Council's community communication falters

MidCoast Council's advertisement in the Gloucester Advocate on November 4, prior to two upcoming community consultation sessions planned in Gloucester.
MidCoast Council's advertisement in the Gloucester Advocate on November 4, prior to two upcoming community consultation sessions planned in Gloucester.

MidCoast Council has added additional dates for community consultation on its Draft Floodplain Risk Management Studies and Plans for Gloucester and Port Stephens after very little communication about its first sessions.

According to council's website, there were two information nights held for residents in area, one in Tea Garden on Tuesday November 10 and one in Gloucester on Thursday, November 12.

The draft document was approved at council's October ordinary meeting and went on exhibition on November 2.

It appears the only communication to the community about the sessions and the exhibition were on council's website, in a one line item in its newspaper advertisements under Have Your Say (no mention of the sessions) and a post on its Facebook page about the Gloucester session the morning of the event.

Council has since sent out a press release to media outlets, received on Friday November 13, advising of the exhibition and calling for community feedback.

It's not the first time there has been a lag in external communication from council about community consultations.

A similar thing happened with the proposed Gloucester Community Garden, with council publishing the information about community sessions (first on being Friday, November 6) on its website and mentioning the matter in its newspaper advertisement (no mention of the sessions).

The Gloucester Advocate was only provided information about the session after contacting council.

In some cases, the newspapers are receiving the information too late for print deadlines.

For some residents of the MidCoast Council region, this a concern as they don't have access to the internet and rely on the print publication.

And some residents receive the paper via the post, two or three days after publication.