big-ideas-enter-budget-processShire director of Community Services Jan Martin writes down brainstorming ideas on how to keep the Foster pool maintained and operating as part of community workshops on the council’s budget on Tuesday afternoon. Bringing ideas to the table were Meeniyan’s Richard Powell, and Foster’s Meg and Brian Thornborrow. D024814.

AT LEAST $6 million worth of ideas were put on the shire wish list to go into the 2015-16 budget at South Gippsland Shire’s first OurSay brainstorming session.
But, there was also a large contingent at the budget sessions on Tuesday in Meeniyan that called for the budget to be slashed so rate rises would be minimal.
Despite these two diametrically opposed ideas, the brainstorming sessions, with about 50 people at each, did not ‘get personal’ and plenty of ideas were floated about what the community and council could do to get the ideas “off the ground”.
The top seven ideas were discussed at the sessions, and included:
1) Keep the Foster pool operating, heated and improved;
2) Support the redevelopment of the Mirboo North swimming pool and build an RV park;
3) Free green waste disposal all year;
4) Fund feasibility, business and concept design studies for a Stony Creek equestrian and exhibition centre;
5) Develop and support the arts scene;
6) Use the Our Say program to canvas communities’ thoughts on CSG before a moratorium is lifted in July;
7) Reduce rates.
Just over 760 people voted using the OurSay online forums, and while voting has closed, it is still possible to read and comment online.
In all, more than 90 ideas for the budget were submitted.

Ideas proposed

A number of ideas were proposed for each seven points, some humorous, some ideas councillors were impressed by.
A selection is below.
1) Foster pool: Look at management structure, get out of YMCA contract; reduce the temperature for opening; install efficient solar hot water system; improve directional signage; develop deals with other community groups – like golf/swim days; develop joint kiosk with golf club.
2) Mirboo North pool: move into a community management structure; improve directional signage; develop a business plan; use council expertise and funding to work out legal ramifications over a trust to the site.
3) Free green waste: contractors to pay for dumping; turn it into a business with composting.
4) Equestrian centre: breed a Melbourne Cup winner; co-locate equestrian businesses; develop a feasibility plan; chase state and federal funding; complete the project in stages to avoid a big one-off cost.
5) Arts scene: combined promotion of galleries and events; install an arts officer at council; council run exhibitions of acquired works.
6) CSG survey: use OurSay – there’s no cost if used in next 12 months; letter drop residents.
7) Cut rates: merge with Bass Coast; develop trigger points for other community assets – not just pools; close Coal Creek; cut management positions; communicate with community more about what rates are spent on; explore different revenue streams – not just rates.
More workshops on the budget will be held in the New Year; times and dates to be confirmed.
Those sessions will concentrate on what council has heard and learnt, refining ideas to what is achievable in the 2015/16 budget and considering costs.