It’s nearly that time of year again, when councils will be seeking feedback from the public on a wide range of plans, policies and bylaws.

I’ve read thousands of submissions. In my experience, the most effective submissions:

  • provide a concise summary at the beginning of the submission of the changes requested
  • are written in a positive tone and are reasonable and logical rather than overly emotive, even when opposing or seeking significant changes to a proposal
  • explain why the requested change is better, for both the council and the wider community
  • consider the point of view of the council and what the objections could be to what the submitter is requesting
  • make it easy for the council to say yes to their proposal — a constructive way to do this is to provide alternative wording for inclusion in the plan or bylaw
  • recognise the constraints the council is working within, and propose solutions that can be achieved within those constraints
  • say what the submitter supports as well as what they are seeking to change.