The state of infrastructure was a common theme during MidCoast Council's community meetings held in Gloucester and Stroud.
Since the end of March, council has been holding gatherings around the region offering residents the opportunity to ask questions as well as work together to list the top priorities for their communities.
Prior to the meetings in Stroud on Tuesday, April 2 and Gloucester on Wednesday, April 17, members of the community were encouraged to register questions online, however questions were also taken at the event.
Among the concerns of Stroud residents were questions about infrastructure, like a toilet block in Alan Park, the need for a continuous footpath, the state of the showgrounds and stormwater drainage.
In response, council confirmed it was "building an all-abilities toilet block in Alan Park"; that work was underway for developing a pedestrian access and mobility plan for the region to help prioritise need and attract grant funding; provided an updated expenditure and works completed list for the showground; and acknowledged the overall stormwater management issue across the region which is currently being identified and prioritised.
Infrastructure was also a concern raised by Gloucester residents who wanted to know what was happening with the industrial area; the future of the caravan park; the old Gloucester Machinery building; and if there will be a new animal pound facility.
Council explained how the water pressure issues in the industrial area need to be resolved but it has a $15 million price tag; how options for upgrading the caravan park post lease expiration were being explored; how it was understood the old machinery building would made a good visitor information centre but that a range of issues were being investigated; and that "there will be no short term pound facility in Gloucester" but it would be looked at as part of the overall pound management strategy.
Gloucester residents also wanted to know why there were so few events held in town for both seniors week and youth week, to which council responded that it would pass on the feedback to the organisers.
At both meetings, attendees were divided up into groups and asked to brainstorm what they believed were the top priorities for their communities, then the group was brought together to decide on an overall top list.
1. Economic Development (industrial area, Gloucester machinery site, caravan park, promotional signage - in line with Barrington Coast)
2. Water security
3. (equal 3rd) Youth opportunities; and health precinct
4. (equal 4th) Costs (rates and water); and Development application (DA) processing procedure and event applications (increased help and education)
2. Branch Lane / Estuary
4. Parks / reserves / playgrounds / toilets
5. Mill Creek / Mill Brook
Council wraps up the last of its 12 meeting on May 9 in Tea Gardens, after which time, each list will be used to help to inform council's priorities for delivering to the community.
Council plans to come back out into the communities later in the year - about October - and report back on what has happened and were things are up to.