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Councils join forces to choose future

The councils of the Waikato region have joined forces to find out what communities want for the region and how our districts and towns should develop.

Each council will undertake its own consultation process as well as participating in a region-wide process to ask some of the big questions. To streamline the consultation processes the councils have got together and formed Choosing Futures Waikato to co-ordinate consultation and identify a set of regional community outcomes - statements of how the community would like to be.

A water taxi service for Hamilton? A passenger rail service throughout the Waikato? Are people happy with the standard of education and healthcare? Should we be looking at new uses for land?

These questions could be discussed as Hamilton and eight other towns throughout the Waikato region host Choosing Futures Waikato visioning workshops to look at how the Waikato region might develop over the next 10 – 20 years.

Environment Waikato chief executive, Harry Wilson said a regional approach to community outcomes was a sensible move by the councils to reduce duplication, lower overall costs and avoid consultation fatigue.

“We are working closely with central government agencies and community organisations and groups to create a ‘whole of community’ approach to find out what the community wants and to provide the services our communities say are important,” Mr Wilson said.

“By looking at opportunities to work together we can find the most efficient and sustainable ways of providing what our communities want to achieve.”

Hamilton City Council and the district councils in the region also need to identify community outcomes for their own areas in addition to the regional process.

Information gained from the Choosing Futures Waikato process will contribute to the development of local community outcomes.

Hamilton City Council General Manager Strategic, Mike Theelen said community outcomes belonged to the community. Councils, other groups and organisations will look at what they can do to contribute to achieving the community outcomes.

“We have very successful working relationships with many organisations and groups in the Hamilton community, and it is likely that working together becomes even more important as a result of this process,” Mr Theelen said.

Nine workshops will be held around the Waikato region, starting at the Ngatea War Memorial Hall on February 14. Hamilton will host a workshop on February 22 at the Celebrating Age Centre in Victoria Street. All meetings start at 6 pm and run through to around 9.30 pm.
Residents can register to attend the workshops or ask about Choosing Futures by contacting Gavin Thomas, Choosing Futures Waikato Coordinator on 07-838-6672 or by contacting their local council. They can also find out more by visiting the Choosing Futures Waikato web-site at www.choosingfutures.co.nz(external link)

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