ENVIRONMENT, sustainability and community wellbeing are top of the list of concerns from respondents to the Surf Coast Shire council’s ‘People Place Future’ survey.
More than 1200 people had their say about the future of the Surf Coast Shire in the survey, which will inform the long-term community vision for the shire, and the development of the strategic plans that will guide the council to achieve it.
This includes a new four-year Council Plan along with 10-year finance and asset management plans.
People said what they valued most in their community were protection and enhancement of the natural environment, managing growth in a sustainable way and community health and wellbeing.
The top responses on the topic of health and wellbeing were to increase physical activity, tackle climate change and its impact on health, and improve social connection, mental health and wellbeing.
When asked to comment on a vision people would like to see in about 10 years’ time for Surf Coast Shire, the most common themes were retaining a small-town feel, ensuring development did not adversely impact on township character and a community that is welcoming and inclusive, where people look out for each other.
Common responses also included living and working in an area of natural beauty and tackling climate change.
The survey concludes phase one of the People Place Future project and the focus now shifts to the work of the 35-member community panel.
Mayor Libby Stapleton welcomed members of the panel for their first online meeting last Wednesday.
“To have such a large response is a testament to the passionate interest people have in our beautiful shire and means we can proceed knowing we have a broad cross-section of views,” Cr Stapleton said.
“The panel will meet seven times between March and May and in that time they will get to explore the topics and form a consensus on the way forward. As a Council we have committed to accept the recommendations of the panel to the highest extent possible.”
The panel members will consider the feedback received during phase one as well as material provided by council and other organisations. This includes a background report which sets out 12 dilemmas facing council and the community.
Dilemmas include financial sustainability, climate change, growth, the economy, tourism and events, housing affordability, land use, asset management, health and wellbeing, respecting Indigenous culture, accessibility and diversity, art, culture and heritage.