Over the past three weeks I attended a variety of meetings and there are several events I wish to expand upon in further detail.

On the 18th of July I attended a workshop organised by the Municipal Association of Victoria focussed on community engagement. This workshop covered the usage of technology to improve access to consultation as well as the types of workshops and forums that are available to engage the community.

The premise of the workshop was based on the premise that it is imperative that the community is engaged from the onset in outlining visions and key strategies. Direct and meaningful community engagement is imperative to ensure a cohesive and strong vision for the future.

On the 25th I attended a Ringwood Historical Society meeting, the meeting titled A Photographic Journey Through Time featured a pictorial overview of the development that has occurred in central Ringwood with a specific emphasis on the area between Ringwood Street and Warrandyte Road. Extensive work was undertaken by the Ringwood Historical Society in collating and researching the photographs and images to present a pictorial history that covered the years between 1890 to 1970.

In realising Ringwood’s future it is crucial to appreciate its history and to learn from past experiences. For example one cannot help but question the merit of demolishing the former Ringwood Town Hall in 1970.

In realising the future it is imperative to learn from the past. Historically Ringwood did appear to provide a walkable environment and a cohesive community and thus realised, at one stage, the very goals we are striving to achieve.

Maroondah’s Disability Forum is a key example of the positive action that can result from community engagement.

The forum, which is held quarterly, provides an opportunity for people with a disability as well as carers and the broader community to highlight accessibility issues within Maroondah.

One of the concerns that were raised includes the lack of accessible access during path and road constructions. As a result of these concerns Maroondah Council pursued this issue through both the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) and Standards Australia resulting in guidelines being created in regard to alternative paths of travel during construction works.

This outcome would not have been achieved if it were not for community engagement.

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email: alex@alexmakin.com.au

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