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Motueka 2030: Project goals

Underlying philosophy

This project is more than just an exercise in community-wide consultation and information analysis. It is the first and necessary step in the Motueka community taking a much greater stake in its own future, not just expecting others to do it for us. But without information from a broad range of sources, how can we choose where to go next, and how to get there?

The project team are firmly committed to the notion that if the community wants something enough then they have to do something about it themselves. In an increasingly troubled world, with the challenges that are placed on our local economy and environment, small communities like Motueka must step up and help each other to ensure a stronger future together.

For many years we have relied on our governing bodies - central and district - to provide what we want and need (and sometimes what we don't need) from our taxes and rates. The resulting debt levels cannot continue to grow.

When District Councils cut back, and the first things that suffer are often things which make communities the sorts of places we want to live in - the libraries, parks and reserves, streetscaping, youth and old people's facilities, swimming pools and other amenities which are not considered core infrastructure (like roads, water, sewerage and legal compliance).

But that doesn't mean we can never have these amenities that make places into communities. If Motueka people and community groups are prepared to do something about it themselves, in an informed and strategic manner, we can become partners with council, business and other agencies in such development, not just passive residents expecting council handouts and business initiatives.

The Motueka 2030 project aims to get our residents to be a part of these partnerships, as individuals or in groups, and to use our own identified strengths and opportunities to build a stronger business economy, better social connections and safer environment.

What can be achieved?

Some things are easy for communities to create or change, others are near-impossible. Part of the Motueka 2030 project is to work out what things can be achieved at least partly through community initiative and work, and which are largely or completely out of our hands.

We could spend months (even years) debating issues like a diversion of State Highway 60 around the CBD, or raising/strengthening the river stopbanks, or redesigning the layout of the business district, or moving the town inland. But realistically these are things that our community can only advocate to the district council and local government. Not only are their solutions far too expensive for us to fund ourselves, but they are legally not within our powers. We can only advocate changes and lobby higher authorities.

Therefore the Motueka 2030 consultation will focus mainly on changes and developments that ordinary community members and groups can play a financial and/or organisational role. Projects that could be realised by community groups or through collaborations between groups, businesses and local government.

Our track record shows this can happen - if both (a) there is sufficient collective community will and (b) one or more leaders step up and lead the way. Think of our community rest home and dementia hospital, the walkway around the inlet, the wetland restoration, the Sanctuary Ponds, the Recreation Centre -- all community-led partnership developments.

Project goals

To a large extent, the expected outcomes of the Motueka 2030 consultation project are and will be open-ended, depending heavily on what Motueka people say they want and think. However, the planning team have some general but tangible (or measurable) goals in mind and are working to tailor the consultation activities to fulfil as many of these goals as possible.

The aims can best be viewed as a series of steps starting with the least ambitious (easiest to achieve) goals and building to what would be ideal but nevertheless realistic. If we achieve none of these goals then the project would have to be marked as unsuccessful. But the more items on the list that are partly or completely achieved, the more successful the project will be.

Here is the list of goals, starting with the easiest and leading to the most ambitious. (Beside each, a comment on how closely it was achieved.)

  1. Get the town thinking and talking about its future, and what a "stronger" community actually means.
    (Broadly achieved, across a cross-section of the community.)
  2. Get more than 1000 people taking part and providing some sort of input.
  3. Basically, arrive at the point where no-one can say, "I didn't know about this; I wasn't asked".
    (Partially achieved; it remains a source of amazement that many people never read the papers, look at websites, notice shop window flyers etc. The questionnaire was not easily available to people who do not use websites and rarely pass the museum during the day.)
  4. Create a "want list" of projects or initiatives that the community could tackle, with or without local government help or control.
  5. Provide a reliable, well-informed document for the Motueka Community Board and Tasman District Council to use as community input for their decision-making.
    (Expected to be achieved in July.)
  6. Create a 15-year plan to address achievable items in the "want list".
    (Yet to be seen, but still a goal.)
  7. Foster initiatives that could be taken on by Vision Motueka and other groups, businesses or individuals as a result of results of the programme; and encourage or facilitate them to start.
    (Already signs that this is to be achieved.)
  8. Create a package of cohesive projects and needs that can be used to attract long-term, Council-managed local "development rate" funding.
    (Too early to say.)

In addition, it is hoped that the Economic Summit Sequel by itself will generate further activity within the business community (in particular, further business forums and summits), probably with the support of Our Town Motueka. These may not fall within the immediate project scope of Vision Motueka or the general community, but will be triggered and fostered by the Motueka 2030 activities.

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