LSPS phase one - community scoping and vision

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Through November 2018, a number of workshops were held as the first phase of engagement to:

  • To inform the community and stakeholders about the LSPS
  • identify key community issues and values
  • develop a preliminary high level strategic vision/narrative for the Municipality
  • prioritise the key themes and responses that will guide more detailed analysis and provide a framework for the development of the Statement.

METHODOLOGY

The consultation sessions comprised of seven, two-hour workshops, which aimed to reach a broad range of community and stakeholder groups. The community and stakeholder workshops were specifically designed for their targeted audiences to create an engaging and relevant experience. The workshops aimed to provide an understanding of Kiama’s current and future opportunities and challenges, as well as what makes Kiama’s environment, people, character and economy unique. 

WORKSHOP OUTCOMES

Councillor and Planning Committee Workshop

A two-hour facilitated workshop was held with Kiama Councillors and Council’s Planning Committee members. Key feedback about the future of Kiama included:

  • A sustainable Council that is committed to renewables and the use of smart infrastructure to manage environmental impacts
  • a pedestrian friendly town that that supports innovation (e.g. driverless bus) to reduce road congestion.
  • opportunity for re-development and activation of Kiama Harbour.

Economic and Tourism Workshop

A two-hour facilitated workshop was held with Kiama businesses and tourism operators. Key feedback about the future of Kiama included:

  • The uniqueness of each town is celebrated and supports a healthy sense of community connection and belonging
  • there is a warm acceptance of the diversity of people who live, work and visit the area.

This workshop was asked to come up with a metaphor for Kiama:

  • Group 1 - a drone: Kiama has different parts, places and interests but it works as one free and fun area with options that cater for everyone’s interests and is able to be flexible and responsive to change
  • Group 2 – a smile: Kiama is a positive and welcoming place that attracts the brightest of the best and makes people feel that they belong.

Community Workshops

Three two-hour facilitated workshops were held with Kiama residents – one during a work day, one on a week night and one on a Saturday morning. Key feedback about the future of Kiama included:

  • The unique environment is preserved and unobtrusive, well-designed development does not compromise green corridors and existing architectural character
  • the environment generates renewable energy and is resilient and prepared for climate change
  • the economy is diverse, offering employment opportunities in technology (potentially at Bombo quarry), education and agriculture sectors
  • local businesses offer a broad range of products and commercial services to support the local community
  • the community is more ethnically diverse and has more young families but retains its same sense of community spirit
  • local character embraces and celebrates natural and built environments by retaining the identity of individual towns, preserving heritage architecture, ensuring sympathetic new development in town centres and protecting the surrounding natural environments and landscapes.

High School Workshop

A two-hour facilitated workshop was held with a number of Kiama High School year 9 – 11 students. Key feedback about the future of Kiama included:

  • Kiama is environmentally conscious through use of sustainable practices and renewable energy
  • advances in technology are embraced to assist with the delivery of services and protection of the environment
  • development is modest and does not sprawl out of the current town boundaries but is able to provide affordable housing options for young people.

Primary School Workshop

A two-hour facilitated workshop was held with representatives from years 4-5 from primary schools across the Municipality. Key feedback about the future of Kiama included:

  • Kiama’s environment, with its coastline and rolling hills, is preserved and enhanced and new development is low key
  • technology, renewable energy and smart infrastructure supports the aging population and sustainability of the environment.  

Community Survey

Supplementing the insights from the community workshops, the IRIS Community Satisfaction Survey identified the community’s top priorities for the future as:

  • The need to control and manage development as the community is concerned that Kiama is at risk of losing its distinctive character. A number of respondents called for a reduction in high-rise apartments and a general slow-down in residential development
  • Environmental sustainability, including the conservation of the natural environment and promoting use of sustainable energy to move towards a carbon neutral future
  • The economic sustainability of the organisation and the need to support local businesses and promote tourism.

The two issues that were of the highest concern for Kiama residents were:

  • Over-development: pressure on infrastructure, urban sprawl and disappearance of heritage
  • Over-population: challenging existing character and causing infrastructure and parking concerns.

Residents thought that the best things about living in Kiama were the sense of community, the natural beauty of the area and its relaxed village feel and country atmosphere

The community consider parking, shopping facilities and public transport as the most important new infrastructure priorities.

SUMMARY

A summary of the key outcomes from across the workshops is provided below:

The Environment

The community values the unique natural landscapes and colours of Kiama – from the deep green bio-diversity of the escarpment, through to the agricultural pasture lands and rolling green hills of the coastal landscape and earthy hues of the coastline and deep blue of the ocean.

The community wants to see the natural environment and open spaces retained and protected and for Kiama to be sustainable place that embraces renewable energy and smart technology and that responds to the challenges of climate change.

The Economy

The community acknowledged Kiama’s strong reliance on tourism and reflected on the more diverse economy and employment opportunities that existing in the past including a better range of shops in the town and a stronger agriculture sector.

The community wants to see a more diverse and sustainable economy that balances tourism with growth in the commercial and clean technology sectors.

The People

The community spirit and resilience of the people of Kiama is seen as a particular strength – the community is friendly, connected and has a commitment to volunteerism.

The community wants to retain the existing community spirit but would like to see more diversity with different cultures and more young people in the community.

The Character

The community values the distinction between towns and villages set within the coastal and rural landscapes and the unique heritage and architecture of the buildings of the towns.

The community is concerned that over-development will ruin this existing character and wishes to see modest growth that embraces a local architectural language rather than generic higher density buildings.