Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Council community services lack creative thinking

   Listening to submitters today opposing the sale of Hamilton City Counil's pensioner housing units, I was struck by the contrast between the way the local government system, including our own, creatively and strategically supports the funding and development of corporate projects and big sporting and other events, while being strangely quiet and un-strategic when support is needed for important community services and even amateur sport services targeting our youth. 
   Council management, egged on often by Council leadership, regularly come up with creative concepts for spending relatively vast amounts on infrastructure needed for industrial and commercial developments, or funding packages for events like world cups of professional sport or stadia and theatres servicing the high-end needs - but when faced with keeping a local pool open, a few pensioner flats upgraded, community centres open, or sports centres for schoolkids available; the creative juices of local government management and leadership, not to mention much of the corporate community, inexplicably dry up. 
   There is a crying need for professional and political leaderships within local govt to get into the game - in these trying economic times - of advocating for social and community needs to be met, and proposing creative funding and development packages that will address those needs. 
   We cannot rely on central govt - of any stripe - to meet these needs; at best they can help local communities meet these needs, but their one size fits all approach is unlikely to cut the mustard in most communities.

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