Sheila Stebbings and Mayor Ron Bellingham say the vision for the Southern Downs is in the hands of the people who live here.
Sheila Stebbings and Mayor Ron Bellingham say the vision for the Southern Downs is in the hands of the people who live here. Emma Channon

Regions' future in residents' hands

THE future of the region will be put in the hands of Southern Downs residents.

As part of 2009 state legislation, all Queensland councils have been asked to create and adopt a community plan by the end of this year.

Starting from next week, Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) will put the question to Southern Downs residents on where they’d like to see the communities in 2030.

SDRC Mayor Ron Bellingham said the plan was of great importance to ratepayers.

“This is the opportunity for everyone to tell us what they want the region to be like in 20 years,” he said.

“It will involve all sectors of business, tourism, not to mention environment, health and facilities.”

Council has already set aside money in the budget to develop the plan, which will include various consultations with the community.

The economic development strategies carried out in the latter half of last year will also be incorporated into the community plan.

SDRC manager for community development Sheila Stebbings said this would be one of the largest projects council had done.

“It will have to be reviewed every five years to take into account emerging changes,” she said.

“Some communities, for example, have been greatly affected by mining booms and we would have to take into account changes such as those.

“Also, previous plans have detailed action plans – this one will be at a higher level and allow it to be valid and relevant for a longer period.”

Of the many visions that will be put forward, Mrs Stebbings said she expected there would be many themes that would reccur, such as keeping young people in the region.

“I would be very surprised if something like that didn’t raise its head,” she said.

“We are very aware of the number of young people and there is constant concern there isn’t enough for them to do.

“Council has shown great support to help develop strategies for that and to help fill the gap. But we do want to retain young people.”

The community plan will also be used as a tool by council to lobby State Government.

The public consultation process will last six weeks and the plan must be adopted by December 31, 2011.

What is your vision for the region? Call us on 4660 1316.

 

Region’s Community Plan:

Community Plan which will help shape the Southern Downs in the next 20 years.

Residents to be asked where they see the community in 2030.

Cover all aspects, from infrastructure, to sporting grounds, health and community spirit.

Consultation period to last six weeks.

All people urged to put forward their vision.



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