At the nextNorthern Beaches Council meeting (9/8/16) the Community Engagement process will be announced with 11 Strategic Reference Groups to be appointed for the next 12 months, until the new Council is elected in September 2017.
These groups will replace former council committees. They are:
Economic Strategic Reference Groups
1. Affordable Housing
2. Economic Development & Tourism
3. Place Making
Environment Strategic Reference Groups
4. Natural Enviroment
5. Waste & Recovery Management
6. Sustainable Transport
Social Strategic Reference Groups
7. Art, Culture & Heritage
8. Community Safety
9. Inclusive Communities
10. Open Space & Recreation
11. Northern Beaches Youth
The Groups will be formed through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to be advertised shortly.
Each group will comprise representatives from the community, local experts and former Councillors and Mayors.
Members of the community are encouraged to apply to be part of the working committees, which will be in place for the next twelve months until the the Council elections in September 2017. Details will be on the Northern Beaches Council's website shortly. It is expected that each committee will have 12 community members and up to three former Councillors.
Fate of Manly's Resident Precinct Forums
Unfortunately the previous Resident Forum groups supported by Manly Council will no longer be recognised, or supported by Council, in their current form.
In response a number of the existing Precinct Forums have reformed as Community Forum Groups. This includes Clontarf, North Harbour Reserve, Ivanhoe and Little Manly which has merged with Fairy Bower and The Corso to represent the Eastern Hill.
The list of existing resident groups already operating in the old Warringah and Pittwater Council areas is extensive. It therefore has been decided by the new Council to invite all community groups and associations to register with the Council which will enable them to continue to play a role in council decision making.
Council Engagement Process
Raising issues with council will be via Customer Request either via email or over the counter, and will be dealt with directly by the relevant business unit. Regular email updates will also be provided.
It's a disappointing outcome for the Manly's Resident Precinct system which has provided direct access and input to council over the past 25 years as as proven and effective way for interested residents to have a say. However, it is pleasing to see that the majority of the Precincts have reformed into Community Groups and are expected to continue to be as effective as ever in dealing with the issues and needs of their areas.
One advantage will be that these groups will remain independent. When controversial issues are before Council this will mean the Council will no longer be able to dictate, threaten or attempt to control the decisions of the group. This was clearly the case with the Oval Car park plan under the former Manly Council.
What do you think of this new approach?
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.