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Keeping an ear to the ground in Belmont

Keeping an ear to the ground in Belmont

How do you get agreement on spending $150,000 to improve recreation in Belmont Regional Park when everyone seems to have a different view on what’s needed?

The answer? Listen to what the community wants, help them prioritise their ideas and then deliver.

That’s what GWRC did when our parks department gave the Friends of Belmont Regional Park the go-ahead to come up with ideas about reinvesting some of the proceeds from the Transmission Gully land sales.

Friends chairman and convenor Peter Matcham let community groups know about the opportunity and got their feedback on what they wanted.

The success of this community based approach lay in giving broad guidelines up front, then using these to evaluate and prioritise the ideas generated.

Two projects came out on top – a new multi-use track to improve links between Hill Road and Old Coach Road; and landscaping around the Korokoro Dam. These have now been included in GWRC’s Long Term Plan.

GWRC parks manager Amanda Cox says the outcomes of listening to the community were really positive.

“Not only did we discover what people wanted the most, it also helped us build better relationships with those who use and care about the park, and signalled that they have a big role to play in making decisions that affect them.”

The work with Belmont Park users is a model of how communities can contribute meaningfully to council decisions.