City of Victor Harbor rings the changes in community engagement

City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy.
City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy.

In May, City of Victor Harbor elected members resolved to establish a new committee structure.

City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy said the new structure has seen a reduction in the number of Section 41 Committees and the establishment of less formal Advisory or Working Groups, to allow for greater community engagement to enable council to maintain a strong connection with the community.

There were 11 Section 41 Committees and now there are seven.

"The new structure looks to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of council committees," Ms MacKirdy said.

Section 41 Committees that remain are the Audit Committee, CEO Performance Review Committee, Recreation Centre Management Committee, Disability Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Southern Communities Transport Advisory Committee, Fleurieu Region Community Services Advisory Committee and the new City Activation and Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.

There will be a number of advisory groups, which will be sub-committees of the City Activation and Strategic Advisory Planning Committee.

They are Heritage Advisory Group, Arts and Culture Advisory Group, Boating Facilities Working Group, Recreation and Sport Grant Working Group, Agribusiness Working Group, Encounter Bay Future Recreation and Sports and Infrastructure Working Group.

Ms MacKirdy said elected members expressed the importance of having the Advisory and Working Groups formed as sub-committees of the Section 41 City Activation and Strategic Advisory Committee, as they are considering strategic matters that relate to the purpose of this committee.

"Additionally, elected members raised the importance of gathering local knowledge and input on projects, key strategic documents and the need to improve communication and relationships with key stakeholders and the broader community," Ms MacKirdy said.

"Members also felt that an elected member should be the chair of the Advisory and Working Groups and not a delegated staff member."

Ms MacKirdy said the involvement of external participation would provide council and committees with valuable local knowledge, expertise and perspectives, which can assist council to make informed decisions on specific matters.

"Additionally it's a mechanism for engagement and information exchange between the council and committee and these groups, which highlights the value of the broader community and key stakeholder contributions."

The City Activation and Strategic Planning Advisory Committee's membership will consist of all elected members and has the capacity to co-opt people for a specific task or project.

Elected as Chair of the City Activation and Strategic Planning Advisory Committee was councillor Nick Hayles and deputy chair, Carol Schofield at the June 24 council meeting.