A Series on this Round of the Unitary Plan before it goes to Formal Notification
Part Three: What happens to all that feedback?
The question actually is how do the planners, Local Board and Auckland Plan Committee members (the Councillors) wade through 22,700 pieces of Unitary Plan feedback.
I have not been to Level 22 of the Council building where the planners are busy trudging through all that feedback we sent in and either codifying our replies or sending the more “technical” stuff off for a further look. But, from what I have heard and been briefed on the task is a major undertaking and one I would not envy in a hurry.
As a recap from Part One of this series this is what essentially happens with your feedback:
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FEEDBACK?
In short three things can happen depending on what you sent in.
If it was pro-forma (and there was 6,500 pieces from 35 groups that did this) it is essentially tallied up and totals assigned to set “topics.” Stuff done on an Excel sheet.
If you wrote an individual submission it can land in one of two places in the codifying exercise. All individual submissions are collated, summarised and codified according to “topic” and will be sent for political direction – usually the Auckland Plan Committee. If in your individual submission you decided to go highly technical (and some did) then your piece is worked over by senior planners and topic experts at a finer level. Your technical points will then be “addressed” accordingly.
To make the point clear; it can be taken that for individual submissions that are collated will be presented and reviewed at direction setting workshops via The Auckland Plan Committee. Collated information is divided by topic and will be worked over by experts who will flesh out the concepts from the submissions and again presented for direction setting at the Committee. I do wish them luck trying to codify and collate my 104 page monster with it covering I think 10 different issues.
Now Council have pointed out that not all submissions (especially those pro-forma’s) will be raising unique points (hence how the top 5 themes are deduced). Because of this the Council is able to effectively and efficiently build a summary analysis of that particular group of feedback (a theme) which is then fed back to the workshops and Committee.
This codifying and summary analysis (as well as working on the technical and unique material (Manukau as a Second CBD is deemed a unique point)) allows for staggering the discussions of the Unitary Plan with high priority issues going first (currently height and centres). At each workshop the Committee and Local Board (chairs at the moment) have access to the relevant summary analysis material which guides their decision-making and recommendations for direction setting by the Auckland Plan Committee.
Meaning? Lots and lots and LOTS of meetings around tables drinking filter coffee and eating a pile of scones. It also means in reporting the Auckland Plan Committee meetings as they happen I am going to get a numb backside for sitting on a chair for six hours and me hating the cursed air conditioning in Town Hall which plays havoc with my eyes.
So that is basically this is what is happening with your feedback at the moment. I am getting snippets from Local Board Chairs after the workshops some issues that are cropping up. While the debate is robust and Councillors are behaving themselves, the most common issue I am getting is that the summary analysis on the feedback is lacking. That is the codifying has not advanced enough to get anything meaningful from our feedback to the Local Board Chairs so they can work on our points raised with the committee. An issue that will need to be looked at.
A Brief Insight to the Inner Workings?
A thought had come to mind and I am going to email this to the Council tomorrow. Maybe the media could take a guided tour of the process from: those people codifying on Level 22 (some has seen it already but others not), to a snippet of a workshop (say 30 mins of the workshop in action and nothing confidential being discussed at that particular moment) then the Auckland Plan Committee (which is open any how) where the decisions are finalised up.
Why such a guided tour?
To get a snap shot on what goes behind out of the public sight (but not our minds) might go a small way in improving Council’s “comm’s” effort after its C rating by our Deputy Mayor this week. Also the snap shot would keep the city in the loop outside of media releases and help give a better understanding what is happening out of our sight and more to the point why.
Yes we know workshops should be full and frank discussions but for just a 30 minute glimmer the city might be able to just appreciate that little bit more the inner workings of an apparatus that consumes our money.
As I said I’ll email council and give it a crack. Can’t promise much though but one can try.
In Part Four of this series I shall take a look at the zoning changes (which is the number one theme in the Unitary Plan right now) as well as the Southern Rural Urban Boundary/
Talking Auckland: Blog of TotaRim Consultancy Limited
Bringing Well Managed Progress to Auckland and The Unitary Plan
Auckland: 2013 – YOUR CITY, YOUR CALL