Councillor's Comment: Importance of proper engagement in decision making10/03/2021 11:40am
Every hour of our waking day, you and I make many large and small decisions for the benefit of ourselves and the wellbeing of those around us, writes Councillor Tim Skinner.
Yet for other things in life we can worry about the best option for days, even after seeking direction and advice from others.
Sometimes these decisions in our everyday lives are driven by emotion, or a knee jerk reaction.
They may even be skewed by the pressure of what others may think, or blinkered by a “I know what’s best for everyone” attitude.
As elected councillors, we make many decisions every day, large and small, and some outwardly may seem very straight forward, yet are actually quite complex, with no perfectly right answer, the more you understand the issue.
Before I came to the council, I had a large sense of social justice, community wellbeing and good old fashioned fair play.
As I got older (beyond my twenties), I developed a better appreciation and desire to balance my views by seeking the experience and wisdom of others first, especially from those who have survived on this planet a lot longer than I.
I have now been a councillor for seven years, and can tell you that this outlook on what I do and stand for and how I go about forming a view hasn’t changed, in fact my resolve has strengthened.
Thus, the importance of good governance, democratic process and community engagement is paramount. Even if it seems to delay a desired expediency of a project or decision.
In fact, if one skips any one of those decision elements, you haven’t just made the process take a lot more time and resource in the long run.
You most likely will create resentment, distrust, and ongoing battle with your fellow community, even if the outcome of the final decision would have been the same.
One must not forget, we are not elected on to the council to represent one sector of community or one platform of influence we feel we may have.
Our role is to represent our entire community to the best of our ability, regardless of our own inherent views or outlook.
It is also paramount to ensure we listen and respect the rest of the views of the council table, views that have also emanated from our community, from living and engaging in the same greater overall community of Nelson.
This also applies to the many decisions that are, or should be coming to the council table agenda for democratic process.
I invite you to please keep engaged with councillors and informed on the topics coming up, and to take part in consultation processes such as the Long Term Plan, regardless of whether you think you are the view of one or many to be positively or negatively impacted by a proposed decision or project.