A Focus on Community Wellbeing
In the next Council term, I want to see a greater focus on Community Wellbeing – what makes Nelson a great place to live.
Some areas are going well. Through entities such as The Suter, Tasman Bays Heritage Trust, Council representation on the Nelson School of Music Board, the Arts Festival Transition Committee, Arts Council Nelson and others, we have established sound governance and engagement.
Partnership And Strategy For Sports And Recreation
In the area of Sports and Recreation stronger engagement is needed. Too often in this area we have been reactive rather than being proactive, and sometimes we are not sufficiently engaged and resourced. We have not made the progress I would have liked and I want to see greater governance input and a stronger organisational focus in these areas.
This is not an either / or discussion of arts and culture pitched against sports and recreation. It is recognition that each plays an important part in making Nelson a great place to live and to visit. It is also recognition that before we can achieve the goal of partnership that is set out in both our Long Term Plan and Nelson 2060, we as local government leaders need to have sound and informed relationships within Council and with others in the community.
Data and research undertaken by Lincoln University, Sport New Zealand and the Rata Foundation, tells us that sports and recreation is changing fast and there are some alarming trends. Obesity, diabetes, and depression rates are rising. The rate of adult participation in sport is falling and so are the hours spent in sports volunteering. But then there are some extraordinary successes – like the growth and development of mountain biking in our region, this is a success that we need to better understand and support.
The benefits of sport and recreation are well-recognised and contribute to considerable social, environmental, health and wellbeing outcomes for individuals and communities.
Overall, our city’s Long Term Plan needs to understand and reflect the changes that are occurring in sport if we are to achieve the wellbeing outcomes that our residents and visitors deserve.
As a key funder and provider of facilities and open space, Council must take a strategic and informed approach to sports and recreation.
Council needs to have a finger on the pulse in order to know how our sports and recreation organisations are functioning now; where they are going in the next 1 – 3 years and 5 – 10 years, and how Council can help get them there. In the next term of council strategic thinking and partnership building with the Sports and Recreation sector will be a high priority.
Youth Issues and Facilities
At present our approach to Youth issues is too fragmented to ensure we’re doing our best to contribute to the needs of young people – whether that is around events, facilities, community support, or policy development.
In this year’s Annual Plan, I included a new section on Youth Services that signals the need for a collaborative process with youth and with those that provide youth services. Over the next three years I will be driving real progress in this area to ensure we take a strategic and effective approach that recognises that our next generations are our collective future and the needs of this generation are different from the past.
The Nelson Youth Council has been successfully investigating career education and opportunities for education and employment in our regional economy. I want to support that work more fully and link it into the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs Programme, which I participate in along with the Mayor of Tasman and the Mayor of Marlborough.
Age Friendly City
With more than 25% of our population expected to be aged 65 years and over by 2025, and many expected to remain in the workforce well beyond traditional retirement age, it’s time to decide if we want to be an Age Friendly City – why wouldn’t we?
Currently council staff are at work on a position paper, that will inform the new Council on key issues for the city and, which will also suggest priorities and necessary actions required to further engage with and support our growing older population.
I am genuinely looking forward to starting that work with the community. I believe we can be the role model for New Zealand.
Our Long Term Plan and Nelson 2060 are based on the principle of partnership between Council and the community. Here I’m interested in exploring all opportunities for council to support community organisations in a way that moves these groups from being viewed as ‘fund-takers’ to ‘fund-makers’. This occurs when community organisations are able to independently deliver services that council requires and are then able to use the funds generated to sustain other services that benefit the community. That’s got to be the ultimate win-win. In line with this thinking I have already started discussions with Akina Foundation (akina.org.nz) and the YMCA to explore what might be possible for Nelson in this area. I’ve asked council staff to prepare a position paper on Social Enterprise to inform the incoming council.