Annual reflections from Dardanup Shire President Mick Bennett

Council adopted its 2020-21 Annual Report in December. In the document, which presents like a scorecard on outcomes delivered between 1 July, 2020 and 30 June, 2021, our Shire President Mick Bennett shared the following reflections …

There’s something really significant that stands out when I consider Council’s activity and performance over the 2020/21 reporting period. Community conversations.

Over the past 12 months, consultation with our community has occurred at a higher rate than any other time I can remember. From our new series of Place-based and Topic-based Advisory Groups meeting regularly throughout the year, to targeted workshops, surveys and use of our new cutting edge online consultation platform called Connect Dardanup via Social Pinpoint, making it easier and more convenient for residents to have their say, we’ve had a lot of conversations!

TOPICS WE COVERED:

  • Community Satisfaction
  • Burekup Community Facilities Plan
  • Dardanup Community Facilities Plan
  • Ferguson Valley & Surrounds Community Facilities Plan
  • Eaton/Millbridge Community Facilities Plan
  • Place & Community Plan
  • Sport & Recreation Plan
  • Health Plan
  • Peninsula Lakes Master Plan
  • Cadell and Lofthouse Playgrounds
  • Youth

The best part of all this consultation is residents can see for themselves how their participation has guided and driven project outcomes. In our Annual Report 2020-21 report you will read about Council’s adoption of four Community Facilities Plans which set out short, medium and longer term priorities for our communities in Dardanup, Burekup, Eaton/Millbridge and Ferguson Valley & Surrounds.

These facilities plans were broadly advertised to the community seeking input on proposed projects and priorities. The plans now provide clarity for the future and listed priorities will be incorporated into detailed planning and programming of works for relevant Asset Management Plans and future Budgets.

To ensure youth in the Shire have an opportunity to share their ideas, skills, views and contributions to the community with Council, an active Youth Advisory Group was also formed involving local young people aged 12-24 years.

COMMUNITY PRIORITIES

Our Markyt Community Scorecard community survey undertaken in May identified these areas as priorities for residents:

  • Safety and crime prevention
  • Youth services and facilities
  • Playgrounds, parks and reserves
  • Growth and development
  • Local roads
  • Seniors’ services and care
  • Conservation and environment
  • Footpaths, trails and cycle ways
  • Lighting of streets, public places; and
  • Sport and recreation.

There are already a number of projects underway and also about to be completed which will address some of these priority areas. I was heartened by the survey’s ‘Overall Performance Index Score’ of 73 out of 100 which is presented as a combined measure of the Shire of Dardanup as a ‘place to live’ and as a ‘governing organisation’. This was seven index points above the Industry Average and four below the Industry High.

Cognisant of our community’s ongoing need for support, particularly as the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt, Council adjusted its Financial Hardship Policy to provide relief mechanisms for community members and ratepayers in need.

EVENTS POLICY

Encouraging more community-based activities and streamlining the process for grants applications was the aim of a new Events Policy adopted by Council. Our Events program was also reviewed in consultation with relevant groups including our Place-based Advisory Groups. Throughout the year we have had almost 12,000 people attend our program of community events.
Council reviewed its Community Grants & Events Policy and has awarded a total of $72,677 during 2020/21 to a variety of community groups, clubs and organisations.

NEW COMMUNITY HUB, LIBRARY AND SHIRE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING

During 2020-21 progress continued towards developing this important new facility for our community. Lands Minister Ben Wyatt gave his approval for Council’s purchase of Lot 601 Council Drive from the State Government for $1 plus GST and it was officially transferred in freehold to the Shire of Dardanup in March 2021.
This allows Council to continue with its plans to sell the Lot to Citygate for $5 million plus a parcel of land of over 3,000m2, where our new building will be constructed. The sale also facilitates the future expansion of Eaton Fair Shopping Centre in accordance with the endorsed Eaton Activity Centre Plan.

THANK YOU!

Thank you to all those community members who took the time to participate in any of our various consultations. Your input ensures we continue to improve our planning and service delivery in a way that addresses community priorities which increases support and collaboration.

Cr Mick Bennett
SHIRE PRESIDENT

You can read the full 2020-21 Annual Report on this page of our website.