Monthly community meetings to continue in 2017

Friday, 11 November 2016

The City’s Administrators have announced monthly community meetings held across the municipality will continue next year.

The last in a series of five meetings for 2016 would take place at the Barwon Heads Bowling Club from 5.30pm on Wednesday, November 16.

Administrator Chair Dr Kathy Alexander 

The panel of Administrators introduced the roving meeting concept shortly after their appointment to better understand and engage with residents in their new role.

This series of community meetings started as a bit of an experiment, acknowledging that, as Administrators, we aren’t the elected representatives of our community and therefore need to get in touch with the issues of our residents and find out about their opinions on the matters we have to deal with.

We’ve been really encouraged that people have been using this opportunity to talk to us about a range of issues, from easily fixed problems, such as rubbish dumped in their street, to their opinions on the bigger decisions we have to make, including the future of the saleyards.

It’s fantastic to have that more open discussion with people and hear a broad range of thoughts.

It’s also presented an opportunity for the City’s executives to provide information and better understand the community’s views.

The meetings, held in Portarlington, Lara, Grovedale and Norlane so far, had highlighted how complex Geelong was as a local government area.

We’ve learnt that Geelong is made up of a range of villages as well as a major Central Business District, which is an important message for our future planning processes.

We need to balance the beauty of our local environment and the tourism opportunities it provides with the industrial and agribusiness sectors and the need to accommodate our growing population.

Through these meetings we’ve also developed a better understanding of how to inform our community and engage with residents, in particular with planning for the City’s Our Future 30-year vision project.

Research shows that when a community is actively participating in local government planning and deliberations, residents are more committed to projects and decision, potential problems are solved before they become too big and effective solutions are developed using local knowledge and experience.

We’re aiming to consult with up to 25,000 people on this long-term vision for Greater Geelong.