IT’S JUST over 10 years now since my wife and I bought a property in the area. At the time one of the main reasons we chose Bass Coast to live was its proximity to Melbourne. We imagined we would spend most of the time we were down here getting our property into shape and then be going back up to the city regularly to spend time with our friends and getting a cultural fix.
And then we started meeting and interacting with the locals. It didn’t take long to realise we’d (rather unwittingly) struck gold and we haven’t looked back since. We’ve been blown away by the welcome we’ve received from the amazing and talented local community. So when we decided to downsize recently there was no thought of moving any further than the nearest town to see out the rest of our days here. (I’ve even picked out the spot where I’d like my ashes to be scattered.)
It’s proved to be an intense but rewarding exercise. We’ve met for four evening sessions on Zoom and for a day-long session face to face (or rather mask to mask!) which we managed to sneak in between lockdowns. We have been ably assisted by Cindy, Alice and others from Conversation Caravan with expert input and guidance from a large number of council staff.
We started off rather cautiously as we got to know each other, were given a seemingly overwhelming amount of information, and became clearer about the task at hand – not to mention the challenges thrown up by the fact that our early sessions were online so initially we only knew each other as images on a screen. But gradually, as a result of the commitment of those involved and the good-natured way in which our discussions were conducted we developed a document which represents a fair consensus of our opinions, aspirations and concerns for the future.
All the ideas that we put forward, debated, reviewed, and refined have been summarised in five sections.
First there is our overall vision for Bass Coast in 2041.
Then we have dealt in more detail with four key areas,
- Healthy and Inclusive Communities;
- Natural Environment and Climate Emergency;
- Access and Movement; and
- Education, Creative Economy, Tourism and Industry.
For each key area, we have outlined our desired goal (where we would like the shire to be in 2041) as an aspiration statement. This is followed by a series of priorities which we think need to be dealt with to reach the target.
And now we would like you to read and comment on our Draft Bass Coast Community Vision. Remember, you’re not only commenting on what we’ve produced, this is your chance to tell us, and more importantly the council, what you think the shire should be like in the future.
You have till September 8 to provide your feedback. In this section our statements are repeated and there are spaces provided for you to make your comments.
And there’s more … no steak knives but a request! As a reader of the Bass Coast Post you’re likely to be well connected so I would encourage you to pass on details of the survey and where it can be accessed around your many networks. The more responses we get from as many sections of the community as possible the more valuable this exercise will have been.
Finally, if you would like a hard copy of the survey or require any assistance with it, please contact Ann Selby, the Community Engagement Advisor at the Bass Coast Shire Council. You can reach her on 5671 2211 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Harry Freeman was a member of the community consultation group for Bass Coast Shire Council’s 20-year plan.