Residents and Visitors Contribute Views to Shape Future of Surf Coast

Community, culture and connection are just some of the priorities for residents and visitors to the Surf Coast participating in a major survey about where and how they live – and the kind of future they’d like to see.

Survey submissions are still open as part of People Place Future – the Surf Coast Shire’s major engagement and strategy project.

The project includes the creation of a 10-year community vision for the shire plus the development of several strategic documents: the four-year Council Plan and Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan, plus financial and asset plans.

“I think everyone needs to have a voice and a survey is really a way for all of us to have a voice rather than just one certain group of people,” Surfcoast Angels founder Nicole Dickmann said.

“Connection is vital for a healthy community so that we can look after one another and be aware of what’s going on around us. Connected and caring communities keep people well.”

Team manager of the Bellarine Ambulance Branch Claire Osborn says culture is an important factor for making the Surf Coast a fantastic place to raise her family.

“For me, it’s about the surfing culture, the arts culture, the sustainability that the community is striving to achieve,” Ms Osborn said. Survey participant and yoga teacher Priti Rathod values the natural beauty the Surf Coast has to offer.

“The beach is my main connection to nature. It helps me to feel open. I see the opportunities. I see the purpose of my life. For me, community is unity and unity is strength.”

People Place Future will feature two major community engagement phases – the first being broad based or participatory, the second being a deliberative process centred on a representative community panel.

The first phase is open until Sunday 28 February and invites people to provide their big picture ideas for the future of the shire, and to answer questions on what they value in their local community.

Feedback received during this phase will be provided to a 35-member community panel during the second phase of engagement – known as the deliberative phase.

The panel will meet between March and May and will be guided by an independent facilitator. The panel will review the feedback received in the first phase and will explore the topics in depth through a series of on-line meetings, calling on additional data and expertise as they see fit.

Then the panel will prepare a recommendation report to be handed to the Council.

Surf Coast Shire Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton said the Council was pleased to see residents and visitors taking the time to make sure their voices are heard.

“We’d love to hear your thoughts by taking a few minutes to fill out our People, Place, Future survey,” Cr Stapleton said.

“This is an important opportunity for our community to share what matters most to them about where and how they live and the future they would like to see.”

The People Place Future survey is available at www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/peopleplacefuture.

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