20 January 2024

Think beyond the potholes: Wagga City Council calls on the community to shape the vision for future

| Chris Roe
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Amelia Parkins,

Cr Amelia Parkins, Regional Activation Executive Christine Priest and General Manager Peter Thompson. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga Wagga City Council is calling on the community to help shape the vision for the city and the surrounding villages.

The Community Strategic Plan (CSP) for Wagga Wagga 2050 will provide direction and focus for the local government area (LGA) over the next two decades.

Christine Priest heads up council’s Regional Activation team and said it was both “for the community and very much developed by the community”.

“It’s looking at the aspirations and long-term vision for the community, and it helps guide our strategies and priorities over the longer term,” she said.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to really get involved and tell us what’s important for them … and their vision for the community moving forward.”

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Wagga Wagga 2050 will address four key questions: Where we are now? Where do we want to be in 2050? How will we get there? How will we know we have arrived?

Deputy Mayor Amelia Parkins said the CSP would inform the council’s planning and decision-making.

“Essentially, anything that the council does in the future needs to be tied to this document,” she said.

“While updating the Community Strategic Plan is a legislative requirement, I think that is secondary to why we, as a council, want to understand the current aspirations of the community.

“We’re looking ahead to 2050. A lot has changed in the world and locally in our community since we developed the last Community Strategic Plan in 2016.”

General Manager Peter Thompson said that while the CSP would include the essential roads, rates and rubbish, it was a chance to think more broadly.

He pointed to Wagga’s extensive cycleways and the new Riverside precinct as examples of where the CSP had informed council planning.

“We will always collect waste; we will always deal with sewers; we will always do roads to a greater or lesser extent than people expect that we should … but it’s about the other issues that people want us to steer our funding and our initiatives and our risk-taking to actually deliver for the city,” he said.

“It is essentially looking at the big picture of what makes Wagga Wagga a great place to live.”

Mr Thompson added that the CSP was also a chance to influence decision-makers at a state and federal level on future infrastructure projects like the Gobbagombalin Bridge duplication.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community to come out and say we need better connections between the north and south,” he said.

“That should be in the Community Strategic Plan and it should be something we can rely upon when we apply for grant funding for that type of asset.”

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As well as an online portal, council will survey residents in the LGA by phone and, over the next seven months, team members will be out in the community at schools, shopping centres and events and facilitating focus groups.

“I think the most valuable opportunity for people will be to have those face-to-face conversations, because we’re really trying to connect with people as part of this process,” Ms Priest said.

“We will be asking some high-level questions about their vision and priorities that they would like to see for the community moving forward.

“I encourage all residents to take part and make their vision for Wagga Wagga 2050 count.”

Council will have an interactive stall at the Back to School Party being held on Saturday 27 January at Chambers Park in Tolland and an art competition is underway asking people to draw or paint a picture of what they love about Wagga.

Ms Priest said there was a range of categories, some great prizes and the chance for your work to be included in the Wagga Wagga 2050 document.

“We have already received more than 70 entries in the competition, which runs until 26 April,” she said.

“We are also asking for the community to share why they love our community.

“This could be a photograph, a few words, a video, a story, or even a song, which can be posted on our Have Your Say page.”

Residents can get involved online through WWCC’s Have Your Say Wagga platform.

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