Role of a Resident's Association
Residents' associations are independent bodies that are initiated by residents and ratepayers. Their prime objectives are to provide the residents of a particular suburb or area with an officially recognised representative body that effectively combines with municipal authorities and other organisations, for the betterment and overall interest of their community.
Residents' associations have a responsibility to their community to speak out if they feel that the local body or other bodies/groups are headed in a direction that is contrary or might be detrimental to the peoples or community's interests and expectations.
If an association is correctly administered and responsibly operated, it should be able to provide those authorities or organisations with the general or majority viewpoint of its residents on most matters relating to that area. To do this however, there obviously has to be a lot of consultation and communication between all parties. This at times can be difficult to obtain through a variety of reasons including time constraints. If this is the case, the overall viewpoint of the residents' associations elected committee should be put forward.
Wellington city currently has more than 40 such groups whether they are called residents' associations, progressive associations, or community associations. They all have a common purpose - to represent their various communities.
Wellington City Council regards residents' associations as being very important to the running of the city, because they provide a direct link into the community and are a central point of contact for communication. Under council's consultation policy, associations are one of the target audiences included in any consultation relevant to geographical communities and their contributions are important in the overall decision-making processes of the Council. Input from associations in to the Council can vary from services and facilities provided to a specific area, to their views on new proposed developments, both commercial and residential, to more major matters that cover the entire city. Citywide issues can cover a great variety of matters from the Draft Annual Plan, to Long Term Council Community Plan, to Outdoor Space policies to Dog Control policies etc. Most topics require submissions to be lodged. The amount of correspondence received from the city council, regional council, or various organisations or groups (hard copy or electronically) can be very large.
The key goals of an association are:
- To identify, represent and advocate for the local community interests and to ensure that these interests are fully recognised and appropriately acknowledged by all concerned.
- To ensure the Council maintains constant consultation on all diverse matters that affect the community.
- To work toward improving the neighbourhood facilities and amenities and should be involved in any council planning for the area.
- To be responsive to all matters and work on building a strong local neighbourhood that is genuinely interested in what is happening, or going to happen, within their community.
- To develop and promote community spirit and involvement.
- To be proactive and promote all aspects and features of their community whenever possible and ensure that every resident, either directly or indirectly, benefits from having an association.
- To maintain dialogue with the community through general consultation and newsletters.
- To act as a broker and represent residents in specific matters when appropriate.
- To network with other associations within the local geographical area where a subject is of common interest to all.
- To contribute and assist in making the overall city a better place for all citizens.
If possible a website should be developed. One purpose of this site is to provide information about the characteristics and features of the community with the intention of it becoming a reference point for past, present and future residents of the community. It should provide a lot of information on the community for existing or potential residents, and should detail the facilities and amenities available. It should also outline the history and development of the area if this is known. Details of the residents' association and their objectives, activities and contact information, should also to be provided.