There were two key items in front of Council at our April Ordinary meeting and in my update to you this month I thought it would be useful to focus on these and provide some other highlights. I supported the following items and have included my explanation why.
Community Plan 2017-2021
There is no bigger and more important task that any new term of Council applies itself to than the development of a Council Plan. The new City of Greater Bendigo Community Plan 2017-2021 (formally known as the Council Plan) has been driven by the passion of the new Council. The sentiment, needs and desires expressed in our communities has now been shaped into what I believe is a user-friendly description of the strategic goals and priorities this Council term will focus on.
There is no bigger or more important task
Councillors invested many hours as we took part in numerous workshops from December to March to form the collective goals and priorities. We deployed a range of community engagement activities, in parallel with these were workshops, including use of an online survey, social media and postcards. There were several public events and listening posts and two public discussion sessions at Ulumbarra Theatre. These events and opportunities allowed us to draw heavily on feedback from our communities, as well as considering key demographic information and projections about the future growth and service requirements of our municipality.
Based on the community’s feedback, Council’s six key objectives are: Council will lead and govern for all; Wellbeing and fairness; Strengthening the economy; Presentation and managing growth; Environmental sustainability; and Embracing our culture and heritage. This is the first year of delivering on these goals for our community.
It is absolutely essential that Council tests its strategic objectives to ensure they resonate with the communities it represents. Council also ensured the recommendations from the 2016 Citizens’ Jury were strongly aligned with what we now present to the community in the draft Plan.
The draft Community Plan will be on public exhibition from April 22 to May 19, 2017 and I encourage our community members to make written submissions on this draft or make a verbal presentation in support of their written submission on May 24. Our Community Plan needs to be strong enough to last the distance, in order for this Council to maintain an unwavering commitment in pursuing these goals and to deliver on the vision:
Greater Bendigo – creating the world’s most liveable community. https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/communityplan
The way we work, how we make our decisions, pursue opportunities, maintain focus and deliver for the Greater Bendigo community will be guided by the Community Plan, our key document. It will ensure the budgets we develop, consider and approve are clearly aligned to maximising the success of operations, which after all is how Council will deliver on its commitment to the community.
The way we work, how we make our decisions, pursue opportunities, maintain focus and deliver for the Greater Bendigo community
This year’s proposed Budget includes a $58.4M investment in new projects and maintaining and renewing existing infrastructure. The Budget also invests $163.3M in continuing to fund critical services for our community through the operating Budget.
The Budget supports the six key objectives outlined in the Greater Bendigo Community Plan 2017-2021.
The proposed budget has a focus on:
As Councillors, we believe this Budget will help to achieve our vision of creating the world’s most liveable community. It invests in important large-scale infrastructure for our community, as well as smaller projects you have told us are important. It will also continue to maintain and upgrade our key infrastructure and assets like roads and footpaths, and provide everyday services to the community. You can read the detail of the proposed Budget at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/budget or collect a copy from Council offices in Lyttleton Terrace, Bendigo or High Street, Heathcote. Submissions to the proposed Budget and draft Community Plan close on Friday May 19. Anyone who makes a written submission and requests for their submission to be heard may present to Council on May 24 at the Council offices in Lyttleton Terrace from 5.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend the hearing of submissions.
Items of Interest
I supported the preparation of a planning scheme amendment to change the advertising signage controls for three sports and recreation facilities: Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Leisure Centre, Bendigo Stadium and Bendigo Tennis Centre so that appropriate signage can be considered. An important element in the amendment is the requirement of the City of Greater Bendigo to enter into an agreement with each of the facilities, and that any proposed signage on the inside or outside the centres must have prior approval of the Superintendent’s Representative. I acknowledge that local sporting groups rely on advertising signage for financial support, and this amendment intends to ensure Council can effectively and fairly manage signage in public open spaces and recreation areas.
As a Council, I believe every decision we make has the ability to influence or ‘nudge’ our citizens towards making better choices,
I believe messages, images and businesses promoted on advertising signage should send the right messages in order to not contradict better health, participation and community wellbeing that our sporting and recreational facilities ultimately stand for. As a Council, I believe every decision we make has the ability to influence or ‘nudge’ our citizens towards making better choices, and what appears on advertising signage can certainly have an impact on our choices.
Following the tender process, Nicholson Construction has been awarded the contract for the Soldiers’ Memorial Institute Revitalisation Project. The City of Greater Bendigo and the Soldiers’ Memorial Institute have been working together for approximately five years seeking to redevelop and expand the facilities. The project will result in full restoration and conservation works to the original memorial and construction of a new exhibition space.
Council approved a total of $195,851 of funding as recommended by the Community Assessment Panels for 68 applications that met the criteria in Round 2 of Community Grants 2016/2017. In the Eppalock Ward, successful applications included the Heathcote Show Society, Redesdale Recreation Reserve, Strathdale Soccer Club, Heathcote Artists, Strathdale Senior Citizens, Bendigo Amateur Radio and Electronics Club, and the Junortoun Community Action Group.
What else is happening?
I have now held three Coffee with a Councillor sessions (Strathfieldsaye, Heathcote and Axedale) and the feedback on this approach has been very positive. I look forward to meeting many more residents over a cuppa. Stay tuned on my Facebook page (Cr Yvonne Wrigglesworth, Eppalock Ward) for announcements for future dates and locations in our Ward.
I am thrilled to be appointed as Chair of the Rural Communities Committee at the inaugural meeting. I look forward to working with the enthusiastic representatives from our small towns to progress the Rural Communities Strategy and further advocate for rural and regional priorities around the Council table.
The first Eppalock Ward Tour was a highlight this month as Councillors and senior staff boarded a bus to visit communities in Redesdale, Mia Mia and Heathcote. A great opportunity to meet with groups and residents and experience first-hand issues and priorities that Council can address. Part two of the Eppalock Tour will take place later this year and include Knowsley, Axedale, Strathfieldsaye and Junortoun.
Finally you may have noticed that I have been vocal in my desire to see a smoke free environment at future community events, following my experiences of being exposed to passive smoking at the recent Easter Festival parades. I am pleased that I have received positive community feedback supporting this.
I have been vocal in my desire to see a smoke free environment at future community events,
I now look forward to the opportunity to discuss the Local Law review with my fellow Councillors in order to positively progress a Smoke Free environment at community and public events.
The next Council meeting is to be held on Wednesday May 17, 2017 at 6pm at the Bendigo Town Hall, perhaps I might see you there? Or you can tune in via the live broadcast on Phoenix FM 106.7.
Yvonne Wrigglesworth is a Councillor in the Eppalock Ward, City of Greater Bendigo Council.