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Solution to city council secrecy proposed

Jessica Swan
Christchurch city council
Christchurch City Council headquarters.  Flickr

Resident outlines system to ensure transparency, more public engagement and greater local government accountability.

Marc Duff presented his idea at the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board meeting on August 4. The Greater Hornby Residents' Association chairperson was acting in his capacity as an individual resident.

He suggested the community produce an accessible running sheet that listed all public forums in date order. This would address the outcome of issues, council reports, deadlines and whether presentations to public forums had been actioned.

Duff said there was a perception that matters raised in the public forum were often dismissed and that the council hoped residents would just forget about issues.

By establishing the online system, he believed residents would be encouraged to attend more public forums as they could see the community acting on its concerns.

"This public running form I am suggesting… would bring greater transparency to residents, accountability and traceability on where a matter raised in public forums is at."

Duff came up with the idea after becoming frustrated with a lack of communication, progress and follow-through on issues of pedestrian traffic safety measures. He cited the need for a safe passage for staff working at Kilmarnock Enterprises, and school pupils on Waterloo Road.

When approached for comment on August 13, the Christchurch City Council said there was no further update on Waterloo Road safety measures. This comes after concerned Hornby High school student Zoe Evans even created a documentary outlining safety concerns.  

Zoe Evans, a student at Hornby High School, investigated the Waterloo traffic safety. This is one of many issues Marc Duff said council needs to pay better attention to.

Community board chair Mike Mora agreed with the need for greater transparency and for staff to be more open. He referenced the ombudsman's "damning report" on a culture of secrecy at the city council. 

"From what I have seen to date there are still issues that we need to sort out," he said.