Community plans bringing people together, improving lives
Helping the district’s diverse communities develop their strengths is an important focus for the Hastings District Council, and there’s been steady progress on a number of initiatives this year through its community plan approach.
There are currently 10 community plans in place in the Hastings district, including two new plans endorsed by the council last month – Anderson Park and Flaxmere West.
Community plans are created by the communities themselves, with council’s assistance, and identify the unique needs and aspirations of the neighbourhoods.
Over the last year a number of community aspirations have been achieved, with work continuing to identify and deliver on proposals to enhance residents’ lives in the Hastings district.
Some examples in the past year include: improvements to Bill Mathewson Park changing rooms and a new toilet block, unveiling of the first sculpture along the Cape Coast Arts and Heritage Trail, support for Clive’s “Stars in their Eyes”, a breakfast club for kids and Koro Tinana programme at the Camberley Community Centre and the establishment of “Flaxmere Connects” – a community newsletter to keep residents informed about local news stories and identities.
Bill Mathewson Park was highlighted as a central focal point for the community in 2014 when discussions began to establish the Mayfair Community Plan, said Mayfair Community Group member Nick Richards.
The catalyst for the plan was a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) report on the park that identified ways to improve safety and make the park more attractive and user-friendly.
Mr Richards said that since that time the upgrades to the changing shed and the installation of the new toilet block and drinking fountains had been a success and were received positively.
“Removing the fence has also made a big difference, and made it feel more like a park that people want to spend time in.”
The next immediate priority was installing speed calming measures and more carparks, for which the group was allocated money through the Long Term Plan process, he said, and the aim was to have this completed before the next rugby season.
A positive addition to the community plan process was the council’s recent introduction of community leaders’ workshops, Mr Richards said.
“I have been fortunate enough to attend these and have found them invaluable – to be able to connect with other communities who are at different stages of their community plans and bounce ideas around has been neat.”
Hastings district councillor Eileen Lawson said the community-led process has meant the plans reflect each area’s needs, issues and hopes.
“As well as making their goals a reality the planning process brings people together to network and develop meaningful relationships across the community, which is great to see
“People working together gets them more involved in their communities, unites them and helps them collectively come up with ideas for the future to make their areas safe and vibrant and places to be proud of.
“It’s very uplifting and empowering to have the opportunity to take ownership of your community.”