I must be getting old and confused.
I seemed to have completely missed the most important community consultation process that has taken place in Bass Coast for many years.
A little over a year ago Bass Coast Council adopted a new Community Engagement Strategy, I understand at a cost of approximately $30,000.
The policy states that council will be required to consider community engagement when, amongst other things, a decision has a significant budgetary impact or involves a level of conflict, controversy or sensitivity.
In her latest Mayor’ Message Cr Crugnale states, as a matter of fact, that Bass Coast is to introduce a three bin waste system, including organics.
I only have a limited knowledge of the proposed system, but understand that it will result in a significant increase in the cost of waste services to every ratepayer, will reduce standard garbage collections to fortnightly and will require ratepayers to further sort their rubbish and maintain extra bins.
The total cost to ratepayers over 10 years will be in the tens of millions of dollars.
Clearly there can have been no more important issue to have triggered the new Community Engagement Process.
It has been suggested that the council’s Waste Management Strategy development was the opportunity for public comment, but this is obviously not true because the three bin policy had not been developed at the time.
The only conclusion that I can reach, other than that council has already ditched its $30,000 Community Engagement Policy, is that I somehow missed the consultation process.
For those who were involved, I wonder if any of them can help answer some of the questions that immediately spring to mind:
• What is the additional cost to each ratepayer compared to current practice?
• How will council accommodate those people who have excess standard garbage and cannot cope with fortnightly collections?
• Were all stakeholders, except me, obviously, contacted and given the opportunity to comment on the details of the plan?
• What were the results of any surveys seeking feedback on the three bin system?
• Given that council trials have shown only a few people are prepared to pay for a green bin, what made the majority change their minds?
• Did anyone keep the council communications that answered these questions?
Keith Finney, Inverloch