The Dunedin City Council is to increase the number of public
forums it holds in a bid to improve community engagement with
In a report to the inaugural meeting of the 2013-16
triennium, held yesterday, Mayor Dave Cull said there had
been much discussion among local councillors and in general
about how best to promote community engagement between
citizens and their councils.
While many ways of doing that existed - including the
people's panel, which the council set up last year, and which
has about 680 people registered who respond to regular
surveys from the council - public forums were a place where
people could come along and address their elected
representatives directly on any topic.
Last term, public forums were held once per committee round -
about every six weeks - before the community development
Between September 2012 and July this year, 35 individuals and
groups gave presentations at eight public forums.
Mr Cull said he intended to increase the number of public
forums to have at least one in each week there was a
committee round as well as one before each council meeting.
''This means there will be two, if not three, public forums
in each meeting round. I further intend to hold additional
public forums in the community - say once every three months
- most likely in the early evening, to ensure anyone who may
want to address their elected representatives has the
The changes were noted by the council at yesterday's meeting.
One councillor, Cr Jinty MacTavish, has also started cafe
drop-in sessions, where anyone who wants to speak to her can
book in a time at a cafe.