The fourth full-day meeting of the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) Community Panel took place on Saturday 13 October. Thirty-four members were in attendance to continued their deliberations to finalising their recommendations to Council as Council reviews its GWMP.

After reviewing all the topics the Panel identified for consideration at the previous Panel session, and adding any missing ones, the Panel moved into small groups to begin working on their first draft of the recommendations. Each group took carriage of a topic to draft recommendations, taking into consideration all the information the Panel has heard and read and drawing on their own experience of Nillumbik’s green wedge . This information included the guest speakers, the wider engagement report, the background report, and the existing GWMP. The focus of each recommendation was what outcome the Panel was seeking to achieve, rather than how it might be achieved.

The Panel continued their deliberations in the afternoon by regrouping and reviewing the first draft of recommendations. Each Panel member reviewed every recommendation and considered their level of comfort with each one, and identified what, if anything, would make them more comfortable with the recommendation. This feedback was tallied up and presented back to the group. This gives the Panel a starting point for discussing, refining and rewriting their recommendations at their next meeting, this Saturday 20 October.

At the commencement of the panel process, it was explained by the facilitators that a recommendation would only be put forwarded in the final report to Council if it had at least 80 per cent of panellists agreeing with it, which is why time is given to writing and re-writing the recommendations until they are as clear and satisfactory to the Panel as possible. Some recommendations may not meet the 80 per cent level of agreement but if panellists request it, can be presented to Council as a minority report, explaining clearly why Council should consider them even though they did not meet the voting threshold.

Council has approved the Panel’s request for an extra day to complete their task, which has been scheduled for Saturday 17 November. Their final recommendations will be officially received by Council at their Council meeting on 27 November, and the Council response will be presented at the December Council meeting on 18 December. This change to the project timelines will result in the draft GWMP being prepared by Council over the summer, with the draft released for community feedback starting in March 2019.