Enhance or transform?
WHO is driving the 'Transforming Horsham' express? Is it in the best interests of our community's future livability and affordability? Are we heading for a derailment?
With so many plans and strategies at once, we've reached engagement fatigue and at a busy time for businesses, farmers and community members, who is responsible?
The implications of all the 'Transforming Horsham' projects - including City to River concept and vision, Urban Transport Plan, Horsham South Structure Plan and the Open Space Strategy - are far reaching. If the current rush on pushing them through is not paused to allow for community engagement, transparency and inclusion, which meets the expectations of the community (according to Horsham council's engagement policy) are we heading for a derailment?
Our Horsham Community Plan in 2013 clearly states community priorities to "enhance" what we valued and were proud of. Common responses were the Wimmera River, our sporting clubs, the aquatic centre and our friendly community. We said we wanted to "enhance" - meaning improve - so how did we end up with transform - meaning change? Who decided this? At which council meeting did our councillors vote to approve 'Transforming Horsham', or is this being led by our CEO?
Shelley Crestani, leader of a company of engagement specialists, says in her article on how to avoid community backlash: When undertaking projects that change the way people live their lives, "don't find out what the community will tolerate, but find out what it is that the community needs".
Is Horsham council abiding by the engagement policy which says: "To ensure that council effectively engages with the community when required and when the community expects to be engaged."
We want to improve what we value, but not aboard a transformation express. Our future is about livability and affordability.
If the KPIs of our CEO are the cause of this express, then do our councillors need to change the KPIs at them? I believe so.
Di Bell, Horsham
IT WAS a pleasure to meet and speak with the editor at the latest Horsham council meeting. During our conversation, I became aware that during my over zealous passionate defence of men's health I overstepped the mark. This caused you, your staff, and the paper some distress. For that I unreservedly apologise to you and your staff.
Brian Basham, Horsham
Fundraiser a success
THANKS to the Horsham community for your support of McHappy Day.
The community helped us celebrate 28 years of McHappy Day by raising more than $5.9 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities nationally.
Fundraising efforts like McHappy Day are vital and ensure RMHC can be there for families with seriously ill children when they need it most. With so many Australian children requiring treatment, every donation goes a long way to keep families together in their toughest times.
Barbara Ryan, chief executive, Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia