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City Council named among the best at engagement


24 October 2014

City Council named among the best at engagement

Two Wellington City Council teams were highly commended when the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) named the best in Australasia at its annual Core Values awards event in Sydney on Wednesday (22 October).

The Council’s City Housing unit received a Highly Commended award in the Infrastructure category for the $400 million Housing Upgrade Programme which is continuing across the city.

The Town Belt Planning team – a joint force from the Parks, Sport and Recreation and Consultation and Engagement teams, was Highly Commended in the Environment category.

“Involving our city in our decisions is part of what makes Wellington the coolest little capital. This is not the first time we’ve been recognised for our excellence by IAP2, and it was especially pleasing to have had two finalists this year in these prestigious awards,” says Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

The Council’s Community Engagement Portfolio Leader, Cr Simon Woolf, says it’s “no surprise” the two teams received the commendations. “I know the staff involved are passionate about involving the community in their projects. For them, consultation is key – and in the end it makes their projects more successful.”

Martin Rodgers, the Council’s manager of Research, Consultation and Planning, says: “Public participation is about engaging with and involving the people affected by our work, in what we do and how we do it. It’s something the City Council is really committed to and it’s already great to be recognised by our international peers for doing it well.”

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Involving tenants in the Housing Upgrade Programme has been a priority from the start of the first project in 2008. Tenants are invited to work with architects in the early design stages on what the priorities for the upgrade should be. Communication is kept open throughout the process so tenants know what has happened to their feedback and ideas. The Community Action Programme works with the tenant community in an ongoing way to achieve their aspirations, and is providing a development programme for tenant volunteers. See more about this in the HUP film series on the Council’s YouTube channel.

Vicki McLaren, Manager of City Housing, says: “Tenant engagement is an important element in the way we deliver our social housing service, so it’s really encouraging to have what we’re doing validated at this level.”

The Town Belt planning project was innovative in its approach. It involved the public right from the start and got diverse groups of the community talking together. It saw elected members working directly on processing the public’s feedback together with officers. In addition the Council used the skills and experience of key stakeholders such as the Friends of the Wellington Town Belt who provided invaluable advice and peer reviewed the draft plans and policies developed.

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