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Asset Mapping

Our town is in the process of being Asset Mapped.

I cannot say whether this is positive or otherwise - there is just insufficient information available, but our Community Board has just allocated $11,500 for the purpose of employing Wintec's Dr Donna Stemmer to complete a mapping exercise. This sum is matched by an equivalent non-cash contribution from Wintec in the form of Dr Stemmer's hours being put into the project. Dr Stemmer is apparently an expert in this area.

The request for this allocation came from the recently formed Destination Thames Sub-committee of the Board (Members -  Rex Simpson, Morrie Dunwoodie, Mark Skelding, John Sinclair, Geoff Furkert, Bruce Oliver, Errol Kingsbury, Strat Peters, Mark Bridgman), that picked up on asset mapping as a starting point in order get things moving in our community, particularly in regard to combating youth unemployment. This apparently arose from admiration for what has been achieved in Otorohanga by Mayor Dale Williams, who has spoken at at least two breakfast meetings organised here by the Transition Town Thames group. This group has been extended particular favour by Community Board Chair Strat Peters, and he is pushing this particular barrow.

As an aside, Destination Thames has recently changed its moniker to Focus Thames - apparently as a result of the formation of Destination Coromandel out of Tourism Coromandel. Too many destinations apparently.

There is no doubt that this is one of those 'feel good' projects that may have potential  to improve the situation in this town, but it does beggar the question as to why we have undertaken Community Planning and now, the finalising of the Blueprint Project at substantial cost to rate-payers. The proposal  recognised this danger, but claimed that "the asset mapping process is intended to incorporate previous work such as these and build on them". Mmm. I think we should reserve judgement on that. Unfortunately, judgement at this time is impossible because none of the extensive work already completed by Dr Stemmer was produced at the meeting, so it is rather a 'pig in a poke' situation.

In the information sheet provided to the Board, it was noted that:

"The third and top level of assets is the individual skills and talents of Thames residents. This is by far the hardest to map, but the most valuable of all the assets. These assets are the personal skills and competencies (sic) Thames residents".

Cr. Connors in particular noted that she was unhappy with this activity being included in the mapping exercise - claiming that Thames people may be unwilling to share this information. Others supported this point of view, so it seems that "the most valuable of all the assets" will not be mapped. That's a pity, as it does seems to rather downgrade the value of the expensive exercise, and to reduce it to just another collection of information in the same mode as the Blueprint. In fact, and on the basis of this, it appears to be just another exercise in creating the impression of doing something, anything.

I wish I could be more positive, but I just have to call it as I see it from the information provided. Sorry - that's four 'I's in one line!




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