The Speculator – in its unfathomable desire to ignite the interest of its readers in community affairs – dutifully trotted along to the Auckland Council-run workshop at The Navy Museum this week.
The objective of the session was to facilitate an informal discussion with community members regarding the key tenets of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Plan, which is in the process of being finalised.
“Wha..?” I hear you mumble. “Local plan?”
Alright, I have to admit, I also yawned as I was typing those two words.
Look, there are a bunch of plans that the new council is building, but for the moment, focus on this one – for three good reasons;
1: It will affect Devonport’s environment and the facilities that are available to you and your family as residents;
2: If you have any thoughts or feedback, NOW is the time to act, because submissions are open;
3: Community affairs are entering a period of certain change, and this will affect Devonport.
The plan has five priority areas;
– Town and village centres;
– Environment and Heritage
– The local economy
– Ensuring The Speculator’s success at any cost, or as they put it, community facilities and services.
I know your eyes are glazing and your mind is wandering to that glass of Chardonnay at your elbow. But hold off for a moment.
The Speculator has sifted through this guff and identified that the following Devonport-related issues are up for discussion and negotiation;
– The future design of the Devonport and Victoria wharves (the Victoria Wharf is the one behind where the ferries dock, normally festooned with fisherman and the tug the William Daldy);
– The restoration of Fort Takapuna and the construction therein of a museum dedicated to the Battle of Passchendaele (to coincide with the centennial of WW1);
– A coastal pathway from Devonport to Takapuna;
– A coordinated tourism strategy for Devonport;
– A transport strategy, with specific reference to Lake Rd improvements, bus services, improvements to the Stanley Bay wharf and a possible rail and road tunnel between Takapuna and the CBD;
– Further implementation of the Devonport Master Plan (Clarence St and Victoria Rd upgrades);
– An upgrade of the Devonport Library.
If you are now staring at your screen blankly, stop. Close your eyes and have a stretch. Enjoy the blanket of black that is cozying up to that blankness. Your work is done, you are free to go and the bottle of Chardonnay wants to be your friend. But perhaps you wouldn’t mind just clicking on an ad first. Thanks.
If any of these issues ignited even a slight flicker of electrical impulses among your frontal lobes – good work! The bottle is still sizing you up, but that glass at your elbow wants a kiss on the rim.
Now, you’re going to want some more information on these issues aren’t you? Something to fertilise those primitive impulses that have ignited your cerebral cortex? Well, here The Speculator can provide you with two options.
1: You can click here and obtain more information online and also access submission forms etc etc. Irritatingly, submissions have to be in by 8 August, 16:00, so time is running out.
2: In an extraordinary act of generosity, The Speculator will offer the following; if you are interested in a discussion on any of these issues, email us at email@example.com and we will arrange a time with local board Chair Chris Darby or another Devonport councillor for you to participate in a discussion with others who are interested. This could be done face to face locally, or on a conference call. So let us know if you’re interested, and in what issues.
You could be feeling a flush of excitement at this point. Well let’s encourage that; refer to the glass once again.
At this point it’s natural for you to remember to be cynical. “Wossa point of all ‘vis; nuffink will change” your hurting inner child may be saying to you. It’s certainly possible, but it’s certainly certain that nothing will change if you surrender to that inner brat. So give her/him a slap, and reward yourself with another sip.
Once again, The Speculator is keen to assist. We’ve been taking quite an interest in all this council pahlava , and we intend to keep a close eye on the process that follows this submission and feedback phase.
But to be honest, The Speculator would be very surprised if nothing changed, because Devonport is in the unusual situation of having a set of reasonably competent local representatives. Our Chair, the boy Darby, is proving to be effective (and yes, we know about the Masonic thing, another article is coming on that shortly that will clear up some of the misunderstandings), while also being both challenged and supported by other members of the Board. It’s coming close to something resembling democracy. Ergo, as mentioned we are actually entering a period of certain change, so no point bleating later if you don’t participate now.
So how was the session that I mentioned I attended at the beginning of this article?
It was attended by around 60 local residents, all the board members and a gaggle of council officials. It was broken into five discussion sessions (one for each of the broad priorities listed above) each one being facilitated by a council official. There were balloons, soup and dessert. An awful lot was discussed, many points made and a lot of notes taken. A small pig , claiming to be related to the bacon in the soup, ran riot among the tables, was tranquilised, destroyed and eaten.
It was pleasing to see the Council and the Board making an effort. But the proof of the pudding – like the pig – will be in the eating. The Speculator, with the help of his trusted assistant The Sporkulator, will be omnipresent at all such “swine” tastings to ensure there are no pig’s ears, pork barrels or stitching of silk purses. Stay tuned.