Deliberative democracy

Article image - Deliberative democracy Community engagement is serious business when it comes to planning for the future of Hervey Bay’s Esplanade.

Fraser Coast Regional Council, Queensland, is inviting the community to shape the future of the Hervey Bay Esplanade.

Using a process known as deliberative democracy, Council will identify the community’s values, priorities and vision for the key community, environmental and economic asset.

A community panel has been selected to come together over six full day sessions throughout May and June to deliberate on a future vision for the Esplanade and present a report to Council.

Fraser Coast residents are now being invited to register to be an observer at the community panel sessions.

Acting Mayor, Darren Everard, said, “The Esplanade is one of the best recognised and most loved features of the Fraser Coast, and helps define our region’s identity and reputation as a great place to work, live and holiday.

“As our area grows and expands, it’s vital we strike the right balance to meet the differing community needs and aspirations for the foreshore.

“The first phase of this process included wider community engagement such as an online survey, targeted group discussions and drop-in sessions at locations along the Esplanade.

“The second phase, which starts this month, involves 45 randomly selected community members coming together to consider a wide range of ideas and evidence to help develop a vision for the Esplanade and present a report to Council.

“The panel, which has been independently selected, is representative of the wider community demographics in terms of age, gender and geography.”

Councillor Stuart Taylor said, “Deliberative democracy is all about placing people closer to the affairs of government. It’s about giving community members adequate time, information and support to grapple with complex issues and have a direct influence on decision makers.

“Observers are an important part of the process and provide an opportunity for the broader community to view the panel and deliberative democracy process in action.”

This deliberative democracy process is a first for the Fraser Coast Regional Council.