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Christchurch City Scene
June 2002

Lead Stories

Healthy heart, healthy future

Lichfield/Tuam swap project

Mayoral Forum format the way forward

Healthy Christchurch initiative under way

Time to be taken to decide next step for wastewater


Mayoral Forum format the way forward

The Mayor planting trees in the Square. Greener streets are an element of the Central City Strategy.

One of the key reasons we have the private sector dipping into their pockets to fund inner-city revival is because they have been able to actively help shape the decisions and visions for the inner city.

When I got the opportunity to act on my belief that the heart of Christchurch needed revival I knew that the first key ingredient required was humility.

The way through huge, complex sets of problems like inner-city decline requires all the key players to admit that on their own they probably do not have all the answers.

The situation with inner Christchurch when we started was one where about the only common ground to be found was an agreement that something positive needed to be done.

It had become what the experts in local government around the world call one of the “wicked issues”.

These are issues like inner-city decline, unemployment, waste disposal and waste water that are “wicked” from a management point of view because they do not lend themselves to simple, easy answers.

They are are issues that require listening, true consultation, and strong leadership to make the call about when to start to act.

Solving collective problems requires us all to listen and act collectively.

The system we developed to get our inner-city recovery plans developed and started led eventually to the Central City Mayoral Forum.

This system and process is one that I believe we can in time apply to other Forum fo areas of city life that are in need of change or improvement.

But at the start in 1998 about all we had was the will to try and develop some serious solutions to a worsening problem.

At first I brought together a core group of 23 stakeholders to talk through what were the central-city issues, problems and possible solutions.

This group represented residents, developers, investors, businesses, visitor and tourist operators, retail, entertainment, education, cultural and sports and recreation groups.

It was a cross-sector group of a nature that basically had never before been collectively pointed at a Christchurch problem.

The results as we now know are impressive, evolving and moving past our initial expectations.

We found that the sum total productivity and vision of this group was much, much more than we had dared to hope for.

We also went into major public consultation in 2000 to get the public’s views on the main issues affecting the central city, and to get their creative ideas incorporated into the emerging plans.

In September 2000 we carried out a survey in this publication that got over 500 responses.

In November we put out the resulting discussion paper “Focus on the Heart” and 900 responses were gained.

From October to December 2000, more than 30 public meetings were held with different residents’ associations, rmat the organisations, business groups and the public.

The response showed that there was widespread support for the idea of an activist attempt to turn the inner city around and also broad general understanding that this move was required for the fiscal and social health of the whole city.

From there we have built our Central City Strategy which is now under way under the eye of all of us.

The Central City Mayoral Forum is still keeping its eyes and ears open to the impacts of its changes on the inner city and monitoring where we head next.

It has proved a great system for solving

problems that affect the common good.

It is a model that as the great progress in the inner city becomes more apparent every week I think we may well adapt to other major projects.

The inner city of Christchurch is being renewed because our people were prepared to throw their support and ideas at first behind the idea and then the projects.

It is proving a great collective success story that I believe shows what we can do when we are prepared to put our differences to one side to work for a common-good goal.

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