Community & Environment Growing Hamilton

Summary of April Community, Services and Environment Committee meeting

Hamilton's Indian Char Bagh Garden

An exciting draft plan to develop Hamilton Gardens will be formally put out for public consultation following the April meeting of Hamilton City Council’s Community, Services and Environment Committee.

The approval of public consultation materials on the Draft Hamilton Gardens Management Plan was a key item at yesterday’s meeting, with public feedback set to be sought from 8 April over a two-month period. Detailed information on the consultation opportunities will be announced next week.

A revised version of the Council’s Event Sponsorship Policy due was presented to the Committee and was recommended to the Council to adopt. Staff did not identify any need for major changes, bar some minor wording amendments. The policy focusses on events which give the city exposure beyond Hamilton, and the total fund is $392,846 for the 2019/2020 financial year.

Creative Waikato Chief Executive Sarah Nathan presented the State of the Arts Report 2019, noting 78% of people in the region are engaged in the arts – either directly as participants or as audience/supporters. She pointed to Creative Waikato’s strong relationship and reputation with Creative New Zealand, and jump of 126% in arts funding over the five years from 2013 to 2018. The Committee requested a staff report, next month, on the Annual Scorecard on the achievement from the Arts Agenda, a Council strategy.

The Committee also passed a recommendation the Council to adopt the Hamilton City Council Play Strategy, a replacement for the Active Hamilton Strategy retired by the Council in 2016. The new strategy reaffirms the Council’s vital role in providing sport and recreation facilities across the city, through its significant land holdings and aspiration to improve the wellbeing of Hamiltonians. The term “play”, and the strategy itself, cover organised sport and informal/casual recreation – a full range of activity across the community – and will span numerous council operations. The strategy will also inform staff prioritisation of projects and programmes, and assist the Mayor and Councillors in making decisions in the 2021-2031 10-Year Plan. Sport Waikato and Sport New Zealand were directly involved in developing the strategy, and community engagement also occurred.

A report on the Community and Social Development Team’s Ethnic Development Outcomes outlined the work of staff who are directly involved with a range of ethnic community stakeholder organisations. The report also provided an overview of how the Council could attain the Welcoming Communities Standards – a new multi-agency project which aims to ensure connectedness and prosperity for newcomers to cities across the country. Staff recently conducted a survey on how newcomers perceived Hamilton and whether it was a welcoming city for those arriving, and have engaged with ethnic community stakeholders who have signalled a desire to see Hamilton progress towards Welcoming Communities standards.

In an update from the River Plan Taskforce – which combines councillors and staff – the need for an updated 20-year vision for the central city was identified, along with sufficient detail on public projects to inform deliberations during the next 10-Year Plan. The Committee recommended to the Council a River Plan Taskforce proposal for $200,000 operational funding for this work be included in preparation of the 2019/2020 Annual Plan budgets.

The General Manager’s Report from Deputy CE Lance Vervoort outlined funding applications for several projects across the city.  The report also included an update on a Regional Library Service feasibility study, completed by the Waikato District Council in consultation with other councils, as well as an update on the development of the Council’s Biodiversity Strategy.

In her Chair’s Report, Cr Paula Southgate covered a range of topics, including arts and cultural events in the city, and also the tragic events in Christchurch last month and the need to take care of our ethnic and disabled communities.

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