In preparing to review the Green Wedge Management Plan, Council undertook a broad program of consultation with the Nillumbik community between May and July 2018. We asked people to put forward their ideas on the question:
‘What is the best way for us to manage Nillumbik’s Green Wedge, now and in the future?’
In April and May 2018, Council invited local community leaders to work with council staff members in designing the wider engagement for the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP).
Community leaders are those people who are great connectors, know how to reach people, and can help Council reach community members who don’t always get involved in Council projects.
Over two workshops, the group worked together to answer the following questions:
- Who are impacted by or have an influence over the green wedge land?
- What encourages and discourages people from participating in community engagement activities?
- What will assist or motivate particular groups of people to participate?
- What information will participants in the wider engagement need, to provide informed advice to the community panel and to Council?
- What questions should Council ask, to elicit views and opinions about the future of the green wedge?
- How can we collectively safeguard wellbeing during what might become a difficult conversation?
You can read all the notes from the design workshops here.
Over a six week community engagement period from late May until mid-July 2018, the community shared their thoughts and experiences of the Green Wedge.
Feedback was captured through surveys and community workshops. Workshop questions were based on the survey questions. Community members were also encouraged to share stories and photos, and pop in to Coffee and Chat sessions.
- 10 facilitated community workshops with 181 people attending.
- Workshops held were for rural landowners (3 workshops), wider community (2 workshops), Landcare, Friends of Groups, tourism and business operators, equine community and CFA members.
- A survey which received 688 responses.
- A youth survey which received 48 responses.
- Online stories about the Green Wedge which received 38 responses.
- 23 coffee and chat sessions and 3 attendances at markets to collect stories.
- 40 drawings of the Green Wedge by primary school children and 1 piece of artwork from Nillumbik Youth Theatre Group.
- 7 additional responses outside the formal process.
Survey respondents were asked to provide some basic data about who they are and their relationship to the Green Wedge. Not every respondent provided these details. The number of responses to the question is provided under each graph.
Everything we heard through the community engagement phase has been summarised in a Community Engagement Report.
The full verbatim responses of all community engagement activities are also available to read.
The key findings are provided below:
What I like about the Green Wedge
Respondents indicated that the key elements they liked about the Green Wedge were:
- Space, peace and wellbeing – this related particularly to how the Green Wedge made people feel, an appreciation of views and fresh air along with the less stressful environment.
- Environment, biodiversity, plants and animals – this related to the importance of the natural environment for plants and animals as well as humans.
What are the challenges of living, working and visiting the Green Wedge?
The challenges cited by respondents included:
- Over development and over population – this was a consistent theme with concerns that the population will be increased and the area developed further. While the term “over development” was used by respondents, the meaning of this term is not definitive and may not be consistently used by respondents.
- Transport issues – particularly poor quality and congested roads and lack of good public transport options. Lack of safe cycling and horse riding options were also mentioned.
- Bushfire – the risk of bushfires and the need to manage land to reduce its impacts.
- Environmental degradation – a reduction in the quality of the land through poor land management, development and neglect.
- Costs – for individuals living in the Green Wedge and the importance of finding funding options from other levels of governments, to reduce the financial pressure on local residents of maintaining the Green Wedge.
- Balance – finding the balance between people and the environment and between different groups, such as farmers, conservationists, recreational users who live, work and spend leisure time in the Green Wedge.
- Planning – difficult, costly and time intensive and unfair planning processes were considered a challenge by some respondents
What are the challenges the Green Wedge will face in the future?
The future challenges were broadly similar to those currently experienced with the addition of:
- The possible lack of job and business opportunities.
- Climate change and the associated risks such as bushfire, lack of water and environmental damage.
What are the opportunities for the Green Wedge?
The opportunities for the Green Wedge broadly mirror the challenges:
- Health and wellbeing – utilising the Green Wedge for health and wellbeing services and industries and to educate people about the environment and its opportunities to improve human health and wellbeing.
- Improve infrastructure – to encourage people to come to the Green Wedge and to assist the local community in day to day activities.
- Community building – to build on the community strengths and work with existing groups and develop a shared understanding of living in the Green Wedge.
- Sustainable tourism – to look at tourism opportunities to encourage people into the Green Wedge and local towns.
- Environmental Protection – the opportunity to protect the Green Wedge for future generations.
Any other comments
Survey respondents were invited to provide any further comments and the strong response was to protect the Green Wedge and ‘not mess it up’.