Protest prompts change in policy
A NEW community consultation process for capital works that cost $5000 or more has been approved.
The move came after angry Mt Perry residents protested the installation of the new wastewater treatment plant on the only vacant block in the town’s main street in February.
The council will spend up to 5% of each project’s budget on consultation, which could be as varied as flyers and phone calls to affected households or community forums.
North Burnett Regional Council’s acting CEO David Wiskar said councillors would have a role in community engagement for particular projects.
“The aim is to provide a balance between gaining good input from the community into the delivery of major projects and providing information to the public regarding the benefits of council projects,” he said.
Mt Perry Development Association president Irene Duda said it might help other towns in the future.
“In so far as our town is concerned, it’s a bit late,” Ms Duda said.
“Consultation should have been taken on board prior to (installation of the) Mt Perry (sewage plant).”
Mr Wiskar said the council did a “reasonable job of consultation most of the time”, and formalising the process was valuable.
“By placing a dollar figure on consultation, it makes the engineers think about it as a critical part of delivering the project,” Mr Wiskar said.
“The remaining (or unspent) dollars would go back into the project.
“The new policy would realistically start in the new financial year.”
David Wiskar By placing a dollar figure on consultation, it makes the engineers think about it as a critical part of delivering the project.