Community consultation and deliberation to support Surf Coast Shire

In 2014-2015 assisted Richard O’Byrne Community Environment Planning to design and implement stakeholder consultation regarding opportunities and issues facing Surf Life Saving in Surf Coast Shire. The project was commissioned by Surf Coast Shire in partnership with Life Saving Victoria.

In early 2019 Jen facilitated a deliberative engagement process involving members of the Winchelsea community to determine the future use of the former Winchelsea Shire Hall. The much-loved asset had recently been vacated and Surf Coast Shire sponsored this project to ensure that the result would be broadly supported by the local community. Over 6 meetings the Community Working Group (with Jen’s facilitation) considered the feedback of two community surveys, developed a vision, objectives and principles for the building’s ongoing use. Jen helped the group prepare for a presentation to Councillors.

During 2019-2020 Jen subcontracted to Michael Connell & Associates to plan the community engagement aspect of the Prosperous Places project for Surf Coast Shire.
The project looked at the skills and emerging industries of the Shire and considered opportunities to build local economies.

In 2022, Jen was engaged by Surf Coast Shire to plan, facilitate and report on a Tiny Houses community forum. The purpose of the session was to discuss the opportunities and concerns relating to tiny houses on wheels to inform the review of Community Amenity Local Laws. The forum involved passionate people in favour of and others who were against changing Local Laws to allow Tiny Houses in the Shire. We worked to identify the areas of ‘common ground’, including concerns that Council would need to address if the proposal was approved.

Later in 2022, Jen was asked to plan and facilitate a community forum about the increasingly frequent flooding of Painkalac Creek. This meeting involved residents who were worried about (or have experienced) inundation of houses and businesses, along with people concerned about the environmental impacts of artificial estuary openings. This session involved a panel of relevant agencies and a Q&A forum, plus opportunities for participants to add written comments to questions on posters around the room.

In 2023, Jen facilitated a community forum to discuss strategies to prevent cockatoos from opening rubbish bins and scattering their contents.

PowerMaD is a renewable energy project driven by the Deans Marsh and District community to work towards autonomy from the grid. In 2023 Surf Coast Shire supported the project by accessing grant funds to develop options and an action plan. Jen planned, facilitated and reported on two deliberative community workshops and follow-up surveys to help community members articulate their goals and inform the action plan development.

In 2024, Jen supported CT Management Group’s review of the Unsealed Road Network in Surf Coast Shire. Jen’s work involved the planning, delivery and reporting on extensive community consultation across two drop-in sessions, two pop-ups, a survey for community members and another for businesses, and an interactive social map powered by Social Pinpoint. These opportunities enabled almost 1300 community members to have their say about the Shire’s unsealed roads.