Working with the local community was the focus of an “Our Town” workshop held recently at Dublin, where identifying areas for development and providing support for local groups to plan and implement strategic goals was key.
Held at Dublin Cricket Club’s new clubrooms on Wednesday March 24, the event was facilitated by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Barossa Gawler Light Adelaide Plains with support from the Adelaide Plains Council and the Adelaide Plains Business Advisory Group (APBAG).
Around 25 people attended the workshop, which was led by RDA facilitator, Maz McGann, who spoke about similar workshops being held in communities across the country.
Social, economic, cultural and/or environmental pathways were identified during the workshop, with a range of information regarding a number of projects and resources presented to those in attendance.
Breaking into small groups, participants discussed the strengths, challenges and opportunities the area provided, with seafood, fishing and crabbing as well as boating activities and the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (AIBS) high on the list of strengths.
The construction of a caravan park for the township was a hot topic, with discussion also centering around the history of the Jinkers at Parham and capitalising on Dublin’s position on a major transport corridor and its close proximity to Adelaide and the Barossa region.
Living in a supportive and connected community that offered essential shopping and meals, as well as a unique coastline and beaches was also stressed.
Some of the challenges brought up through the workshop included a lack of accommodation in the area, no swimming pool, unsealed roads and maintaining environmental sustainability through thoughtful development.
A lack of clarity around a brand for the area and a need for clear directional signage and entry signage for the towns along Port Wakefield Road was also brought up.
Participants looked at what kinds of things could be done “now” to attract visitors to the area and promote the region as a whole.
They included refreshing the Samphire Coast brand and promoting the region as a destination, developing a relationship with the South Australian Tourism Commission, staging family-friendly outdoor events, conducting fishing and crabbing workshops and tours; and holding guided walking tours that focus on plant-life and shore birds.
Adelaide Plains Business Advisory Group (APBAG) chairperson, Ian O’Loan, said he was pleased at the input given by the participants, saying the vibe was a positive one.
“The input really reaffirmed the knowledge that some people have had for some time about the area,” Mr O’Loan said.
“There were interesting comments about how Dublin can be used as a stepping stone to the Samphire Coast and the potential for a real caravan parking facility at Dublin on the national highway.”
Mr O’Loan said talks also centered around local businesses working to improve their shopfronts to encourage people to stop in the town.
“It was good to see how the locals interacted with the facilitators, they really opened up about their comments and opportunities, and the shortfalls of the area,” he said.
“It’s the next step to moving forward to implementing some of these suggestions and the business advisory group in conjunction with RDA will be doing that in the next few months.”
Mr O’Loan said the workshop also highlighted a need for affordable housing options for potential workers that may be induced to come and work in the area in the future.