgrade. 

W BRENT COATS
Invercargill

Invercargill City Council works and services director Cameron McIntosh replies: The Inner City Revitalisation Master Plan has been the next stage of work leading from the Invercargill City Centre Outline Action Plan adopted in December 2011. 

During the Outline Plan work, the consultant (Kobus Mentz) met with 12 significant stakeholder groups including councillors, Invercargill City Council staff, the Inner City Working Group, New Zealand Historical Places Trust, Venture Southland, Vibrant Invercargill, Community Trust of Southland, Invercargill Licensing Trust, Southern Institute of Technology, New Zealand Transport Agency, Chamber of Commerce, Arts and Cultural Groups and also held an open public meeting. 

This current master plan also had a significant element of consultation, with meetings in March this year with over 30 groups of stakeholders again, including local business owners, Southern Institute of Technology students and an open day attended by over 500 residents. 

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The results of the feedback are included in the plan and again reinforce the direction outlined in the Action Plan of 2011.

The works are grouped into precincts and it has always been anticipated that further detailed design and feedback will be required for each of these areas prior to the work being tendered or being built.

We also see that trialling of single lanes in Dee and Tay Sts would (as many have suggested) be necessary to prove that the proposed changes will in fact bring the desired outcomes.

We anticipate there will still be many opportunities for input from the public on each precinct.

- The Southland Times

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