Nelson City Council’s City Centre Development Lead Alan Gray has already hosted 65 engagement meetings over the past four months with people from all walks of life, to gather ideas for Te Ara o Whakatū (the city Centre Spatial Plan).

But the latest round of engagement came with a twist; bringing together groups with quite different views.

“Most of the people we have talked to share the same view that we need to prepare our city centre for the future. Where people differ tends to be in how we might reach that future,” Alan says. “By joining together groups in this way, people had the opportunity to see things from someone else’s perspective.

“Council will agree a way forward later this year following public consultation, and although we know it’s not possible for the plan to meet everyone’s needs, we do feel that people have been listened to and had their vision for the city considered, and we will continue to listen as we go through the more formal consultation process.”

Most of the groups engaged with so far have comprised of ten people or less, something Alan views as a particular strength of the process.

“In a smaller group, a person who may not usually feel comfortable raising their hand to talk can find it easier to have their say. This has been fundamentally important to our pre-engagement process as we wanted to talk to people representing all the different groups who enjoy time in the city centre.”

Chair of the Urban Development Subcommittee Judene Edgar said it was important for people to feel they have been listened to.

“Every single person in the meetings Alan has carried out so far has had a say. I have attended a number of these meetings, and it is great to see that everyone is listened to and knows that their views and opinions are making a difference.”

Wider public consultation was previously proposed to take place in July/August, however Councillor Edgar said that it was important for the public consultation to take place a little later to enable better alignment with Council’s Parking Strategy and other strategic work.

If you are interested in knowing more about Te Ara o Whakatū, a City Centre Expo will most likely take place in early September, to provide the opportunity to talk to staff and take a closer look at the plan.

To find out more about Te Ara o Whakatu, including some of the early proposals within the plan, read our previous story on the Our Nelson website: search “city centre”

Alternatively, you can see the slides from Alan’s engagement presentations at: