Parks, pooches and the new suburb Peacocke.
Those were all features of the myriad of stands at Hamilton City Council’s fourth Your Neighbourhood event, held at Claudelands on 11 September.
The Your Neighbourhood events are a new community engagement initiative from the Council, aimed at taking the organisation’s business and projects to the community. The Claudelands event included two features focussed on elections – a Candidates Café and a Mayoral Debate, hosted by TV journalist Mike McRoberts.
Landscapes Team Leader Zeke Fiske said attendees visiting the Parks and Recreation stand were interested in the city’s playground renewals programme, and how developers would contribute to parks in new suburbs.
Mr Fiske said visitors had also been asking about climate change and had queries about how the Council approached pest plant control.
Fiona Sutton, the Council’s Shared Services Manager, was part of a team of staff running the Smart Water stand – where visitors could take away a pocket-sized hour-glass shower timer.
“The shower timers are to encourage people to use less water and take those shorter showers,” Mrs Sutton said.
“We’re also talking to people about looking for leaks – a leaking toilet, for instance, can use up to 700l of water a day.”
Mrs Sutton said the timing of the event was great for the Smart Water programme, with the weather improving and the hottest months of the year not far away.
“We’re just trying to educate people about what a valuable resource water is, and we really need to look after it.”
Development Programmes Manager Karen Saunders and Strategic Development Manager Andrew Parsons, working on the Peacocke stand, said there was a lot interest in the new bridge over the Waikato River – which would connect the soon to be developed suburb with the rest of the city.
“The main thing people are interested in is the timings, when the new bridge is coming on, when the sections will be available, and how we’ll be delivering water and dealing with wastewater,” Ms Saunders said.
Lauradanna Radesic, Great River City Communication and Engagement Leader, said visitors were particularly in interested in how to stay safe while riding an e-scooter – a new initiative for the city following the recent permitting of global firm Lime to operate in the city.
“A number of people have enquired about speed limits, whether users need to wear safety helmets, and how pedestrians and people with mobility scooters can be kept safe,” she said.
The Candidates Café proved popular, with candidates mixing and mingling with a steady stream of residents quizzing them on a range of topics and policies.