Only 40 people use workshops to shape council direction

ONLY about 40 people took the time to share their thoughts about the area’s future during workshops last week.

The workshops were one way for the community to provide feedback about their priorities to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

Their thoughts will feed into the development of the council’s delivery program between 2013 and 2017.

The online option is more popular with 200 people already completing the web-based survey.

Residents Action Network president Sandy McClimont attended the Laurieton workshop on Friday.

“A few people commented it was more of the same that was going on four years ago,” Ms McClimont said. “But were were glad of the opportunity so we could let the council staff know face to face about the things that worried us.”

That included the roads and the lack of progress about Kew beautification work.

Ms McClimont said it was good to see Cr Geoff Hawkins at the Laurieton workshop.

She encouraged the community to get involved in the continuing online consultation process. Meanwhile, community volunteer and former councillor candidate Tin Nu said she thought the Laurieton workshop would have been an open discussion rather than a structured forum.

Ms Nu said crucial items, such as small business and youth, should have been more discussed. Some of her friends chose to comment online. Ms Nu said the numbers at the council workshops reflected the amount of people disinterested in community matters. The council held four face-to-face workshops with 24 people attending two sessions in Port Macquarie, 11 attending in Laurieton and three in Wauchope. 

Port Macquarie-Hastings Mayor Peter Besseling said the council’s Hastings Horizons workshops and community engagement campaign provided an excellent opportunity to connect with residents and listen to their feedback.

“All those who attended the workshops, including many who were new to council’s community consultation process, were happy with a meaningful opportunity to have a say and contribute to the planning priorities for our council,” Cr Besseling said.

“Additionally, council staff went to the people at the community Christmas street parade and tree lighting event and engaged with several hundred people in the priority planning process.”

Residents have until December 7 to complete the online survey at 

pmhclistening.com.au/hastingshorizons

The feedback will set the foundation for a draft report to the April council meeting.

The report, outlining the council’s four-year delivery program and the operational priorities for the 2013-14 financial year, will go on exhibition in May.

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