City releases findings of Imagine Greater Bendigo stage 1 consultation
A healthy, liveable community and natural environment, our country and community feel, and history and heritage - this is what our community values most about living in Greater Bendigo now.
Looking ahead to 30 years’ time, a healthy, liveable community was again what residents want, along with a strong, sustainable and inclusive economy. Cool, shady, green streets and spaces, well-designed spaces that are mindful of our future climate, and more examples of Aboriginal culture and history also rated highly.
These were the top priorities that emerged during community consultation for stage 1 of the Imagine Greater Bendigo project, an important piece of work and a requirement under the new Local Government Act (2020) and Public Health and Wellbeing Act (2008) to inform the development of a community vision, Council Plan, Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan, and other strategic documents.
Feedback was collected across six themes – A healthy, liveable community; A strong, inclusive and sustainable economy; Aboriginal reconciliation and celebration of diversity; A healthy natural environment that promotes climate resilience; A vibrant, creative community; and A supportive community and social environment.
Approximately 1,000 people were reached as part of the consultation process, which included listening posts, ‘Imagine it – Draw it’ public art stations, long and short-form surveys on the online engagement platform Let’s Talk Greater Bendigo and postcards in English, Dinka, Dari and Karen.
More women than men completed the surveys, with the exception of the 19-30 year age bracket where there was a more even spread. Bendigo, Strathdale and Strathfieldsaye were the top locations for online engagement, representing 21 per cent of total online participation. In-person participation was highest in Kangaroo Flat, followed by Strathfieldsaye.
Mayor Cr Jennifer Alden thanked residents for their participation so far in this important planning process.
“Council is really pleased with the level of feedback received. It is very consistent with previous community engagement, including confirming concerns about the long-term impact of COVID-19 and opportunities residents see to recover from the pandemic,” Cr Alden said.
“Some new priorities that emerged during the consultation included what should be done with Hargreaves Mall, a secure water supply for the future and reference to water spaces, planning for the future, particularly regarding roads and parking, and social inclusion and infrastructure for rural communities.
“We are now using this feedback to meet with a range of special interest groups to further test what was said. We will then present this information to two groups of people as part of a community panel process, 50 people over the age of 18 who were independently selected at random and a separate group of 20 young people aged between 12 and 24 years.
“Participants will work together in May to come up with a community vision for Greater Bendigo and a set of values, based off what the community has said so far.
“We really appreciate everyone’s contribution to date. Delivery of a new community vision and Council Plan will inform the work of Council and staff for up to 10 years, so it is important the community’s views are represented. Council will release the draft Council Plan and Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan for public comment later in the year.”
To view a long or short form summary of stage 1 consultation, visit www.letstalkgreaterbendigo.com.au/imagine and see the document library on the right-hand-side of the page.