Last night I launched my 2016 campaign for Invercargill City Council. Here is my speech and a few pics.
We are here for 2 reasons tonight. First we are launching the Grand Hotel Heritage Research project and second we are launching my 2016 election campaign for council.
The Grand Project has come from conversations with Linda and Brooke about their passion for the Hotel and their interest in its past and their enthusiasm for its future.
I first met Linda prior to last year’s Heritage Month and really appreciated her enthusiasm for being involved in the CBD Extravaganza where we had people dressed as the Queen and Prince Phillip on her first floor balcony and an old film of the Queens visit playing in the foyer.
Since then we have discussed many ideas and projects and have been able to launch a few interesting things. This year we have opened the Wool Bar Community Space in an unused part of the building and we held the Heritage Ball here as part of Inner City Heritage Week.
This new project is an extension of these projects and builds on the work Linda has already done to collect stories from former staff and visitors to the hotel.
We want to collect the stories of the Grand’s past through oral history and research. We plan to use these stories to tell the story of the Grand Hotel and its place in the story of Invercargill’s inner city. The long term vision is to present this story both online and within the foyer area of the Hotel by creating a small museum.
The Grand has a strong presence in the city both physically and socially. It was designed by locally born architect CJ Brodrick who also designed a range of other iconic buildings – two of the Bank Corner buildings, the Alexandra Building, the Public Trust and the Masonic. Brodrick also apprenticed to FW Burwell who influential in the city architecture in the 1800s.
From the mid 1940s to the early 2000s the Grand was owned by the Invercargill Licensing Trust and was a popular bar, restaurant and accommodation provider.
The stories from people who worked at and visited the Grand are vivid in people’s memories this includes their recollections of the Queen’s visit and stay in 1954.
We believe it is important to gather these stories now before more are lost. These stories help us to understand our past, our social history and why we have the city we have – how it’s changed and how it’s stayed the same. We believe that by gathering these stories now they can support future development and a focus in the inner city on its heritage. This will help draw people into the inner city and keep them here longer. This will have a positive economic impact for the retailers in the city.
We are forming a working group of interested people to oversee the research over the next 12 months. We will focus on gathering oral history interviews and doing research. We are keen to hear from people who want to share their stories about being visitors to the Grand or staff here.
I believe people should act in their community to make it a better place and to make a difference. Linda, Brooke and I have identified something we can do to help enhance the inner city.
We are playing our part.
Today I have also submitted my nomination for ICC and I hope that if I get re-elected I can continue to make a positive difference in my community.
The Wool Bar Community Space which is utilising an underused part of the Hotel is another example of working to attract people into the inner city and making use of unused spaces. It is another example of people playing their part and working to make a positive difference.
The monthly Innov8 events which are being renamed I3 – Invercargill – Inspire, imagine, Innovate – were initiated to provide a forum for people to talk about their great ideas, to inspire people and to encourage innovative and collaborative thinking.
These events are for the community.
One thing that concerns me about Local Government elections is the lack of engagement the community has. Only 40% of voters voted in 2013. Of those the largest portion are over the age of 60. The smallest voting group are 18-39 year olds.
I believe we need to do more to encourage people to value local government and the election opportunity. We need to encourage people to vote first and foremost, then we can encourage them to engage in their community in other ways.
The stats say that 31% of people who don’t vote don’t because they don’t know enough about the candidates. 24% forget.
So on August 15th the I3 (Innov8) event will be an opportunity for Invercargill City Council candidates to take 3 min to speak about why they are standing for council. This will be open to the public. It will be followed by a speed dating style opportunity for people to ask questions of candidates they wish to know more about. I have always said I want to make the council more accessible to the community and this is one way I feel I can help do this.
Play your part and come along to find out about the candidates so you can be informed when it comes to voting.
I also plan to have a visible campaign this year because if you don’t want people to forget to vote them they need consistent reminders.
The focus of my 2016 campaign will be on community engagement just as it was in 2013. I feel I have made some small but significant steps in helping the ICC start to think about community engagement in a new and more effective way. I want to continue with this.
I also have a desire to have more impact and to help drive more projects including the development of a community driven vision for the city as a whole as well as the focus on the inner city, the museum, art galleries and heritage buildings. I believe we must consider the ageing demographic in decision making and how the friendly policy can be used to drive concrete initiatives that enhance the city’s reputation.
Going forward we need to be innovative, progressive and we need to focus on our strengths so we can build on them to make Invercargill a thriving and resilient city where people participate in their community and where council, businesses and people go the extra mile to create a great lifestyle.
I have the drive to make this happen, I have a proven track record of giving back to the community. I am not afraid to make things happen and I am a proven leader in the community.
This is why I am asking for your vote in this election.