OPINION: The real data behind Jetty Foreshores Revitalisation consultation

DEAR News Of The Area,

HAVING taken a particular interest in the planning process for the revitalisation of the Jetty Foreshores, I was always surprised by the lack of information and data the government released in relation to the community consultation conducted in 2021.

In comparison to what was released following the GHD 2018 consultation, it seemed we were being shielded from a full disclosure of the community’s views.

Towards the end of June 2022, I lodged a Freedom of Information request asking for the raw data from the 2021 consultation survey.

I was initially told that a search undertaken by no less than an Executive Director of Property and Development NSW, revealed that the department didn’t hold the data requested.

Upon further questioning, a Program Director of Precinct Development PDNSW miraculously found that they did, in fact, have the data.

The data I have received is extremely extensive and raises many questions far beyond what I can address in a letter to the editor but a few of the issues that need to be raised are the following:

· There were two different survey forms used, one for online and one written form which was handed out at pop-up consultation events. Data on written forms is missing.

· There were no notes kept from discussions with ‘ambassadors’ at pop-sup events. However, they have given a summary of feedback on those missing notes in their report.

· Some graphs In the Ethos Urban report presented to the public were misleading, and one graph in particular used an incorrect ranking system to come up with a graph that, I assume, suited their line of thinking better.

· Ethos Urban feedback comments had statements that couldn’t be supported by data, and statements that had no relevance to the questions.

One graph that Ethos Urban didn’t produce showed that 67 percent of respondents ranked Tourism, Commercial and Accommodation category the least and second least important of eight big ideas put forward.

Conversely, only 11 percent found the above category the most or second most important.

On the basis of my analysis, it is hard to have faith in the past and future consultations.

More to the point, how on earth is it possible to claim that the draft masterplan provided to this community, which includes large numbers of residential and tourist accommodation, is supported by the 2021 consultation?

Over to you, Gurmesh

Coffs Harbour.

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