Community talked, Murray Bridge council listened

Story so far: On behalf of the Murray Bridge council, Martin Smallridge, Michael Sedgman and Janice Blair present summaries of the public input received during the Let's Talk consultation.
Story so far: On behalf of the Murray Bridge council, Martin Smallridge, Michael Sedgman and Janice Blair present summaries of the public input received during the Let's Talk consultation.

THE first phase of the Murray Bridge council's Let's Talk consultation came to a close at a public meeting on Wednesday night.

More than 3000 comments collected from members of the public coalesced into four pin-up boards full of ideas that were set out on display.

Under headings including "great people and lifestyle", "dynamic economy" and "valued environment", dozens of short notes set out Murray Bridge's strengths and needs.

The city's facilities, peaceful setting and community-minded people were most commonly cited as its greatest attributes.

On the wish lists were better transport, more artistic opportunities, riverfront tourism and events, improvements to Bridge Street, and basic items such as more bins and toilets.

The comments will be taken into account during the program's next phase: the development of a community plan that will guide council actions for the next 15 years.

Mayor Brenton Lewis said the program was about articulating a shared vision of Murray Bridge's future.

"What we hope to get from this is: what are the main things you're saying we need to take in, budget for, set policy for and keep coming back to?" he said.

He said the community plan based on the public comments collected during Let's Talk - a plan which would set out a platform for the current and future councils - would be finalised early next year.

"With that, we've got a license to get on and run the business (of council) and know we've got community support," he said.

"We've got the advice we need to get on and make decisions, and that's what you elected us to do."

While he said the public had not embraced the campaign on a huge scale, the responses gained had still been valuable.

"We haven't had huge crowds, we've had good crowds: serious people who are prepared to speak up, genuine in what they say and supportive," he said.

Council chief executive officer Michael Sedgman said the community plan would inform the council's four-yearly strategic plans, which would in turn filter down into annual business plans and day-to-day actions. "It's about trying to give us a long-term aim we can deliver year."

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