Saturday, April 13, 2019

Council "more open" after shutting the door

Councillors Salt and Power.
THE door has been shut on public forums at Derwent Valley Council meetings in New Norfolk, which have been replaced by "listening posts" at public events starting with tomorrow's Autumn Festival.

Moving the adoption of the new community forums schedule at last month's council meeting, Cr Rachel Power said she was aware the proposed changes had been the subject of much discussion.

"I know that this has brought a lot of conjecture, a lot of people are calling it a shut down of council, I think it's actually more an open-up of council," Cr Power said.

"We can see that it actually gives more opportunity and a difference in opportunity, as well as regional forums, local forums, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more rather than a lot less," she said.

The motion was seconded by Cr Anne Salt, who said she fully supported the new schedule. "It certainly is an attempt to address the communication issues that have occurred between the council and the community," she said.

While the motion brings an end to public forums at council meetings in New Norfolk, Cr Power said she hoped additional forums would be added to the schedule, and Cr Salt asked that a feedback session be held at the end of the roster "so that we hear from the community whether these sessions have worked for them and that we make adjustments as necessary."

RELATED:
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COUNCIL FORUMS LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY
FORUMS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK AGAIN

The next speaker, Cr Martyn Evans, said he did not support the previous attempt to end the New Norfolk forums and would not be doing so now. He said he had enjoyed them public forums during his time as mayor and he would prefer to see them added to the proposed calendar of events.

With the remaining councillors choosing not to speak, Cr Power closed the debate by saying it was good to see that the council was willing to try new things "and not just stay the 'same old same old' that we have. I think this is a really good first step towards that and not just for us as a council but also for the community in seeing that we're doing something different and trying new things too," she said.

The new schedule, proposed by council communications officer Daniel Cheetham, sees an end to public forums prior to council meetings in New Norfolk, but they will continue at council meetings held at Granton, Westerway, Maydena, Lachlan, Bushy Park and Molesworth.

Replacing the New Norfolk forums are quarterly "listening posts" to be attended by councillors and staff on a rotating basis, as well as quarterly "general manager face-to-face sessions".

When put to the vote, the motion was carried 4-2 with two councillors absent. Councillors Power, Salt, Triffett and Cosgrove supported the motion and Councillors Evans and Browning opposed it.

The first Council Listening Post will be at the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival tomorrow (Sunday), which runs from 9am-4pm on the Esplanade at New Norfolk. The listening post will operate from 11am until at least 2pm. 

1 comment:

  1. What a crap 'listening post' at the festival - no bloody privacy and so noisy. Stupid idea

    ReplyDelete