Was anyone really listening?

Signe Westerberg Headshots FAV (26 of 102)Earlier today I attended the Liverpool Transport taskforce and enjoyed speaking with key players in our local transport agencies, while tonight I had the great pleasure of  joining a number of my 2168 neighbours in attending an information session regarding the Miller Town Centre Plan. The biggest outcome for me was how poorly Liverpool Council have been in getting their message through to residents. Tonights meeting was in direct response to a number of my fellow 2168  Residents group request to provide more information about the proposed Miller Town Centre. What was quite interesting was the number of residents who misunderstood the intent and who thought they were there to discuss the DA relating to the building of two blocks of units on the Carpark site at Miller near the pub. An easy misunderstanding as both relate to proposed development in and around Miller shopping Centre.

So let’s be clear, the Blocks of flats, yes two blocks,  with the development application being assessed by Liverpool Council for the JRPP, being over $20M is assessed by the Joint regional planning panel for the State Government who overseas all developments of such large value. The sceptic in me sees the JRPP as the approval arm of the government, so they can claim an arms distance while approving almost everything they see. The important part of this is that Liverpool Council is there to represent us, the residents and while we have two representatives on the panel, we need to rely heavily on council officers ensuring we are protected from the less desirable aspects of such a big development, because our two representatives are Always outnumbered by Govt appointees.

So back to the actual point of the Meeting, one thing that was very clear is that council is still struggling to communicate with the community on important issues. As I said before, without the urging of the 2168 group the consultation period was closed, now there is another week in which the community can make comment. For those wanting to know more, Council will leave copies at the Miller Library on Wednesday but remember you only have a week from today to respond. Council in fairness does no doubt comply with the legal requirements, however what was clear by the need for this meeting is that those requirements are missing the target. Some serious thought needs to be given to how to communicate with the wider community, that said I don’t envy them in some cases, because even with staff attempting to articulate the message that caused some in the room real concern, mostly because imo trying to present a detailed process simply isn’t an easy task. The Miller Town Centre Plan is a wish list based on already in play regulatory and statutory rules, now its time the community added their wish list for Miller, what they would and wouldn’t like to see. It won’t stop investment, as money is cheap at the moment for building all sorts of enterprise, what will stop building unit blocks is the news today that the ‘glut’ will cause the prices to drop, not something an investor wants to hear.  It is also worth keeping in mind that if you think a LOT gets past in Development now, its virtually nothing compared to what this present State Govt wants to sneak past us with their plans to change how zoning is affected over time. Kudos to the staff for listening to the community, but did they hear?  There were some angry residents, some confused and others just wanting to be heard. All of whom are important, all of whom need to be heard.

Don’t forget tomorrow night is the Rural Forum, 14th is the redo of the Council meeting from Hell aka 24/2/16 and the 15th is an extraordinary meeting to discuss the CEO’s employment, its been pointed out that what is happening here is almost a carbon copy of the Former CEO Portelli demise in December 2013 (https://signe4liverpool.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/well-whod-have-thought/) While I care little for the outcome for this particular CEO, I’ve never been a fan,  I can tell you that I am anxious that the same people who made this choice will be charged with employing yet another CEO/GM/ lord of the land or whatever title the next deems appropriate. It also concerns me greatly what any payout will cost us, six figures times 4 was the Portelli pay out so I’ve been told and again this chap has had his review recently. Time will tell of course, but the likelihood of details is doubtful.

We have lost too many good council employees from many levels under this divided and inept ruling party I hesitate to imagine what the disruption albeit necessary will do to the few we have left. I oft say you get what you vote for, however I don’t think anyone thought it could get this bad.

History in Liverpool does repeat itself, sadly few of our local pollies learn anything from it, other than how to embarrass our city, our residents and our future.


More soon… all views welcome even if they don’t agree with mine.


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