FOR the second time in five years, the Murray Bridge community is being asked to imagine its ideal future.
Unlike the Imagine Your Rural City 2020 campaign, though, new initiative Let’s Talk has a specific end point in mind: the production of a written community plan that will guide the council until 2030.
Mayor Brenton Lewis said the differences between the two campaigns would become clear over the coming months.
“I think we dropped the ball (with Imagine), frankly, we lost the inertia and didn’t follow it through,” he said.
“This is not the same process ... this is more modest, more within the control of our current resources, not an empty promise, not 2020 rebadged.”
Council chief executive officer Michael Sedgman said Let’s Talk would add to the progress Imagine had made.
“We’re building on top of what’s come before, but need to take account of new technology and new ideas in our community,” he said.
He defended the council against an accusation it was heavy on talk and light on action, saying proof of outcomes could be found in the council’s annual business plans.
Several dozen people gathered at the Murray Bridge Community Club on Thursday to launch the initiative and contribute their ideas about the city’s strengths and weaknesses.
Through notes on storyboards, they said unemployment and community engagement were the biggest problems facing Murray Bridge, followed by river health and a lack of education opportunities, affordable housing and public transport.
Their suggestions for the future included a greater focus on the arts, help for small businesses and more activities for young people.
Similar themes emerged during a telephone survey of 650 residents, a statistical sample of the population, in April.
The project has already led to a redesign of the council’s website and, to the relief of several councillors, the introduction of a council Facebook page.
A draft of the 2030 community plan should be produced by the new year and adopted next March.
- Details: To have your say about the city’s future, email email@example.com or phone 8539 1100.
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