A new 20-year blueprint for growing a connected, healthy and vibrant Sunshine Coast was endorsed by council today (November 14).
The Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 will provide the platform for how council, the community and other tiers of government will work together to enable the region to become a fairer place with more opportunities for all.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson acknowledged that the adoption of the community strategy – along with council’s decision a few weeks ago to proceed with a UNESCO Biosphere nomination – are arguably, the two most significant decisions which council will make this year.
“Council wants to see the Sunshine Coast as a strong community that is connected, engaged and inclusive – a place where together we thrive,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our community strategy outlines what we can, and will, do as a local government, and how we will go about it.
“At its foundation are strong social justice principles – equity of access, the efficacy of human dignity and a level playing field – so everyone can benefit as the region continues to grow and change.
“As the Sunshine Coast grows to over 500,000 people and the resourcing available to the human services sector becomes increasingly constrained and competitive, our council has recognised that more needs to be done in a holistic sense and with a focus on newly emerging challenges and opportunities.
“Our community strategy provides an effective blueprint and policy levers to bring the key stakeholders together and ensure there is a common platform and community-oriented agenda that we are working from.
“Throughout the course of the last 18 months, we have worked with a wide range of stakeholders on the development of this strategy.
“From many community organisations, mums and dads, young people, service providers, local business owners and council staff, just to name a few – because we want to make sure the community is a clear beneficiary as the region grows and matures.
Specifically, the community strategy aims to achieve five outcomes:
•To empower our community to live healthy and active lifestyles
•Ensure our community places and spaces are vibrant, inclusive, accessible and adaptable, and meet the needs of people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds
•Strengthen connection, inclusion, awareness and opportunity for everyone in our community
•Build capacity in our communities to be connected, resilient and to respond to local issues
•Nurture creative and innovative approaches to building a strong community.
Mayor Jamieson said the community strategy will be implemented through delivery of the first five-year Community Strategy Action Plan 2019-2024, which will in turn guide council’s annual operational planning.
“The action plan outlines our key priorities in order to achieve the outcomes in our strategy, along with a clear approach to regular measuring and reporting of our progress,” Mayor Jamieson said.
Council engaged with approximately 1600 people over two phases of engagement, through a range of methods, including pop-up stalls at community events, focus groups, surveys and stakeholder forums.
Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay thanked everyone who contributed to the development of the community strategy and supporting action plan.
“In developing our strategy, we asked what a strong community means to the people of the Sunshine Coast,” Cr McKay said.
“Our communities’ voices have been heard and have influenced the vision, outcomes and actions this strategy encompasses.
“We now look forward to working collaboratively to strengthen the fabric and vitality of our communities.
“Together we can build a more connected and inclusive community – a strong community, where we all thrive.”
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) Chief Executive Officer Mark Henley said that while many councils have economic strategies, any economic strategy will be stronger for being underpinned by a community strategy to ensure that everyone in the community is engaged and supported.
“It is important that a community strategy is developed by the community, for the community,” Mr Henley said.
“Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that their community is inclusive and accessible and a great place to live.
“At QCOSS, we believe in equality, opportunity and wellbeing for every person, in every community, so we congratulate council for building their community strategy on principles that strengthen connection, inclusion and opportunity”.