Council to consider community panel recommendations
June 29, 2021
A community panel established to support Colac Otway Shire Council’s development of a Community Vision and Council Plan has presented its recommendations to Councillors at the June meeting.
The panel of 24 people were randomly selected from the ratepayer database to represent a broad cross-section of the Colac Otway community, representative of different ages, genders, backgrounds, and geographic areas of the shire.
The panel worked to help refine the information Council had gathered through a comprehensive community engagement process which involved drop-in sessions at 12 locations across Colac Otway, an online survey, stakeholder interviews with community, business and agency partners and a youth summit of 49 students.
The community panel made five sets of recommendations to Council which included:
- broad principles (economy, environment and community);
- over-arching recommendations;
- housing recommendations;
- environment recommendations; and
- assets and services recommendations.
Colac Otway Shire Mayor Kate Hanson thanked the panel for their time and participation toward the deliberative community process.
“Council wishes to thank all participants, we’re grateful to all members of the community panel who took part in this process. It was pleasing to receive positive feedback from the group that they found the experience gave them a better understanding of Council and their community.
“The next step in the process is for Council to consider the recommendations from the panel.
“The recommendations have been informed by feedback received in the results of the broader community engagement process and have good alignment with Council’s strategic direction.
“A priority for this Council is creation of opportunities for more housing in the shire and a commitment to opening up land for residential development, which is covered in detail in the panel’s recommendations.
“Council’s work to protect the environment with initiatives such as our commitment to adapting Council operations to become one of the first Victorian rural municipalities to reach a carbon neutral target, is also of great importance to our community.
“The panel recommends Council continues to lead by example and best practice to show the community what can be achieved to help preserve and protect the environment and Colac Otway region.
“The recommendations, along with planning for strategic growth, increasing advocacy support at a State and Federal level and providing opportunities for our community to live, learn and grow within Colac Otway outline great guiding principles to support Council in the development of our strategic plans.
“Council is committed to considering the recommendations in the development of the Community Vision, Council Plan and the Health and Wellbeing Plan,” Cr Hanson said.
The deliberative engagement process will also inform Council’s 10-year Asset Plan, 10-Year Financial Plan and Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan.
Colac Otway Shire Council will prepare a draft Council Plan, Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan and Community Vision, once available the strategic documents will be put on public exhibition and the community invited to make submissions.
A full list of the community panel’s recommendations presented to Council is available on Council’s website.