Despite a couple of minor disturbances, the flames of democracy continued to flicker at the second meeting of the newly-formed Devonport Borough Council this week.
Under the equanimous eye of David Slack, the DBC (Devonport Borough Council) receive its first report on the lie of the local government land, and learned of the many “plans” currently being hatched by the council.
Mike Cohen brandished some sandwich boards with boxes and arrows in an attempt to explain the three-pronged plan proposal which has landed in the laps of every Auckland resident foolish enough to attempt to take an interest in local politics.
While Mike Cohen was attempting to explicate the endless entrails of the Spatial, Local Board and Unitary Plans, Simon Gundry, who had earlier created an unpleasant scene when he attempted to shout down another attendee, complained that Cohen had turned the occasion into a “political meeting.”
This suggestion was in turn shouted down by a weary majority, and Gundry, realising he may have overstepped the mark, adopted a more repentant tone, later apologising for his behaviour.
Despite the drama, Cohen’s presentation made it clear there was some work to be done to understand the implications of the various plans, all of which present both benefits and hazards for Devonport’s future.
Here again, the green shoots of local democracy could be seen, with several attendees volunteering to digest the plans – heavily laced as they are with corporate speak – and regurgitate the salient points to the next meeting.
Claudia Page reported on an issue that has arisen regarding the Marine Square upgrade; apparently the council had overlooked the fact that their plan included the destruction of a section of the sea wall – currently protected under a preservation order.
By the end of the meeting, The Speculator could see the skeleton of a process emerging; Report In – Digest/Analyse – Report Back – Recommend/ Advocate.
It’s also interesting to note that no one individual has yet come to dominate; Roger Brittenden himself is quite happy to observe the proceedings and to play a minimal role, and David Slack is quick to pass the talking stick.
So despite all the talk, what actions were agreed? (“Measure outputs, not inputs” as The Speculator used to mindlessly parrot in his days at the corporate coalface).
1: Robyn Langwell, Claudia Page and others to digest the three plans and report back to the next meeting on which issues the plans raise that are of relevance to Devonport;
2: The Speculator to publish web links to all the plans and the locations to place feedback;
3: The Speculator to publish the minutes from each future meeting;
4: Claudia Page to establish an email address to receive meeting agenda items.
Not bad for a night’s work.