Stage 1 – Project definition and visioning
A major focus was to generate publicity and seek feedback about the community’s views on the vision for Frenchs Forest. The community was invited to a number of drop-in sessions at various locations and times. The drop-in sessions allowed open dialogue and staff collected comments using post-it notes within aligned themes. A broad spectrum of the community attended and the event was publicised via local newspaper, letter box drops and online. More than 1,000 comments were received and 500 on Social Pinpoint, which was accessible online. This method was specifically designed to capture comments from youth by providing an interactive and easy method for feedback. The outcomes of Stage 1 were available on the project page to allow access to individuals who were unable to attend the drop-in sessions.
Stage 2 – Scenario development and visioning
Expressions of interest were called for on our project page including adverts in the local newspaper. Attendees were randomly selected to participate in a workshop to ensure broad community representation. The workshops were fully subscribed and generated a lot of interest with approximately 110 participants involved in three facilitated workshops.
In addition to targeting community members, Council staff became involved in many cross-organisational partnerships with local and state governments, leveraging the benefits of effective networking. As a high profile project, it was imperative that all departments worked well with each other, providing a consistent message to residents. Keen to avoid the tendency of government agencies to work in ‘silos’, Council developed an ‘Interagency Working Group’ with an agreed Terms of Reference to strengthen working relationships and stay on track with objectives. This was particularly relevant with issues relating to transport and traffic.
Stage 3 – Preferred scenario exhibition
An extended public exhibition period was undertaken over three months. The exhibition process included a range of engagement methods such as hardcopy displays at Council’s Customer Service Centres, notification letters and pamphlets/brochures. Advertisements in the local newspaper, on Council’s website and nine drop-in sessions were conducted as well as numerous meetings with interested groups, businesses and/or individuals. The project team ensured that all information was easily accessible in various forms, including the decision-making process at Council meetings. All Council meetings were webcast to allow transparency and accessibility for those unable to attend, such as the youth, aged and disabled.