Opinion

The first test for ERC’s community consultation

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February 07, 2018

What is consultation? Is it a process whereby governments seek community view and ignore it, or a genuine attempt to get feedback and act accordingly?

We believe it is fair to acknowledge the public perception of government community consultation is at a low level. Too often we see a majority view expressed which elected leaders choose to overlook.

This month Edward River Council gets a chance to shows its true colours around its intentions with community consultation.

The issue in the eyes of many may not be significant, but it could well set the scene for what we can expect in this council’s next 3 years. It’s all around peacocks and an aviary in the Waring Gardens.

Since its instigation the Council - both non-elected and elected versions - has insisted it wants to listen to the views of the people. There have been a range of consultation processes around various strategies from community space to Christmas decorations.

Council tells us it wants to hear opinions to help it make effective decisions.

We believe on the aviary issue the public has spoken with a firm voice. There is no doubt there is strong support for retaining and upgrading the bird enclosure to improve its amenity and appeal as a local tourist attraction.

There are offers of support, from establishing a Friends of the Aviary organisation to a personal offer from a bird breeder to care for the enclosure’s inhabitants.

It is all compelling reason why council should support building up the peacocks and their aviary as a more significant tourist attraction in our town. After all, there have been calls over many years to provide more for the growing tourist economy.

As we have discovered in the past when historic buildings have been destroyed, then the is decision later re-considered with regret, once it’s gone, it’s gone. If council decides not to support this attraction it will suffer the same fate - and despite any possible promises around Waring Gardens’ improvements, nothing will take its place.

The Pastoral Times urges our fledgling Edward River Council to listen to the community feedback and support redevelopment of the Waring Gardens bird aviary and its resident peacocks.

These gardens are a unique attraction in the centre of town and we must do everything possible to enhance their appeal, not diminish it.

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