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  • Success Story
  • Gore District Council, NZ

How Gore District Council Leveraged EngagementHQ to Engage Its Residents in Planning Projects

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With an agricultural economy, Gore District Council works hard to maintain its strong sense of community through innovative projects that meet the needs of locals. Digital connection in this rural widespread community of 12,000 is critical. Gore District Council leverages EngagementHQ to facilitate, centralise, and analyse its conversations with residents.  

“Prior to using EngagementHQ, the feedback we received was static and one-dimensional. This platform has allowed us to be more three-dimensional and visual.”
Sonia Gerken, General Manager, Communications/Customer Support, Gore District Council, NZ


  • 12,400 Total population of residents
  • 3,000 library project page visits
  • 16,000 visits to Streets Alive project page
  • 71% survey participation rate from Gore residents
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Partnering with the community

The Council directs several projects each year aimed at improving the Gore community, including the Gore Library and Community Space Redevelopment and Streets Alive. The library project sought partnership with residents to develop a modern library space and community centre that would encourage connection, include necessary digital tools, and serve as a gathering space for future generations. Similarly, the Streets Alive mission encouraged more active modes of transport through community feedback. 

When black mold was discovered in Gore’s popular existing library space, the Council engaged with residents to determine what they wanted in a new library and where it should go. During the COVID lockdown, the Council was awarded $3 million through the government’s Shovel Ready Fund to stimulate recovery and infrastructure development. These funds effectively locked Gore into a location for the new library and some residents felt misled about the Council’s promise to engage with them on the location decision.  

The central government also introduced an innovative streets program during lockdown which sought to transform neighborhoods through tactical urbanism. The Gore District Council branded its programme Streets Alive. The Council received $900,000 to enact the program which required considerable ongoing community engagement creating a list of what changes residents thought would improve livability in Gore, as well as what they wanted to see more of in their community. 


Managing communication and collaboration

Gore District Council recognised the importance of engaging with the community and stakeholders to determine their needs for a new library and gather input on what they wanted in their neighborhoods prior to starting either project. Using EngagementHQ allowed for collaborative, two-way communication between the Council and residents.  

In the early stages of the new library project, the Council created an interactive ideas board, featuring imagery that helped stimulate discussion with residents. It then incorporated the feedback into a slide show that showed what the building would look like and solicited further responses which were used to refine construction plans. Gore District Council relied on continuous input from residents during the Streets Alive campaign and people were also given the opportunity to provide input through surveys. 


Growing engagement through digital solutions

Leveraging EngagementHQ has resulted in a survey participation rate of about 70% for each project. Additionally, more than 16,000 visits to the Streets Alive project page and 3,000 library project page visits were recorded. These are impressive numbers for the Council and show considerable growth in how it has improved its community engagement through digital solutions.  

“Before we started using EngagementHQ and adopted our digital first philosophy, we would be lucky if we got 40 people giving us feedback,” said Communications/Customer Support General Manager Sonia Gerken. “If the project is important enough and captures their imagination, we’re giving residents an easy way to engage.” 

“We could not have done [these projects] without EngagementHQ. We could not have collated the information and sent it out to the community without this solution.”
Sonia Gerken, General Manager, Communications/Customer Support, Gore District Council, NZ