The Community’s Vision for Hepburn Shire for the next 10 years – Have Your Say

The 10 year Vision for Hepburn Shire is currently being developed by Council and there is a window of opportunity for the community to give input so that the ‘vision’ can be developed in alignment with this.

The ‘vision’ is a significant issue and there is just over one week left until Friday March 19 for people to fill in the online survey.

It’s a chance for locals to ‘mark’ all the places they see as significant and important. People can put down as many sites as they wish and that will be important data for Council for the ‘vision’.

There is a heading, which is actually an easily missed tab. Look for: ‘IDENTITY AND STRENGTHS’ where people can put down all the places which are important to them on a map of the Shire.
So far, only few it seems, have noticed this tab which leads to the map, although the web page has now been improved. Seen here:

Many might not be knowing that this survey includes issues such as how the community thinks funding should happen for the many developments – or ‘initiatives, projects and services’ as they are referred to, that Council proposes to do as Priority Projects and in the Annual Plan; and what could be pulled back on to make the money go round. Our input is important as a part of collecting data for the ‘vision’.

Following, is a message received from Cr Jen Bray who has written that Council really needs to hear the community’s input on the Vision for the Shire:

Hello folks

At last, council are listening. And we really need your input on this one. We need to understand the Community’s Vision for Hepburn Shire for the next 10 years.

We need to plan where our focus and funding should be heading. And we need data to back up that up. Your input is the data we need.

  • What’s your VISION for the Hepburn Shire?
  • What do you love about living here?
  • What do you want to keep?
  • What do you want to improve?
  • What brilliant new ideas do you have to make our home even better?
  • What can we pull back on so that we can make the money go round?

HAVE YOUR SAY and take the survey at the link below by 19 March.

The more voices we hear, the better our plans for the future.

If you run an activity group or community group, you can also submit a group survey. Print off the Discussion Guide from the link above, workshop it with your group, then drop it in to the library or council offices.

And please put your name and contact email on the survey so council can keep you up to date with what’s happening and involve you in future engagement.

Thank you for being engaged members of this community who understand what local people want and need.

I really appreciate the time you put in to get involved.

Thanks for your input here.

Warm regards, Jen

20 year Review of the Hepburn Planning Scheme – the Panel Report and Amendment process

The Planning Scheme Review Report has now been received by Council from the Panel, on approx February 15th.

The independent panel hearing for Amendment C80hepb (Planning Scheme Review) has been completed and the final recommendations of the panel have been received. The Shire has just released the Panel report and a copy of the report can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on the link below. Council will consider the recommendations of the panel and make a determination on the progression of the Amendment at March Council meeting.

The amount of time given to make a decision on the Planning Scheme Review Amendment is 40 days (working days) from when Council received it, which would come out at approx April 9th. This means that it might even go to a vote in the March meeting, which, if Council does not release the Report to the public beforehand, would give no time at all for the community to read the Report before it is to be voted on.

We are hopeful with the new council that the timing of the release would allow the community (in particular the Panel submitters) sufficient time to digest the Report and give feedback to the Council before it went on any agenda for decision.

This would be appreciated and a good gesture of including the community more in important issues, considering the current efforts and new approaches, such as ‘Participate.Hepburn’ and ‘Hepburn Together’. Additionally, the new Engagement Policy states the public get the final say on topics that were engaged on ( such as these ), and on topics that effect residents to a large extent, so the question remains of how the community are to do this if not given ample opportunity.

There is evidently flexibility with decision time lines, and Council could request an exemption from adhering to them, by applying to the Minister for a time extension beyond the 40 days. It is considered Council has a good case for a time extension since this is an important Amendment C80, a 20 year Review of the Hepburn Shire Planning Scheme, involving countless issues of significance to residents of the Shire.

Such an extension would allow an opportunity for meaningful conversations with the Shire’s planners to discuss the Amendment and perhaps an information session could be held with Planning Officers for some of the Panel submitters to hear what is realistically possible to improve in the short term. And, what the long term improvements could be to the Planning Scheme in general in follow up work.

With good will this could have the potential to play a big part in building trust and confidence. Councillors should not be pressured by officers into making a decision in March if there is scope for a time extension.