This is the report I wrote for the council agenda:
"Following the electorate’s clearly expressed desire for change as evidenced by the outcome of the recent council election, I invited the community to get in touch with me about their top three issues of concern. It was not a scientific survey but a chance for the community to give voice to specific concerns. Responses were received via a coupon published in the Derwent Valley Gazette, via email, in person, and several detailed letters.
"The result does not reveal a groundswell of support for major structural change, but simply a desire for the council to be better at doing its job. People want better roads and footpaths, they want roadsides and vacant properties slashed and kept safe and tidy and they want dead trees removed from creeks and rivulets to prevent flooding. They want rubbish cleaned up, more rubbish bins, and for our dog waste receptacles to be emptied more often. They also want a better way of knowing if the tip has closed unexpectedly. They would also like dust and water mitigation on our unsealed roads.
"Many in the community are concerned about smoking outside the council chambers and if we are honest we knew that already. I raised this five years ago but it has taken until the arrival of this new council to see some change there.
"There is general dissatisfaction with our town entrances and "welcome" signage, and disbelief that we have tourism signs promoting businesses that have been closed for years. Other tourism signage on Hamilton Rd was completely removed some years ago, leaving behind the skeleton of its framework on a railway wagon. Volunteers in various sectors advise that some visitors have trouble finding Willow Court – and our public toilets – and say that better signage would help. On the subject of Willow Court and Royal Derwent, many would like the council to get tough on apparently stalled developments and derelict buildings on those sites – including our own.
"Some of the responses are a little unclear and this is a shortcoming of the survey method which did not leave much room for additional details. Some people provided phone numbers and I have followed up with them where possible.
"I welcome all the responses received – especially the one thanking the council for sealing the car park at the Olympic pool. I have started working on some of the issues raised and others have already been the subject of council attention. I encourage all councillors and staff to work together to resolve the individual issues and the list as a whole."
The following concerns were recorded via the survey:
- Roads and footpaths
- Trees and deadwood clogging creeks and leading to flooding
- Men’s Shed
- Glebe Road reconstruction and line marking
- Cost of landfill operations
- Upper Moogara Rd clean-up – blackberries
- Return of train to Mt Field
- Seafood restaurant needed in New Norfolk
- Litter – particularly near Woolworths/McDonalds – lack of rubbish bins
- Some people don’t clean up after their dogs
- Dog waste bins not emptied often enough
- Suggest mowing parks at end of week to be ready for weekend users
- Unsealed section of Sharland Avenue – water runoff problem for houses on lower side – no footpath
- Dust problem where trucks and buses enter Hamilton Rd from private property
- Smoking outside council chambers
- Town entrances and welcome sign
- Unfinished developments – eyesores – RDH and WCC sites in particular
- Tourism signage advertising closed businesses
- Visitor centre needs upgrading
- Better signage needed for Willow Court – what it is and where it is
- Signage for finding public toilets
- Mowing/slashing – fire abatement