How do communities set aside their differences and work towards environmental outcomes that everybody feels they have a stake in?
This reports draws some conclusions from the community planning process used in Whangamata, a coastal town in the Coromandel under intense environmental pressure. A range of complex issues and competing interests have had to be worked through.
This process was the subject of an earlier PCE report, Turning hopes and dreams into actions and results: Whangamata, a case study of community planning in a coastal area, released in March 2005.
Later that month, a workshop on the report was held in the Coromandel town of Thames. The workshop concluded that if community planning is going to work, participants must have a clear vision of what they want to achieve for the community; they must take ownership of the process and the outcomes; and they must have confidence in themselves, their neighbours, and their community boards and councils.
People at the workshop also called for some guidelines on how exactly to make the process work. What tools and techniques can be used? What behaviours and skills are needed? How can groups with conflicting views make good decisions?
These questions are addressed in this latest report. Its primary purpose is to provide information and skills that can be applied to planning and consultation processes in a range of communities.
Three presentations from the Thames workshop are included as appendices to this report. These presentations:
Environmental conflicts have been with us a long time, but these reports reflect a willingness to work together, to set aside differences, and to share experiences. That is something we can all learn from.