Put The Community Back Into Ringwood

Media Release – Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Put The Community Back Into Ringwood

Putting the Community back into Ringwood was the central theme of the RTCCC’s Community Workshop, which was held on the 14th of July to discuss the community’s vision for Ringwood.

“Our public workshop has demonstrated a dire need for an openness in exchanging ideas and detailed community discussion regarding the Ringwood Transit City Project”, RTCCC Planning and Transport spokesperson Alex Makin said.

Topics raised during the public workshop included pedestrian issues, disability access standards, mobility within and around Ringwood and the issue of development both within and outside the delineated Transit City area.

“The very notion of the word ‘Transit City’ is invalid as this suggests that Ringwood will become nothing more than a suburb that people pass through rather than actually live within”, Mr. Makin said. “Ringwood is already a dormitory suburb, with more people living here than actually working here. Simply planning for higher density development alone will not create a vibrant and liveable suburb. Given that the property market is slowing and there is little that positively distinguishes Ringwood from other areas a radical re-think is required”.

“Both the State Government and Maroondah Council are obligated to create a liveable environment incorporating tangible pedestrian, public transport and open space improvements. While studies are only the first stage they absolutely must engage the community at the onset to create much needed discussion. Simply expecting higher urban densities to solve our problems is a farce”, Mr. Makin said.

The RTCCC has resolved to engage experts within the fields of planning, sociology and urban design to further the level of community debate within the Ringwood Transit City. Additional public workshops are currently planned.

“Ultimately the community of Ringwood knows what we need; Councils and Government must stop dictating and start listening. The community must be put back into Ringwood and no one knows how to do this better than our local community”, Mr. Makin concluded.

About the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC):

The RTCCC was formed to strengthen community participation and stimulate open and honest discussion regarding the Ringwood Transit City project. For further details call 0409 136 213 or visit www.rtccc.info.



Openness in Planning allows Community Participation

Tonight the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) held its second public event our Planning and Participation Community Workshop to create an atmosphere of discussion and debate, which is currently sorely lacking within the Ringwood Transit City Project.

Our keynote speaker for the evening was Kym Irvine, the Principal Accessibility Auditor for Road Safety Audits Pty Ltd. Kym has a wealth of government experience within the areas of planning and accessibility and provided a valuable insight in the process including areas of community involvement.

Open debate and discussion followed Kym’s speech, including an examination of the current level of discussion and community input into plans for both Ringwood and Croydon. Maroondah Council’s reliance on ‘in camera’ (confidential meetings excluded from public scrutiny) sessions in relation to planning issues in the Ringwood Transit City was questioned.

Concerns were raised in regard to the operation of the Ringwood Transit City Community Reference Group particularly in the usage of confidential documents which limit the scope for discussion and debate.

There is a need for developers and planning experts to become educated about the needs of the community, through active engagement and participation beginning at the design and early planning stages. Without such involvement it is simply erroneous to assume that the views of the community are always expressed. Ideas must be presented and a level of discussion must be created with feedback being not only sought but also encouraged.

The Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) has resolved to engage experts within the fields of planning, sociology and urban design to further the level of community debate within the Ringwood Transit City. Ultimately the community knows what is required to make Ringwood a vibrant suburb within the Outer East and as such both local and State Governments must start listening to the community rather than dictating and assuming community needs.

The community workshop Planning and Participation has fulfilled the commitment made at our March forum to regularly hold public events. Further public events are being planned as we continue to create discussion and exchange ideas to ensure the future success of Ringwood.

On behalf of the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) I would like to thank everyone who attended our public workshop Planning and Participation.