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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:41am

The Council is working with the community to support the district into the new world we’re living in. Council Chief Executive David Ward provides an update on this work:

Decorative photoIt’s great that now we are in alert level 2 we are starting to see the green shoots of life as we knew it. However, it is apparent that we cannot simply slip back into our old ways, we are moving towards a ‘new normal’. Here in council we are asking ourselves, what will this ‘new normal’ look like and how can we help Selwyn get there in the best possible shape?

Ever since lockdown began your council have done everything in our power to keep the services you rely on going as well as responding to the immediate needs of our community.  At the same time we have had a firm eye on the future. Our focus is now moving towards working out how we can help Selwyn emerge from this crisis economically strong, socially connected, environmentally well positioned and culturally enriched. This is not going to be an easy or quick process.

Firstly we need to understand the impact COVID-19 has had in each of these areas and then try to work out what are the most likely scenarios over the next weeks, months and years.  We also need an information baseline to work from, this will help us measure our progress. The best way to find this information is to talk to the grass roots of our community and that’s just what we have done.

We called together a group of more than eighty leaders, influences and community representatives in a series of meetings. People were invited from all parts our community, politicians, foodbank volunteers, business development organisations, employers, farmers, tourism operators, charities, community leaders and businesses.

There was abundance of valuable feedback. We are now taking stock of what was said and combining it with other information and advice from Government, economic advisors and ongoing public engagement. Last week we also concluded the public consultation for our annual plan and are busy evaluating your thoughts on our proposals. All this information will help us co-ordinate the best possible recovery for Selwyn.

We don’t have a silver bullet or a huge slush fund, but what we do have is a growing data base of understanding that our experienced council team will use as a handrail as we navigate the uncertain waters of the future. We cannot do this alone and recognise that many other Selwyn organisations, charities, community groups and volunteers have played a huge part in getting us where we are today.  Each of these groups have all been magnificent in the collective effort to help our communities and businesses. Your council will do all we can to support and co-ordinate their efforts in the future.

Many of our recovery plans have already started, such as our buy local campaign and our digital signposting of businesses to national and local support schemes. In the near future I look forward to sharing more of our recovery initiative as and plans as they emerge.