There is a rule of thumb with council meetings. The shorter the agenda, the longer the meeting.
Short agenda today. I had to leave at 2pm and it was still going strong. Conversation seems to stretch to fill a page. It can get a little draining after a while.
It’s ok when you are debating hard stuff at length – it tends not to always be the case. Today was one of those days, where we got caught in a trivia loop that seemed to spiral for an hour and a half. Dreadful. Not our best work. One of the days when being forced to watch a live video stream would be a perfect punishment for small acts of anti-social behaviour.
We moved to deal with one type of such acts today, with the adoption of a temporary alcohol ban for the Ilam/Riccarton area. The dearth of bars in town has meant partying has moved to the suburbs. No problem with having fun inside – but drinking on the street, drinking between bars is not cool. There are tons of problems with low level crime and the police asked us to act, so we did.
By the time signage is up and the notice goes in the paper it’ll be a couple of weeks before it’s in, and it goes til the end of November. We’re going to consult on a permanent ban – watch this space. In the meantime – please spread the word. New alcohol ban in Ilam/Riccarton – 24/7 – party inside but keep it off the street. We’re also going to look afresh at Merivale, Akaroa, Papanui. Got to keep it tidy out there, people. If you could share this blog amongst your mates – thanks – I’d be grateful.
We also adopted an alliance model of contracting for our infrastructure rebuild. That’s a way of making sure the rebuild is done most efficiently with multiple contractors and multiple projects all being run concurrently. It’s a common, modern business system. Very good work done by our staff to get us to this point.
It may surprise you, but infrastructure still “belongs” to the council.
It’s not been well publicised yet, but the council has three key roles at the moment with the CERA system.
– the plan for the CBD (we’re the lead agency – we link in with CERA and others)
– the infrastructure plan (again, the lead agency)
– all the other stuff councils do (think dog control, provision of libraries – those things don’t stop.)
Take a big deep breath and say it slowly – infrastructure rebuild programme of 2-3 BILLION dollars. No small chunk of change, and we are still in conversation about how much comes from where.
Chrissie Williams moved to have included reference to the overall recovery planning in conjunction with the infrastructure item – I whole heartedly support that. It means we have a chance to discuss the type of stuff we want above and below ground, and make sure we are ok with the old infrastructure design standards being used as the basis for our forward programme (or clarify the choices where choices are to be made).
It all sounds dry as dirt, doesn’t it? It is and it isn’t. If you do your job right, nobody should notice you’ve done it. We need to try as best we can to make things better than they were, and I believe we are well on the path to doing that. (I should add I’m giving you the once over lightly on the CERA stuff – I raised with staff today a concern I am hearing almost constantly now around confusion between the roles of CERA and the Council. It is a communications issue between the two organisations and it needs to be sorted ASAP.) If it isn’t cleared up by next week I will give you CERA 101 – I’m getting sick of some of the misinformation I’m hearing bandied around too. You’d almost think it was election year.
Our horribly complicated rates remissions policy has been continued and extended for another couple of months – it’s the most expedient way of dealing with it until the annual plan round. Then we will have a hard look at it again in light of the changes from February 22 and it could turn into a whole different beasty. It’s going to have to I think – it isn’t really match fit in light of the events of this calendar year.
There were a few other things on the agenda as well – you can find it on the council website. There were a number of public excluded items which I can assure you were well discussed, thoroughly understood, and thoughtfully debated. Good deliberations there today.
One of the real upsides of our new location is sharing it with the library. I picked up a couple of books today too – one from a friend who dropped in a fitness guide for me – a strength programme to add some grunt to my running. I had also reserved an amazing book at the library – Song of Waitaha. I’ve read it but some years ago – I want to read it again. Our history affects our future, and that ‘s a good book to revisit.
So then, having ridden home laden with books, I attended my first tweetup.
If you’re reading this but on neither facebook nor twitter I would recommend both. They’re quite different social connectors. I’ve now met a few people face to face whom I’ve encountered firstly through twitter and every time it’s felt like meeting an old friend. You continue the same public conversation you’ve been having online while you catch up over coffee – or as we did tonight over a meal. (That’s the trick to twitter – your conversations are public and open and can be shared. They’re super succinct today. A great discipline. Maybe we should tweet debate at council!)
So I met my tweeps (tweet people) at the Ale House in Tower Junction. I hate walking into bars on my own, especially when it’s to find people I’m not sure I’m going to recognise. Thankfully they spotted me before I had to do more than a couple of laps of shame. And then I was thrown headlong into a world where it’s not just ok to tweet at the dinner table, it’s just about de rigueur – where nerdy conversation isn’t frowned upon, it’s cherished – and where it’s ok to bring your own spork and stab it in your cleavage before one of your friends posts a picture of it and sends it viral. (See – it’s not all dry and dusty – there’s some Busty in there too. I found a new spiritual home! I even knew a few of my tweeps from the real world – a couple of council connections and one who knows Pepper!)
My tweeps taught me about Foursquare, which I’ve only barely used – and now I know what I’m doing, it’s going to open a whole new world for me. (It’s the app you can use to spatially locate people you know from facebook or twitter so I won’t be wandering around myopically again going “are they here yet?”)
So now I’m fighting off the stupid cold that everyone has, and I’m adamant I’m going to do it. I’m planning a weekend of fun and I’m not going to let some dopey little virus hold me back. May is going to be a big, big month, with CTV rolling out next weekend, the St Clair and the charette the following, TedX the next one and then – well, I’m sure something will turn up. Life seems to let you fill your boots if that’s what does it for you.
And now – the tweet version.
Long productive council mtg – great tweetup with new friends – home to kids, cats and dog I love – planning big weekend 🙂 #squee!!!