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Why isn't Council using it's Community Engagement Framework

Dear Beagle Editor, In February 2017 Council adopted a new community engagement framework and charter at outlining how Council will engage with residents about projects, plans, and major issues that have an impact on the community. The adopted framework provides guidance for best practice in planning, designing and evaluating community engagement activities, while the charter sets out expectations of both Council and the community. In a Council media release Mayor Liz Innes said how best to engage with the community was an issue Council had grappled with in the past. “This framework gives greater clarity to the community as to how they can expect we will engage with them in the future,” she said. “For us this is a step forward in ensuring that we wholeheartedly collaborate and engage with our community. “Sometimes in the past we were criticised about how we engaged with our community and sometimes we have received positive feedback. This framework clearly sets out the pathway for genuine consultation.” In that same media release Council’s General Manager Catherine Dale said Council was committed to engaging with the community, however it was important to remember that engagement was a two-way street. “Council works hard at communicating to the community through many different channels but the community also has a role to play,” she said. “We ask community members to proactively access information, get involved in Council activities, be prepared to listen to new ideas and share their thoughts and feedback with us. “There are always going to be different viewpoints on the best way to do things, and there will be decisions of Council that not everyone agrees with. They are constant challenges for all decision-makers, but that is democracy at work.”

With all that in mind and with all the other questions surrounding the Mackay Park project, the consultants and the coverage of Council's consultation i wrote the following letter that your readers might like to consider. General Manager,

I write seeking an explanation as to why 3 quotes were not sought from consultants in regard to the Mackay Park development – a mandatory requirement of council’s Code of Practice for Procurement.

I would also like to know why submissions on the draft concept plan were not sought from the community.

Such a large expensive development impacts all ratepayers, as we will be paying for future ongoing costs whether we utilise the facility or not.

It would rate Level 4 or 5, High Impact in council’s Community Engagement Framework(CEF).

I believe many of the principles of the CEF have not been met.

For example:

In regard to the letter to schools seeking support for grant funding, that did not include the concept plan – “Did participants get all the information they needed to provide meaningful input?” (CEF)

Yours Sincerely

Patricia Gardiner

Deua River Valley Editors Note: We attempted to provide a link directly to Council's Procurement Code of Practice however it was not on Council's website. A copy of the Code in full can be found HERE for your information.

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