Councillor Catch Up - Tuross Head wrap up

Published: 22 February 2024

Councillors are back in full swing after the summer break. The first Council meeting for 2024 was held on Tuesday 20 February and Councillor Catch Ups follow on Wednesdays after meetings.

Four councillors were in attendance at this month’s catch up at Tuross Head: Mayor Mathew Hatcher, Deputy Mayor Alison Worthington, Councillors Tubby Harrison and David Grace.

One member of the public, a regular at the catchups, was first to chat with councillors. He wanted to express his frustration over the recent Dalmeny Land Release drop-in session.

“I emailed Council staff asking to change the format of the meeting to a formal Q & A session - one that had an agenda and minutes,” the gentleman said to councillors.

On the day of the drop-in session at Dalmeny more than 50 people attended, filling the community hall. With big voices requesting a sit-down meeting, the six Council staff pivoted from a drop-in to a public meeting.

Mayor Hatcher said he has witnessed similar scenarios.

“This has happened before where the community ‘hijacks’ drop-in sessions,” he said.

Councillor Grace added: “Every meeting has a purpose – some have a chairperson and an agenda, while others are meant to be informal.”

Mayor Hatcher explained the benefits of drop-in sessions.

“Drop-ins, like the one we’re at today, allow the broader community to chat with no pressure of being drowned out or intimidated by bigger voices in a room,” he said.

The meeting was an additional step to the usual community engagement process, where Council staff made themselves available to talk about the project and process prior to public exhibition.

During public exhibition there will be multiple drop-in sessions in Dalmeny, and more information available including a draft Development Control Plan and draft specialist reports.

Staff listen to feedback, and during public exhibition make changes to the masterplan where appropriate.

To view feedback so far and frequently asked questions, visit the Dalmeny Land Release project page.

Deputy Mayor Worthington greeted a member of the Tuross Head Fishing Club who spoke about Coopers Island Road.

“The whole situation is still festering,” he said.

Councillor Worthington took notes to follow up with Council staff to receive clarity on fishing by the causeway at the end of the road.

A representative from Fires to Flourish attended the catchup to talk about her work.

She was working on developing an online map showing community-owned assets, like public halls, that are equipped with supplies, emergency power and equipment like defibrillators.

“We have been focusing on utilisation, accessibility and disaster preparedness of community-owned assets,” she told councillors.

She asked councillors why weren’t public halls  weren’t mentioned in the Community Strategic Plan.

Council is currently campaigning – through a survey and drop-in sessions - to collect feedback from the community, making sure Eurobodalla’s future plan is on track towards 2042.

Public halls are considered in Council’s Delivery Program and Operational Plan. These plans outline specific actions and projects, guided by the overarching themes in the Community Strategic Plan.

Councillors and the community member talked about the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the community’s feedback on the Community Strategic Plan. The group talked about the benefits of using AI to crunch data but felt emotions and sentiment of answers could be missed.

To answer – Council staff physically collect and compile Eurobodalla’s responses during their engagement efforts. Results are then sent to a data analysis company, who compiles and presents our shire’s responses along with other council’s in our region.

The company uses a mix of data analysis tools and human resources to make sure sentiments are captured.

Other conversations between community members and councillors involved: A gum tree dropping limbs on powerlines, the debris on beaches and the need for a no-dogs sign at North Plantation Beach –  or Stoneys as the locals call it.

To wrap-up the catch-up, one Tuross resident stopped in simply to say hello and meet councillors.

“I tried to think if I had any questions before coming, but I didn’t. So thought I would just say g’day,” the gentleman said.

He went on to admire some of Council's environmental projects, saying he found a 'Volunteer in Eurobodalla' book at the markets and joined a clean-up group at Kianga.

"I met Mimosa there (Council’s sustainability officer) who also does the butt bins project which I think is great,” he said.

He mentioned his struggle to find Council news without subscribing to paid media platforms since the Beagle discontinued. Councillors suggested to sign up to Council’s monthly e-newsletter, follow social media or the website to stay up-to-date.

Councillors left as the Catchup concluded at 12.30pm, however the Mayor stayed on to continue the conversation which travelled across topics on developments, how rates work and councillors’ achievements during their term so far.

“I came by just for a chat, and I have learned so much – it has been great,” the gentleman said.

The next Councillor Catch Up will be held at Batemans Bay Village Centre on  Wednesday 20 March, 10.30am - 12.30pm. For all upcoming catch ups visit the Councillor webpage.

  • Since August 2023, we publish a summary of the Catch Up conversations on our website.

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