24 April 2015

Community Engagement Forum worked a treat

Hobart City Council's second "community engagement" at Mt Stuart Hall last night actually succeeded in their objective of getting people along to ask questions of their Council and share some of their concerns.  It was well attended, with over 40 residents there, and it was good to see several Aldermen as well as the sturdy senior managers from the Council, who probably don't get paid overtime for these out of hours events.

General Manager Nick Heath gave a (too brief) overview of Council's priorities over the next 10 years, it would have been nice to have heard some more detail of actual strategies which are in train.  And he noted five construction projects which are currently underway in the city.

WHEN's Margaret S asked the question about what is being planned to build the greater community, and Mark Painter referred to the Shopping Precinct project which is focussing on improving the shape of several shopping areas.  In response to Margaret's question about what the Council is doing toward progressing a greater Hobart integrated transport strategy, Mark P squibbed a little, noting that this is something Council would be expecting Dept of State Growth to take a lead on.  He didn't actually say where we are at with this.  To another resident's query about a reduction in bus stops, he suggested she should take it up with Metro Tasmania.  While this is the correct first response, it also served to illustrate the interconnectedness of our traffic problems and the transport solutions.

WHEN's Trine H congratulated Council on its decision to pursue State Growth on the matter of declaring a lower speed limit zone around the busy playground area of Caldew Park.  It would be nice to know whether the Council has sent their letter of request to State Growth yet.  Trine asked about recycling of soft plastics and whether Council will collect food scraps for composting in the new Green Waste bins which will be coming soon.  Roger Viney gave a very complete and detailed response, noting that soft plastics depends on the capabilities of the COouncil's new contracted recycler, and that at this stage it is unlikely that food scraps will be collected, due to risks of odour etc.  He also advised that Council will be introducing bins for recyclables where rubbish bins are installed around the town, which is great news.

Other good news heard included:
- Nick Heath declared that the Council is very supportive of the Jan Gehl report of 2010, and swore that it will result in big changes to the city
- he also stated that Council is opposed to extension of the public zone at the top of Mt Wellington, and supports development at the Springs rather than at the Pinnacle

Council was urged to be more proactive in contacting landowners with vegetation out of control well before the annual fire season.

Police Inspector David Plumpton also took the opportunity to address the residents.  He emphasised that Hobart is a very safe city and that the more people who are out and about the safer it is. But people's perceptions may be that there is danger that keeps them (particularly the elderly) at home.  He would like us to contact him and his staff to talk about any concerns we might have.

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