THE establishment of a community reference group to help with consultation on the City of Joondalup’s draft infill strategy has been deferred.
At last month’s council meeting, Mayor Albert Jacob called for a report to consider creating the group, which would be facilitated by an external party and consist of two representatives from each Place Neighbourhood, formerly known as ‘housing opportunity area’.
The group would be briefed on the draft Place Neighbourhoods Local Planning Policy and would then communicate the information to other members of the community.
It would also help to prepare submissions on the draft framework once formal consultation starts.
However at the May council briefing, resident Frances Patey said a community reference group was “not the best way forward” and it would “do little to improve engagement and outcomes”.
“Two people representing an entire housing opportunity area cannot speak on behalf of the many hundreds of ratepayers, nor be expected to disseminate information to all,” she said.
She said there were more effective consultation strategies to “ensure as many affected ratepayers as possible are engaged with and understand” including signs, a series of town hall meetings and workshops hosted by ward councillors and planning experts.
Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt said the City had used community reference groups to “great effect with a number of projects”.
“It is a mechanism to engage with the community but it is not the only mechanism for engagement,” he said.
Following a council decision earlier in the evening to refer back the report requesting to advertise the draft new planning framework, Mr Jacob moved to defer consideration of establishing the community reference group while the City progressed an interim local planning policy and scheme amendment and until it starts community consultation.
He said he expected the report to come back as a “phase two” where some form of community reference group would be “very important”.
“We need in that phase to start drawing lines on maps,” he said.
“We need some kind of engagement that gives residents the tools to engage with this process.”
The motion to defer was passed 10-2 with Crs Christopher May and Russell Poliwka against.