Pride in our community

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Central Goldfields Shire Council has embarked on a project to encourage and promote civic pride after considering the issue at a workshop session in June.

Director of technical and development services, David Sutcliffe said the civic pride movement in Victoria had its beginnings around 1997, set up to initiate active programs that empower communities with council assistance.

Key points from council’s discussion indicated council assistance is a vital link to support partnerships and alliances and obtain the groups’ defined project goals.

“Projects need to be functional and affordable, with clearly identified outcomes and measurements of success,” Mr Sutcliffe pointed out.

“A civic pride program would involve champions within the community facilitating projects.

“The program would encourage the community to nominate proposals without council being the funding or delivery body.

“Council could contribute some materials or resources to a project where applicable.”

Mr Sutcliffe said there are already groups undertaking projects that may be classed as civic pride projects, for example Lions and Rotary clubs’ projects.

The project will involve projects having shared goals, agreed outcomes, partnerships, inspiration projects and receiving recognition.

Council’s role would be encouragement — providing the support and encouragement for groups; empowerment — clearing technical barriers and providing guidance; education — providing a framework (such as an awards recognition night) for groups to develop and share knowledge and techniques; and engagement — providing an

opportunity for council and community to engage on a number of levels.

Mr Sutcliffe identified six phases in the civic pride project — inception, promotion, project submission, project selection, monitoring and reward and recognition.

“Recognition would be important,” Mr Sutcliffe said.

“Civic pride awards could be used to recognise local initiatives and recognise the great things people are doing within the local community, and encourage more people to get involved.”

He said categories could include community project award, school environment award, business environment

award, waste reduction award, community building award, historical preservation award, urban streetscape award and conservation award.

Some of the themes coming out of council’s discussions included positive visual impact on the towns, personal safety, social inclusion and well being, environmental outcomes, enhanced housing and physical environment, tourism and heritage and community art.

Mr Sutcliffe listed examples of civic pride projects: town entrances, graffiti removal, cutting back trees overhanging footpaths, community or street barbecues, community events, litter removal, recycling, street beautification, street competitions, remote heritage sites, aerosol art, painted billboards and sculptures.

Cr Annie Constable said the obvious place to start to focus on community engagement is on civic pride — how we can work together and connect to enhance the beautiful shire in which we live with its proud heritage.

“When I was elected to council I committed to strengthening community engagement.

“The community viewed this as a key need,” Cr Constable said.

“This is also an opportunity for us to engage with youth, to work through with them in their own way on the features in our shire that are important to them, and how we can care for and improve wherever possible.”

Cr Constable said civic pride is really about achieving together — the theme of our council plan — and all the benefits which flow from it.

“I have enjoyed contributing to the development of this paper and congratulate our director of technical services and his team for such a quality outcome.

“I look forward to all the possibilities ahead as we work together in partnership to make our great shire even more beautiful and share in the pride of that achievement,” Cr Constable said.

Mayor, Cr Chris Meddows-Taylor said we have some wonderful places and spaces in our shire, many of them rich in heritage.

“The problem is, large amounts of money are needed to bring all of these to the standard we would like.

“The ravages of drought creates added challenges.”

The Mayor said as a council we are committed to boosting tourism, but we cannot expect visitors to value our assets if we don’t have pride in them ourselves.

“We can’t work on all of these at the same time, but what we can do is partner with community groups to work on and enhance particular projects which are important to them.

“That way we build confidence, commitment and capability to take the next step and hopefully engage more in the community to work with us.”

The Mayor said the civic pride initiative is an exciting new partnership with the community in “Achieving Together” the theme of the council plan.

The Mayor will lead the civic pride project and the committee will consist of the council in workshop, where the project will be a standing item.

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