Councillor tours target far reaching community

Clarence Valley Council in New South Wales is using a Councillors’ Tours Program to reach its constituent population, which is spread over an area of 10,440 square kilometres.

The tours assist Council to understand community needs and build lasting relationships with residents.

Clarence Valley Council was formed in February 2004 following the amalgamation of the former Councils of Pristine Waters, Maclean, Grafton and Copmanhurst.

It now includes 43 towns and villages plus the regional city of Grafton, and has a population of 50,000 people.

After amalgamation, an immediate problem for elected representatives was the need to become better acquainted with their jurisdiction.

With a new Council came a new Local Government area with fresh issues and challenges.

Clarence Valley Mayor, Ian Tiley, said a different approach was needed to engage with the community, especially those in remote localities.

“We needed to come to terms with the geographic spread and scale of the new Local Government area,” he said.

“The tours, which involve Councillors and senior staff members travelling by bus or car across the Council area, provide the perfect venue for informal interactions targeted at Local Government service delivery.

“We aim to provide eight tours over each six month period, mostly at monthly intervals. We increase the frequency of tours when promoting feedback on the annual draft management plan.”

Executive Unit Coordinator, Brian Lane, said that the Mayor, generally accompanied by three or four Councillors, two senior officers and the General Manager, takes time out on a weekend to travel to three of four localities in the Council area.

He said that turn outs are generally good, with an average of 20 people at each location, depending on the population of the relevant locality.

“The tours have seen a number of issues addressed, often operational matters, but also major issues affecting the community, such as significant development proposals, the Pacific Highway route selection process, water supply and the like.

“Council also uses the tours as a means to promote projects that it has initiated, such as community economic development projects.”

For further information contact Brian Lane on (02) 6643 0213.