Community consultation delivers

Article image - Community consultation delivers sas-five: Five, a community group dedicated to active transport, took an active role in the community engagement.

A project designed to turn a tired residential road into a modern active street in Western Australia (WA) has proved the importance and effectiveness of good community engagement.

The City of Nedlands embarked on creating a ‘safe active street’, joining two neighbouring councils using Elizabeth Street and Jenkins Avenue as part of a program being rolled out across Perth to achieve better transport outcomes.

Led by the WA Government’s Department of Transport, the design includes reduced motorist speeds and increased bicycle use for all levels of experience – while also catering for pedestrian use, especially school children.

City of Nedlands Community Engagement Coordinator Caroline Walker said opportunities were developed for effective engagement with property and business owners, residents, education facilities, religious organisations, community groups, adjoining councils, users of the streets and facilities, the broader community and other government agencies potentially impacted by the project.

“Community engagement was undertaken to identify any issues or concerns and possible impacts arising from the concept designs.

“It was also to provide information and awareness about the project and broader Perth program, as well as giving those directly affected and the local community a chance to participate to gauge their level of support.”

Several methodologies were used, including information sessions, opportunities to view the concepts in numerous public places, online engagement and talking to members of the project team.

People were able to provide feedback through the City of Nedlands’ online engagement hub or by leaving feedback at the information sessions, as well as sending emails and letters.

“They could see the level of influence of their comments and where any design modifications were made to the concept plans.

“This way, they understood their voices had been heard and the reasons why some suggestions could not be incorporated.

“Concerns raised were discussed and people received timely responses.”

City of Nedlands Chief Executive Officer, Greg Trevaskis, said the successful community engagement could be attributed to the methodologies used.

“This was matched with the commitment from all employees within the City of Nedlands working directly or indirectly on the project, including the Department of Transport.

“Council approved the results from the community engagement outcomes in May 2018, allowing the project to continue to the next stage.

“At the meeting, a small concerned group tried to have the project abandoned at the last minute but Council relied on the high support for community engagement activities to progress it to the detailed design phase.

“Further engagement will continue through this design, especially with residents and schools in the streets, through to activation of the project.”