By Michael Giles
IF THERE’S one thing that the community consultation process being undertaken by the Bass Coast Shire Council, across the whole region at the moment makes clear, it’s just how badly the previous council read the wants and desires of its community.
Take last Saturday, for example.
The shire’s communications team set up one of its ‘pop-up’ consultation events at the Inverloch Parkrun, as part of the ‘Help Shape a Better Bass Coast’ process and the “massive repeat theme”, according to Bunurong Ward Councillor, Julian Brown, was the coastal pathway.
Admittedly, they were meeting with a group of people, 220 or more, who like nothing more than getting out for a run or a walk along the beautiful Inverloch foreshore.
But they’re not on their own.
The pathway, such as it is, extending all the way from Cuttriss Street in the east of the town, to the new bridge across Ayr Creek, is the best used facility in the town.
It should be extended at least to the RACV Resort, they say.
“It’s an absolute no-brainer that it should be extended,” Cr Brown said.
“It’s a massive repeat theme for Inverloch, not just here this morning but right through.
“Another one is the ‘no expansion of the town boundary’ theme but the footpath, definitely.”
So how is it that the previous council could have wasted so much time, so much effort and so much money second-guessing such an obvious thing as that?
It beggars belief but it’s an indication of just how poorly out of touch they were right across the shire.
Of course there are obvious issues like that throughout the shire after the disastrous term of the previous council and the ‘Help Shape a Better Bass Coast’ process is establishing many reoccurring themes that will, hopefully, be brought to the fore by the new council when preparing their council plan for the next four years.
But funds have got to come from somewhere, and having built community expectation through this process, they are going to have to find more and more efficiencies within the council administration, its existing processes, services and lower-down priorities to deliver the “no brainer” outcomes that Cr Brown was talking about at Inverloch last Saturday.
The council continued on with another pop-up consultation booth at the Kilcunda Lobster Festival on Sunday and they took their travelling road show to Kernot on Monday this week for one last community session.
The event has been a spectacular success so far but the proof will be in the pudding – what the community gets out of it in the next four years.