Adelaide Plains Council held the first of three Community Engagement Forums at Dublin on Monday, April 15.
APC mayor, Mark Wasley, welcomed the 40 strong crowd made up of ratepayers, councillors and council staff, and said the event was council’s way to better engage with the community.
“We want to get better connected with the people in our area,” he said, after quipping there were more people in attendance than a John Farnham concert!
“This is also a great opportunity to engage with your local councillor,” he explained, noting all but two APC councillors were in attendance.
The format for the evening ran similar to the open forum section of a general council meeting.
“This is not a question and answer session, and it is not a debate,” mayor Wasley stated.
This process later drew criticism for falling short of actual community engagement, however attendees were generally positive in their feedback to council for staging the event and providing a platform for their issues to be aired.
Simmering issues brought to the surface included the belief coastal settlements of the region, that of Port Parham, Webb Beach, Middle Beach and Thompson Beach, were being neglected, the frequency of kerb-side waste collection, and request for the cost of asbestos clean-ups to be made public.
Alvin Jenkin of Port Parham spoke of the need to clean up the main street of Dublin.
“It is a bloody mess,” he said to a round of applause.
“This is the image Adelaide Plains Council provided to the travelling public – let’s improve the image of the council, right here, right now.”
Residents of Port Parham spoke of the large amounts of dust from the Esplanade impacting on their daily life, suggesting council look into polymer materials to address the issue as well as requesting the Solo Waste driver to slow down when doing his collection.
APC CEO, James Miller, said council will begin public consultation on the frequency of kerb-side waste collection, with some residents requesting the needs of bigger townships and the size of families to be taken into consideration when arriving at a decision.
Former councillor, Mel Lawrence, questioned council on final costs of the asbestos clean-up.
Mr Miller eagerly replied, saying the question will be addressed once confidentiality clauses that apply are investigated.
“The question is one of public interest and will be disclosed,” he said.
“If there is a way we can divulge that figure, we will.”
Feedback forms were distributed to attendees to remark on the format of the evening as well as provide further opportunity to comment on issues raised.
Speaking after the meeting, Lisa Philip-Harbutt, of Thompson Beach, noted the lack of attendance by the younger generation, saying it was mostly white-haired residents like herself, who were involved in the process.
“It’s the stalwarts of the community who are here, not your everyday citizens or ratepayers,” she said.
Ms Philip-Harbutt suggested engaging with local schools through the curriculum to encourage participation from the youth in the area.
Philip and Andrea Brow of Dublin commended the council on the evening, seeing it as a good opportunity to engage with the community.
“The presentation by council showed great development in the area, however, none of it is in Dublin, it’s not flowing this side of the fence,” Philip said.
“We’d like to see the money distributed fairly,” Susan Adams, also from Dublin, added.
“Dublin is the poor cousin of Two Wells and Mallala.”
The second community engagement forum will be held in Two Wells in August, and Mallala later in the year.
For your opportunity to engage with council, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 8527 0200.