The future Central Coast Council must invest in information and communication technology infrastructure, smart mobile apps and improved communication protocols to successfully engage with the community, according to Ms Claire Braund, Next Generation Independents’ candidate in Gosford East.
Ms Braund said that over and again the main concern she was hearing across the ward was, “how are councillors going to hear me?” “This is being driven by the size of our merged Council and the fact that many individuals and groups appear to have simply given up trying to connect with Council officers on local issues,” she said. Ms Braund said she was hearing that frustration around poor and one-way communication was at a peak in many communities, and one of the first actions of Council had to be mechanisms for communication.
She said she would like this to include establishing ward or precinct committees fed by local groups, such as Progress Associations, Sports and Member Clubs that would inform on multiple, not just single, issues, and have Council officers as well as councillors as members. “It makes total sense to use local knowledge and understanding to collaborate to fi x local problems, many of which are only small, but really impact people’s quality of life and capacity to live and work in their communities,” Ms Braund said. “It is quite likely that by combining the resources of Council and the ingenuity of local people and groups, you will come up with innovative solutions that don’t cost the earth or take years to deliver.”
Ms Braund said she planned to take a strategic approach to communicating with people in her ward, setting aside a designated half-day each week, and several hours on a Saturday, for meetings and discussions in her Gosford CBD office, at Council or on site. “As this will be in addition to the time spent on council committees, at site visits and in Council meetings, it will be critical to ensure local councillors have access to the right technologies to set up meetings and manage interactions with constituents.” If elected to Council, there were numerous issues that could be tackled immediately to take pressure off the local community.
She would reduce to fi ve the number of objections required for a development application to be automatically referred to a meeting of the Central Coast Council for determination. Reviewing capital works budgets for local infrastructure, such as storm water drains, parks and playgrounds, to ensure a better balance and adequate maintenance of these crucial services was another measure she would like to see the new council adopt immediately. She would also push to prioritise the proper dredging of Ettalong Channel with State Government and Council officers.
“I will lobby the Federal Government and service providers to the point of distraction over the mobile black spot and NBN concerns,” she said. Improving access for local groups and all ratepayers to key Council executives and managers is another initiative Ms Braund would strive to take immediately if elected. “Building partnerships and strong communication between Council and ratepayers and residents is going to be critical to the functioning of our $800 million local organisation,” Ms Braund said. “So choose your councillors with care.”
Source: Media release, Aug 22 Claire Braund, Next Generation Independent, Gosford East Ward