SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

WITH the surge in COVID-19 cases we’ve been having lately, more particularly in Bass Coast, it’s hard not to focus on it, especially as businesses go down for lack of staff, absences impact sports and we’re forced to adjust our lifestyle to stay safe.

It’s so prevalent now, that we all have direct experience with family members or friends who’ve had it.
But we’ve got to get on with the job as well and that goes for the private sector as well as government departments, the local shires and other authorities.

Bass Coast Shire Council has a lot on its plate with the pace of growth in that municipality and the provision of community infrastructure, such as better sporting and community facilities, together with the release of more land for new housing, are among the priorities.

The pandemic is no excuse for not making progress in these key areas.

And South Gippsland Shire Council too has a lot of ground to make up after the time lost, especially engaging with the community, between elected councils.

They appear to be going about it the right way, offering the community the opportunity to provide their input into the ‘Community Vision 2040’ project and a more immediate survey, coming out soon, on what you’d like to see happening now.

Hopefully the two processes don’t become confused, and we suffer from survey fatigue.

At the same time as the community is being asked for its thoughts, the new council is getting down to the business of developing its Council Plan for the next three years and beyond.

There’s a lot of planning going on, but hopefully the shire is getting on with the job of completing its program of works in the meantime.

But it’s important to get the planning and focus of council right because it can help set the tone for the sort of community and environment we want to see in South Gippsland.

Safety, fresh air, family values. Jobs, community services, attractive towns. Volunteers, sporting facilities, access to the coast and enough land for housing where we need it. But not forgetting the importance of farming.
There’s a lot to consider, however while community input is important, we expect council to look outside the local area for inspiration and ideas, to draw on the expertise of others skilled in planning and delivery to come up with a framework, full of projects and programs that can be delivered ASAP.

These processes aren’t an opportunity for latte sipping, thought bubbles and the production of glossy, dust-collecting reports.

If this process doesn’t inject a sense of urgency into our administrators about the pressing work ahead, it’s not helping anyone.