Bello Council wraps up CBD Master Plan engagement

A Shire-wide Youth Workshop also drew significant participation. Photo: Jay Black – And The Trees Photography.

BELLINGEN Shire Council has concluded its community engagement on master plans for the region’s CBD areas, which involved workshops and surveys aimed at shaping the future of Bellingen, Dorrigo, and Urunga.

The community engagement initiative, facilitated in collaboration with consultant companies Cobalt Engagement and McGregor Coxall, included a series of workshops held in each township, with an additional workshop added for Bellingen due to overwhelming interest, alongside online workshops tailored to each locality.

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A Shire-wide Youth Workshop also drew significant participation, highlighting the enthusiasm and interest of young residents.

In total, 166 individuals contributed their insights across in-person workshops, while 791 residents completed the online survey, demonstrating a high level of engagement and interest in the future of Bellingen Shire.

“The sessions went exceptionally well, encouraging engaging conversations within each of our towns,” Bellingen Shire Council General Manager Mark Griffioen said.

“We were really happy with the level of participation from community members, with many bringing forward great feedback and insights that will help inform the approach moving forward.”

Topics ranged from energy and housing to infrastructure enhancements like bike paths and upgrades to facilities such as amenities and skateparks.

Larger issues like economic and climate resilience were also discussed.

Council will now work with McGregor Coxall to analyse insights gathered from the engagement events, with plans to compile a comprehensive report by mid-year.

The CBD master plan will then undergo a period of public exhibition, inviting further community feedback, before aiming to adopt the final version by September 2024.

The engagement process revealed clear and consistent themes, including a desire for more walkable spaces, comfortable public areas, accessible parking, enhanced community facilities, and greater recognition of Aboriginal culture throughout the Shire.

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