HORSHAM Rural City residents now have more time to have their say on two council futures plans.
User groups have expressed concerns they might have to relocate if the City to River plan is approved in its current form.
At the council's July meeting on Monday night, Councillor David Grimble moved a notice of motion to extend the public exhibition and public submission period of both plans to August 30.
"The community has spoken loud and clear that they want more time to view these documents and understand the complexity of them," Cr Grimble said.
"(The plans) were driven from senior council officers and consultants from the top down. The best plans are built from the community up.
"We missed a fundamental step here. I can't change or rectify that, I can only ask the community to tell us what's good or bad about the plan."
Cr Grimble said he had been contacted by sporting groups who had expressed their disappointment in "the lack of consolation early on in the process".
"Some of the key correspondence we will receive will be from those groups asking where their future is in all this," he said.
Cr Pam Clarke said she supported Cr Grimble's motion.
"This (City to River master plan) really is an unprecedented document and I can understand why the community needs a lot more time to digest it," she said.
"We need to keep reiterating to people that this is a 20-year visionary plan. There are some things in it that I disagree with, and there are some things that I love, and that's what we want to hear from the community."
Cr Grimble's motion was passed unanimously.
This wasn't the first time Horsham councillors expressed concern about the time period in which the public could comment on the draft City to River master plan.
At June's council meeting, Councillor John Robinson signalled his intent to raise a recision motion to prevent the plan from going out on public exhibition.
Horsham Mayor Mark Radford called a special council meeting on July 3 to discuss the motion, however Cr Robinson was unable to attend due to a prior specialist appointment.
Cr Grimble moved the motion in his absence and it was defeated, four votes to two.
Cr Robinson signalled his intent on July 1 to "step aside" from his council duties until the City to River plan was resolved.
However, Cr Robinson attended Monday night's meeting where he reiterated his concern for the future of user groups and businesses affected by the plan.
New group Horsham Rural Ratepayers and Residents had its first public meeting on Sunday.
The meeting was attended by about 60 people, and no Horsham councillors or officers were present.
Three motions were moved and passed at the meeting. They were:
- The group advocate for the public exhibition date of the draft City to River reports, and draft Open Space Strategy, to be extended by 90 days.
- The group initiate four public forums, and invite councillors and council officers, to answer questions about the draft reports. The forums would address the Horsham showgrounds; Horsham City Oval; the Wimmera River precinct; and the Horsham Central Activity District.
- The group advocate that all council infrastructure project plans have a minimum public exhibition period of 60 to 90 days.
Group president Di Bell said the motions were sent to all Horsham councillors and the council's chief executive Sunil Bhalla prior to Monday night's meeting.
"I was hoping one of the councillors would have moved an amendment to Cr Grimble's motion to make it to the end of September," she said.
"That would have shown that they had really heard us. This is a step in the right direction, but for the City to River plan, it isn't enough time. It's important for (the council) to know that we're not opposing them, we're there to make sure the community's views are heard."
See the council's July meeting agenda below
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.