The Community Summit Workshop took place last Tuesday, April 11 at the Northam Recreation Centre.
The workshop gave the community a chance to be involved with the decision making process on the future direction of the Shire.
Summit facilitator Hannah Fitzhardinge presented the group of residents, business owners, investors and councillors, with results from the “Where to by 2022” survey that was undertaken by 427 people from the Shire.
Feedback was compiled from the photo booth at Christmas on Fitzgerald, six focus groups and a survey that was delivered by mail to residents in the Shire and on social media.
The three main areas that stood out from the data was the importance of:
- Safety and security
- Economic growth
- Community wellbeing
Environmental awareness and engaged governance were not too far behind.
The survey results revealed that people feel safer in their homes then on the street or in public areas.
It also showed people in Northam town feel less safe than people in rural areas including Wundowie, Clackline, Bakers Hill and Grass Valley.
Some comments on safety and security included:
- The police are trying, but the problem remains.
- Concern due to the increase in anti-social behaviour, especially to drug use.
- The Shire town needs to be a safe place to live, work etc.
The second top issue residents want to see addressed is business and tourism development and job creation.
- A desire for more choice in retail and for stores to be open on weekends.
- Opportunity to develop further in education, industrial, e-business, solar energy and sustainability.
Lastly community wellbeing was important to residents, with most people feeling a sense of wellbeing but feel there is not enough services in the Shire including events, recreation facilities and public transport. A long term planning report will be made as a consequence the survey results and community feedback.
Northam Shire resident Anna Dixon gave a speech to the room about her personal experiences with Northam and why she has chose to make it her home.
Ms Dixon spoke about providing consultancy to government agencies in WA and how Northam is in the perfect position for her to reach the airport quickly. She also spoke of decentralisation and said Northam could be a hub to deliver services to the rest of the State.
This speech was followed by exercise physiologist Carl Della who provides services to people over the wheatbelt. He too noted the great position of Northam in reaching clients and how he was drawn to the place from a young age.
The third speaker was new Eco Lifestyle Village developer Mike Hollett. He noted the affordability of Northam and the proximity to Perth, the progressive Shire and “massive potential” of the town with developers.