Residents and workers alike have been up in arms over the reduction in hours at the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) which came in to effect on July 15. Many have protested that they weren't aware of the changes being made.
While it may be easy to put the boot into the council, people also need to take responsibility to better inform themselves about what is going on in their community.
Wingecarribee Shire Council urged the community, through the media and on its website, to speak up during the 2019/2020 Draft Operation Plan and Budget exhibition period, in which the changes to the operating hours of the RRC were noted. During the exhibition period, between April 29 and May 27, only two people made submissions.
In comparison, 70 submissions and 1100 signature strong petition was submitted to council in protest to the use of the Environment Levy for an art gallery. This proposal was on exhibition at the same time as the RRC call for public response. The community spoke on the environment levy matter and the council listened, ultimately deciding that no funds would be taken from the levy to support the proposed art gallery.
In another instance last year, indicative of people power winning with council, several residents spoke out in force about a proposed development in Aitken Road, Bowral, concerned about the possible loss of historically significant properties. Prompted by the resident concerns, Wingecarribee Council placed an interim heritage order on the properties.
Unfortunately, in the case of the RRC matter, it's only now that the changes are in effect that members of the community are reacting to the situation. It might feel like the council isn't listening, but if you don't speak up then how will the council know what is important or not to the community. Granted there may still be times when the outcome may not go your way, but don't let complacency be to your detriment
If you want to have a say in the way council spends money or operates, if you want to feel that you are being better represented by those elected to speak and make decisions on behalf of you, then you need to make your voice heard when it matters. Not when it's too late.
Council continually promotes public exhibition periods regarding decisions it needs to make on many issues - development applications, proposed changes to zonings, budget and general business in council to name a few. These exhibition periods are promoted in the media and on council's website. We all are invited to have a say, let's not dismiss the opportunity.
Read also: Heritage support unanimous for Aitken Road
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