Saturday, May 25, 2024

Christchurch council takes public consultation online

Christchurch City Council has announced it will move to introduce webinars when conducting public consultation on key issues.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic many of us are now very familiar with the concept of online meetings and webinars,” said Council Head of Communications and Engagement, Katy McRae.

“They have become a key business tool and they’re also a really effective way of reaching residents who might not otherwise have the time to engage with us.”

Council trialled the use of webinars recently with consultations on Draft Plan Changes for the city and said attendance numbers were higher than normal.

For example, a webinar on the housing intensification provisions in the Draft Housing and Business Choice Plan Chan attracted 141 attendees and the recording of the session drew 214 views, said Ms McRae.

Council has outlined rules for those taking part in online consultation webinars: People attending the online sessions need to register. When the session is on, attendees’ microphones are muted and cameras are off; however, attendees can use a number of different mechanisms, all of which are explained at the start, to ask questions.

Attendees will get a response to their questions either in writing or during the question times in the session, Ms McRae said.

The session is also recorded and posted online for those who cannot attend but want to watch later.

A copy of the presentation given at the session and any questions and answers will also be posted online.

“People have busy lives and physically getting somewhere for a meeting isn’t always possible. The benefit of a webinar is that people can participate from the comfort of their own home, or they can watch at a time that suits them,’’ Ms McRae says.

“We want to reach as many people as we can, in ways that are most convenient for them. This means doing things differently from how we have approached things in the past.

“Webinars are just one new way we are looking to connect with people and encourage participation in decision-making,’’ she said.

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