Forty young Waitakians aged between 15 and 24 have shared their visions for the district, and identified the district’s youth-related attractions and gaps.
The youth gathered at a forum in Oamaru on Wednesday, using funding that the Waitaki District Youth Council received from the Ministry of Youth Development, and took part in activities and brainstormed ideas to make Waitaki a great place for young people. Deputy Mayor Melanie Tavendale said the event was expertly facilitated by Erin Walshe from the North Otago Youth Centre which jointly ran the forum with the Waitaki District Youth Council. “The forum was a fantastic opportunity for young people to share their ideas, and we were impressed by the breadth of ideas and insights offered by the participants. These ideas will now be collated and presented to Council, and I hope some of them can be integrated into our Long Term Plan to give another perspective into what we are providing for our people,” says Cr Tavendale. “The event launched with a number of team building activities, with the young people using newspaper and tape to re-create some of things that are on offer around the district, including the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, Steampunk and the Moeraki Boulders. It was clearly evident that the participants were having a lot of fun and worked well together.” Attendee Rhiannon McLean said, “It was a great way for us to recognise that Waitaki is already an awesome place to live and work. We also identified new and exciting opportunities, now and into the future.” With prize sponsorship from Visique Oamaru, Spic and Span Cleaning, Anchor Milk Oamaru and Lyndon MacLay of L J Hookers, the forum has proven to be a “inspiring conversation, and a great source of ideas and opportunities”, according to Cr Tavendale. “The thinking of the young people was impressive and we are excited to further develop some of their ideas.”
Facilitator Erin Walshe said, “I was quite encouraged by the response of the young people. Their enthusiasm and engagement shown throughout the evening clearly conveys a desire amongst them to participate in making Waitaki an even greater place to live.”