Bridgetown’s community scorecard survey information session produced some lively discussion.

Bridgetown is a beautiful place to live but few of its people think its local government authority has developed and communicated a clear vision for its future.

That was the message from the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes’ marketing and community scorecard which went out to residents in September.

Over 700 residents responded to the Shire’s survey and on Tuesday 10th of November 100 of them sat down in the Shire hall to hear the results and mull them over.

Lisa Lough, director of strategic planning and research business, Catalyse, facilitated the meeting and detailed the findings of the survey.

Catalyse’s survey compared the Shire’s performance in the eyes of its residents and benchmarked them against the results from other shires around the state.

The Shire’s satisfaction rating of 66/100 ranked it above the average of other regional councils but behind the top ranked shires of Denmark and Busselton.

However, Ms Lough stressed that a small improvement can easily see it placed among those better councils.

Great place to live

The good news is that Bridgetown and Greenbushes rate very highly as great places to live.

Ms Lough pointed out that councils really exposed themselves to the public when they carried out such surveys.

The Shire’s biggest shortcoming was the perception that it lacked leadership and hadn’t developed or communicated a clear vision.

There was a feeling that people were in the dark about what was happening in the Shire and that it needed to find the right channel to communicate its message, as not everyone was online.

But there were also concerns about youth services and activities, climate action and river management.

There was an openness to the reality of population growth and allowing some sub-division to occur, but also a need for a local planning strategy to deal with it.

Respondents were also looking for economic diversity that aligns with sustainability goals and supports local business.

People attending the meeting discussed their ideas for the top five projects for the Shire over the next 10 years in what turned out to be a broad group of discussions with a diverse range of ideas emerging.

Worthwhile exercise

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Shire President John Nicholas said the exercise had been extremely worthwhile and that he hoped that the priorities the Shire produced are what residents think is important.

He added that in setting priorities, things change and will continue to change. Climate change and how the Shire responded to it was important.

Mr Nicholas said the Shire was trying to align its priorities with those of the State Government to attract funding. That wasn’t always easy in an electorate that isn’t marginal, but the Shire was working with the State Government and had had some success.

“It’s difficult to incorporate different ideas into years one, two and three and finding the funding from the rates,” he said.

It was always a question of what the Shire could afford, and the challenge was to combine loans, rate increases and State Government Funds while being responsible with money.