Today’s workshop produced a wide variety of aspirations from DCC elected representatives in response to the following questions. My response follows:
What are your THREE main ambitions/aspirations for your community over the next 10 years?
What are THREE key challenges you think need to be considered and addressed?
What are THREE key things you think can be done through the 10-year plan to help achieve or address these?
In my view the separation of these questions into triple tick-box answers is unhelpful as these issues are all interrelated and dealing with them is interdependent.
Over the next 10 years I believe we must walk the walk of sustainability rather than pay lip-service to it, especially financial sustainability.
To be financially sustainable, we must reign in our out-of-control Council Companies, optimise sale of identified liabilities, and reverse the unsustainable culture of increasing group debt.
We must reverse the culture of increasing bureaucracy size and cost, and become much more business-like and strategic in the way we organise contracting. We must reduce the costly virtue-signalling of demanding contractors to monitor CO2 impacts, energy use, living wage provisions, and other unnecessary compliance obligations.
We need an organisation-wide Post-covid compliance/affordability review.
We need a sustainable land-fill policy that recognises on-going landfill as necessary and affordable, and looks seriously at economically viable reuse and recycling of all Dunedin City refuse, not just the 19% collected by the DCC.
After having become more financially sustainable and given ourselves some real natural disaster headroom currently absent, we should then review our overall balance of investments in sports, culture, and environment, and optimise/prioritise what non-financial returns we get from our financial investments in all three of these areas.
A final over-arching review of how we consult with the public needs to be undertaken, with the addition of regular referenda [e.g. sent out with rates demands] on a range of issues, including: the importance of Port Otago [the South Island’s best natural harbour] to Dunedin and how it can best be developed, local government structure [e.g. public support for a Unitary Council] and general issues like reclamation, fruit trees instead of ornamentals, and provision of commuter/retail parking.
The overall issue of whether the DCC should be just a facilitator of Dunedin’s development primarily providing infrastructure services, or whether it should be pushing specific development initiatives should also be informed by referenda of various kinds over the next decade.