Serge’s Column

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Dear SKN readers,

Another month has passed… and I must say I am pleased as we certainly got a lot of work done!

This month, I’m going to share a bit more about what we have been doing as a new Council with you.

We have finished the draft budget for 2013/14 and spent a great deal of time finessing our four year Council Plan. When a new Council is elected, its first priority is to develop a plan for its four years in office. We started with a blank page when we were elected last year and we have come up with, what I think is, a detailed and very interesting document. Both the draft budget and Council Plan will be made public on May 7th at the Ordinary Meeting of Council and made available for our residents and ratepayers comments and suggestions. This process will see us to the end of June when we will approve both documents. I encourage you to have a read and give us your feedback. This is the time to really express your opinions and tell us what you think. We have taken into account the comments you made during our seven conversation tents through our City in February/March but we can always improve. The consultative approach of the City of Port Phillip is one of the things that set us apart from other cities and for this we can be proud. I am looking forward to hearing from you. Nothing will ever be perfect but we have tried to keep it simple and in plain English. Coming from a Frenchman!

We are appointing our new CEO in May after going through an extensive search. We had so many brilliant applicants that our task was very difficult, but I am confident that we will make the right choice for our City – that is so special to many. Positions within the Port Phillip Council are highly regarded in the Local Government sector and I have always been told that to choose the CEO is the most important decision a Council can make. We did very well the last time with the extraordinary Ms Kay Rundle who, unfortunately for us and fortunately for her, retired in November last year; hopefully we will do as well this time! I shall update you next month…

Marina Reserve is now very well used and I am thrilled that it has attracted so many people of all ages and backgrounds. It is a terrific success that we can all be proud of as, after all, it has been a community project. It was exciting to even see people in wheelchairs ‘chair-skating’ in the park and enjoying it. Apparently it is one of the best skate spaces in the world for wheelchairs… not sure if this was part of the brief!

As you have read, we had a few issues with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne but it seems that for now things have gone quiet. There are so many challenges when it comes to planning the future while respecting our past, as we are not just building cities but communities. We have some fantastic opportunities in Fishermans Bend, which has been designated as an urban renewal area, we need to get the planning right from the start. The City of Port Phillip has developed guidelines for the whole precinct and a detailed structure plan for Montague, and I hope the state government, as the responsible planning authority, will be inspired by our good work.

I also wanted to point out a topic of interest for the younger people who read SKN. The City of Port Phillip is currently looking at youth issues in our City in more detail and we have employed a Youth Outreach Officer on a short term basis. We want to provide the best services we can to young people and we are encouraging anyone with views about how this can be done to contact myself or the Council. Our outreach worker will have an active presence across Port Phillip and will be based within the community through youth and stakeholder engagement. Some of the key issues the Officer will be tackling include:

-   Promoting a safe, welcoming and fun culture at the Marina Reserve skate space

-   Engaging with young people at youth spaces across the City

-   Referring young people to local services, programs and activities

-   Outlining recommendations for future youth outreach services

-   Participating in community consultations and representing the voices of young people

-   Building relationships to support ongoing youth outreach services in our community

 

This is an important piece of work and I encourage you to give us your thoughts so we can continue to provide quality services for our young people.

 

Until next month!

Au revoir,

 

Serge

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