Report on shaping district

Crystallised objectives in a new progress report, a revamped website and a renewed push to engage Queenstown Lakes district residents underscore the ongoing Shaping Our Future initiative, proponents say.

The eight-page report released last week by the group behind the project declares its statement of intent, who is driving it, what has happened so far, identifies priorities, explains how to get involved and what is happening now.

Shaping Our Future participants developed a draft vision and priorities which are the summation of the opinions and thoughts of 1000 people over 18 months.

The process was designed to use the expertise and knowledge of people who lived in the district, instead of expensive external consultants.

Spokesman David Kennedy said the objectives of the report and the website were to encourage the widest possible engagement of the people who lived in the district about the future of the area.

"The concept of Shaping Our Future is simple. It is a chance for all residents to truly have a say, and hopefully an influence, in what the future of our district could look like," Mr Kennedy said.

"One thousand people have guided us with their thoughts on what they think is important.

"Some of these people have contributed more time and expertise to task forces.

"When you look at the priorities in front of us, the work that's been done to date is just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

The report is designed to be spread by social media although a limited number of copies will be printed. The website is interactive, with browsers asked to register, log in, then make their comments, Mr Kennedy said.

"We encourage people to use the website to share information and put up their hand for task forces or priorities they'd like to be involved in.

"It's an inexpensive way to get people involved although we do understand some aren't as technically engaged as others so we also have a plan to reach out through community organisations over the next year to keep the process moving."

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden, who is chairwoman of the steering group which guides the process, said Shaping Our Future held "great potential".

"If we can build real engagement across all sectors of our community, we can create a way forward that would allow us to really be responsible for our future.

"There is opportunity to effect change right through all levels of governance if we can get together and work towards how we want things to be," Ms van Uden said.

Shaping Our Future is on course to become an incorporated society and holds its first annual meeting early in the New Year.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council agreed to become an established member of the society and last week appointed the mayor as its representative.



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