Strathbogie Shire Council

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Sense of community makes Strathbogie Shire special

The environment, lifestyle and sense of community are just some of the reasons people love living in Strathbogie Shire.

Waterways, natural wildlife and atmosphere are some more.

Strathbogie Shire Council has taken to the streets this month as part of a community engagement program that will shape the region’s future.

So far face-to-face sessions – known as Share Strathbogie – have been held in Strathbogie, Nagambie, Avenel and Euroa.

The next session will be in Longwood, and following this Share Strathbogie will be in Violet Town and Ruffy (on Wednesday, March 31 from 4pm to 6pm).

Strathbogie Shire Council Mayor, Cr Chris Raeburn, said during the next nine months Council would be calling for the community to share its thoughts, feedback and advice to develop a Community Vision, Council Plan and Financial Plan.

“These important documents guide the work of Council over the coming years,” Cr Raeburn said.

“We can’t do it alone.

“We want to know that Council and our community share the same vision and are moving together towards a better future.”

There will be several stages to the community engagement program and many opportunities for the community to have a say.

The Share Strathbogie sessions are just the first stage of the engagement program, which is designed to understand what the community values.

Council is asking three broad questions about what people love about living here, what would make it better and if there is anything people could live without.

“For Council balancing service levels with liveability and cost is always a challenge,” Cr Raeburn said.

“But before we can start talking costs, we need to ensure we know what’s important to you.”

Seven Creeks Ward Cr Kristy Hourigan said the question ‘is there something you can live without’ would help Council understand the services it provides that our community does not value.

“It doesn’t mean we’re looking to take services away. It means we’re looking for ways to provide our community with the services that matter to them,” Cr Hourigan said.

Fellow Seven Creeks Ward Cr Sally Hayes-Burke said another important part of the Share Strathbogie sessions was a priority budgeting exercise.

“In this activity we’re giving people 200 points to use to prioritise infrastructure and services that matter to them,” Cr Hayes-Burke said.

“This activity is one of the ways we’re ensuring our community’s priorities are represented in our Budget and our Council Plan.”

The Strathbogie session identified Buildings and facilities; Roads, drains, bridges and footpaths and Waste management as its top infrastructure priorities, while Climate Change, Roads, drains, bridges and footpaths and the Environment are their service priorities.

At the Nagambie session Building and facilities; Roads, drains, bridges and footpaths and Major facilities that promote tourism were identified as the infrastructure priorities, while Roads, drains, bridges and footpaths; Supporting local business and Planning and development were the top service priorities.

In Avenel, Waste Management; Buildings and facilities and Aquatic facilities were identified as infrastructure priorities and Climate Change; Environment and Parks and gardens were service priorities.

Council will also be offering the opportunity for the community to have their say online and will soon be calling for people to put up their hand to be part of its first ever Community Forum.

“At the Community Forum we will use deliberative engagement methods that ensure our community is part of the decision-making process,” Cr Raeburn said.

“This is the first time our Council has used deliberative engagement practices. We’re working hard to improve our communications and engagement practice to build confidence and trust in what we do.

“We know, working with our community will mean we can achieve great things.

“Our goal is a shared vision, a common direction, a united community. With people power we can ensure our Shire - the place we already know is unbelievably special - is even better.”

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