Council has a lot of rules but which ones should we care about and ensure we put in our two cents’ worth?
With Council rules, the ‘one ring to rule them all’ is the Community Strategic Plan, which sets Council’s broad directions and priorities for the next four years, looking ahead also to the next 20 years. Councils are the only level of government which has such a steering document.
Other plans and strategies come under the strategic plan, nesting like Russian dolls – such as the four-year ‘delivery program’ and the one-year ‘operational plan’. These have to fit into the overarching priorities of the Community Strategic Plan.
The Gazette met with the Mayor and Council staff Laurie Mifsud, Matt Owens and Jeff Organ on Friday to ask about its significance.
Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett said councillors and high level Council staff met for a planning weekend on November 19-20, where they nutted out new directions for the strategic plan.
Mayor Lyons-Buckett said she was very happy about the level of co-operation over the weekend, which included a question and answer panel session where Council’s executive staff briefed councillors on the main challenges facing the Hawkesbury.
“I think this time we really have included a lot more direction for where we’re heading – there’s more leadership, heritage, environment, and more about what we need to protect, than what we want to restrict people from doing. It will allow plans to be made with consistency and certainty,” the Mayor said.
Mr Owens said an example of putting the strategic plan into action would be the goal of revitalising Windsor. You can’t just have Council’s different departments “doing their own thing” – “you need to know what you want to do – what should parks staff do, what should road staff do?”. With the CSP everyone will be on the same page regarding what the ultimate goal is.
The group said another feature of the plan is that it will give people a clear idea of what Council actually does and what it doesn’t, and what it does in partnership with other bodies. An example was roads – some people don’t know that some roads in our area are looked after by the RMS, not Council.
“The plan will help balance expectations,” Mr Owens said.
Council’s acting general manager Laurie Mifsud said the draft Community Strategic Plan should be ready by December 13 then in the new year would go out for community consultation.