Consultation early and often will lead to better outcomes

The Editor,
The Independent,
Dear Sir/Madam

Last week saw two small shifts in the council’s decisions. The first was the change to the road-widening at Point Vernon, where tree removal will be reduced from 18 to 4. Our thanks and congratulations to the small band of responsible residents who persuaded the council to this view.

And secondly, the Torquay tennis court will apparently stay where it is, if one reads between the lines. Shifting it was always a poor idea, which I and others have been opposing consistently. Even after the now $50,000 upgrade, the ratepayers will save $100,000 and a lot of trees. Hopefully they will also keep the carpark, which is essential, especially for older people accessing nearby medical facilities.

But these changes, good as they are, simply emphasise what has been wrong with the outgoing council’s consultation all along. What is needed is broad and in-depth consultation, early in the process, before the plans are too far advanced. In the long run, this will save everyone time and effort.

Community groups shouldn’t need to be forever running rear-guard actions at the eleventh hour. And the council will benefit from the additional input, especially from experienced locals, not to mention simply having better relations with its community.

Consultation early and often will lead to better outcomes for all of us.

David Lewis
Candidate Division 6