OPINION: Council must consult
SUNSHINE Coast Councillor Jason O'Pray has acknowledged the local authority has to lift the quality of the consultation it does with the community.
That's an observation with which few would argue, particularly given the example that prompted the remark.
Given the level of opposition that has emerged to the proposed major planning scheme amendment for the Maroochy River North Shore it is difficult to understand why the council decided to proceed on the basis of the vote of one community group.
It allowed only limited time for genuine community engagement before starting a process so soon after the new Planning Scheme came into effect, a pattern that looks in danger of being repeated in Mooloolaba.
The council has laden itself with a number of large-scale projects including the solar farm, the airport upgrade, the CBD and now a proposal to build a new administrative centre.
In doing so a tendency may emerge to relegate consultation to process, doing the minimum rather than taking pride in fully engaging with the community it is meant to serve.
Plans for a 250 metre rock wall out from the southern bank of the Maroochy River is just another example of an emerging trend. The project immediately faced significant community opposition the moment the council's intent was made clear, forcing it back to drawing board to reconsider its options.
Rather than saving time, lip-service consultation simply guarantees conflict and erodes trust.