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Two weeks on the road talking with the people of the Western Bay has been a great experience learning about what Council can do to make the District an even better place, says Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council councillors and staff took a brightly painted 1960s Bedford school bus around 17 destinations in the District during the last two weeks of July.
Twenty-three staff, 12 councillors and 10 community board members hit the road – travelling nearly 1,000 kilometres and chatting with more than 1,500 people.
The aim of the 'Portraits of Our Place' road show was to get grassroots feedback from residents on their communities and where they feel Council fits in with their day-to-day lives.
Ross said this was a new venture and it had been successful in reaching out to people who normally would not encounter Council.
"The overwhelming response from people was positive and 533 people filled out our questionnaires," said Ross.
"I was thrilled to get out and have face-to-face conversations with people. It was a good way to get people to sit down and talk to us in a relaxed environment –personally it was a learning experience for me about what issues are really important to people.
"What we have learned will feed into what Council will do for the District over the coming years. We also found out that people would like to be more involved in the decisions Council makes,'' said Ross.
Six themes underpinned the road trip – 'Community Heart'; 'Land Lovers'; 'Just Coasting'; 'Nature Nurture'; 'Kia kaha' and 'Bountiful Bay' – values that are the essential character of the Western Bay.
"While Western Bay residents are a forward-looking bunch and keen to embrace economic opportunities, our rural way of life and traditions remain dear to our hearts – and those sentiments certainly came out in conversations on the road trip,'' said Ross.
Three thousand 'Portraits of our Place' stickers were given away to kids during the trip and hundreds of 'Portraits of our Place' post cards were given away.
Council will continue selling postcard sets and a series of limited edition A2 prints featuring the six original illustrations depicting the roadie themes. These are available at Council libraries and service centres and serve to recover part of the project's costs.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council
'Portraits of our Place' community roadshow
Monday 14 – Sunday 27 July 2014
Facts and Stats
Consultation has concluded