Ballina 2035 - Ballina Major Regional Centre Strategy
Ballina has been identified as an emerging regional centre through the New South Wales State Government’s Far North Coast Regional Strategy. This acknowledges the fact that Ballina can expect growth and change over the next 20 years. Change is expected due to factors such as improved transport links to a rapidly growing South East Queensland and to Ballina’s thriving regional airport.
Ballina Shire Council is preparing the Ballina Major Regional Centre Strategy in order to guide this growth in a way that maximises opportunities, whilst at the same time preserving the things about Ballina that are important to the community. The focus for the strategy is the identification of key policy and planning related initiatives that can define and drive Ballina as a regional centre into the future.
Ballina2035 Community Engagement
This strategy is founded on comprehensive community engagement involving the following:
- Futures Forum
- Council held an evening discussion forum at the commencement of the project, involving 47 randomly selected members of the Ballina community. The forum sought to establish community views in response to the following: What does Ballina becoming a major regional centre mean for our community? What are the opportunities it could create? What are the challenges which need to be considered?
- Civic Panel
- The Civic Panel, comprising 14 community members from the Futures Forum participants, has met at key stages during the project to provide feedback and act as a community “sounding board” to the project’s progress.
- Staff Forum
- 18 Council staff members representing all groups within Council were invited to a discussion forum where the same questions from the Futures Forum were considered.
- Council held a Forum for representatives of Government agencies to meet and discuss views of various agencies within the context of a strategic plan for the future of Ballina.
- Council invited 24 community groups to engage with members of the project team via various means. Eleven of these groups have participated in the project. Project team members gave presentations and invited open discussion and mapping of concerns, experiences and aspirations to directly feed into the project.
- Presentations to Schools
- To gain youth input in to the project, local schools were invited to receive a brief presentation from the project team to facilitate student input in terms of their experiences and thoughts for the future of Ballina. Three schools participated, with students from years six and ten engaged in an interactive workshop. A series of maps were made using the sMap social mapping tool through this process. Council’s Youth Council was also consulted and has had input in to the project.
- Newspaper Articles
- Articles (six in total) which gave the community background to the project’s progress and invited thought on key issues were written and published over a six week period in the Ballina Advocate. The process instigated letters and emails to Council, and stimulated the use of the sMap and Instagram tools.
- Creative Workshops
- There were four workshops of 2.5 hours each held, targeted at grandparents and grandchildren or older residents and their younger friends or relatives, which were designed to bring generations together to share experiences of the Ballina community and what participants like about living in Ballina, through paver-based art. Following the workshops, the pavers were fired and have been incorporated into the Wigmore Arcade redevelopment, providing a durable record of what is important about our community to different generations. Approximately 60 people were involved in these workshops.
- Ballina Shire Council was the first organisation in Australia to use sMap, which is an interactive online mapping tool with which community members are able to map points of interest and post comments and suggestions for Ballina’s future. A total of 62 maps were produced with over 500 points of interest plotted using sMap.
- Council set up Instagram hashtag - #ballinafuture and asked that people tag photos they have of what they like, or dislike about Ballina, or tag photos of what they would like to see in Ballina in the future.
- Council utilised the social media platform Facebook to notify and engage with our community. The ‘Ballina2035’ Facebook page received over 750 page ‘likes’ and 92 ‘comments’, with over 11,000 people ‘reached’ through the platform.
- Stage 1 Public Exhibition
- Council exhibited reporting and information based on the community engagement undertaken to seek further feedback prior to preparing this strategy document. The exhibition information included: Context Information; Strategic Question Sheets; Background Report; and Technical/Specialist Studies. Industry Peer Review Panel – In association with the finalisation of the draft strategy, Council established an Industry Peer Review Panel to review the proposed strategy approach and actions, with a view to providing critical feedback and additional ideas on the delivery of the strategy objectives from an industry perspective. The purpose of the panel was to provide an industry based testing point for approaches and ideas to support practical and innovative preparation and implementation of Ballina 2035.
- Stage 2 Public Exhibition
- Council publicly exhibited a fi nal draft strategy, inviting further community feedback, between December 2015 and February 2016.
- Traditional Media
- Additional to the above, conventional advertising (through local media), media releases and Council’s own community publication (“Community Connect”) have been utilised to raise community awareness of the project.
Ballina2035 Project Publications
Contact Council's Strategic and Community Facilities Group, Ph 6686 1284.
visit the strategy facebook page facebook.com/Ballina2035