Ballina shire council is in the final stages of developing a strategy that will shape the city’s growth as a major regional centre.
The NSW Governnment identified Ballina as a future regional centre in its Far North Coast Regional Strategy, and provided a grant of $200,000 to develop a strategic plan.
The council chipped in an extra $50,000, and has been undertaking a comprehensive series of consultations to formulate the strategy.
At yesterday’s council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to place the strategy on public exhibition for six weeks.
Ballina mayor David Wright said the lack of discussion about the strategy at yesterday’s meeting was because there ‘has been an incredible amount of imput already’.
As staff noted in a report to councillors, the completion of the project involves two remaining key stages.
The first is the public exhibition period that will involve ‘the sharing of ideas that have been gathered to date, and identification of core values and aspirations for Ballina’s future, as determined through community consultation’.
The second stage would involve the formulation of those ideas, values and aspirations into an ‘action-oriented strategic plan’.
That plan would be incorporated into the council’s operational plan and delivery program.
Cr Wright said the public exhibition stage would provide Ballina residents with the opportunity to provide further feedback.
During the exhibition stage, the public will be asked to consider questions such as ‘how can we grow local jobs? Keep Ballina beaufiful? Be more sustainable? Deal with climate change? Respect our history and heritage? Cater for youth and families?’and ‘support older residents?’
Cr Wright said the council wanted to know whether the strategic questions reflected the comunity’s priorities for the next 20 years, along with feedback on ideas raised during previous consultations.
He said the strategy would be placed on public exhibition in the near future.
Ballina was identified by the state government as a future major regional centre because of a number of factors.
They include he growth of the Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport; improving road connections to south east Queensland; ongoing development of employment lands; and the capacity to accommodate increases in population through significant greenfield development areas in Cumbalum, Lennox Head, Skennars Head and Wollongbar.