As a precautionary measure, Snowy Monaro Regional Council has halted its community engagement events.
“Based on overseas experiences the impacts of the virus could be dramatic. On top of the bushfires, we have recently been through this will test the resilience of many people in our community,” said Mayor Peter Beer. “What we are being told is that slowing the spread will save lives and this means looking at how Council should be changing what it is doing to help this happen.
One area under scrutiny is public gatherings. “After considering NSW Government recommendations and observing the steps our local communities have taken in recent days in regards to nonessential meetings, staff were able to establish clear, safe guidelines around Council hosted events.” Council’s Mayor Peter Beer set out. “It is clear that our community is already taking action to slow the spread of the virus, with the number of local events cancelled growing each day. Council has to support this approach.”
Each engagement that the Council had planned will be reviewed to see how they can be undertaken online or whether they need to be deferred. “This is a tough decision as there are projects like the Local Strategic Planning Statement, which rely heavily on input from the community to guide their development.” Mayor Beer stated, pointing out that this was an opportunity for the Council to build on alternative engagement options.
“We should use this time as productively as we can to ensure that we can keep moving forward with providing the strategies, services and project that the community wants to see delivered,” said Mayor Beer. He hopes that people will come on board and embrace the alternate engagements methods staff will roll out over the coming weeks.
Council is closely monitoring the spread of the virus, using the available data to trigger its responses. At this stage, the changes to engagement are the only changes to services, but this may change as the pandemic spreads into the region.