New precinct committee for Kiama Central

Kiama Central is set to revive its Precinct Committee, giving residents a forum to express their views about issues affecting this area of the Municipality.

An official endorsement of the re-establishment has been recommended to councillors for the April Council Meeting.

Four precincts were established by the Council in the 1990s, but only one, the South Precinct, remains. Jamberoo and Minnamurra residents have active resident associations rather than operating under the precinct model.

“Precinct committees operate under a Council framework, where we provide guidelines and basic admin support, as well as a venue and insurance cover,” says General Manager Michael Forsyth.

“They provide valuable feedback from residents for Council to have regard to, although it is not bound to any of the Precinct’s views.”

A recent public meeting of residents unanimously voted to establish a precinct, rather than an association, largely because of the ease of doing so.

Under the Council guidelines, all residents are able to attend and participate at precinct meetings, with the Minutes tabled with Council.

“It has been our experience that attendance ebbs and flows depending on interest in the issues being discussed,” says Michael Forsyth. “Continuity comes with an involved Executive.”

The move to create a central Kiama community group grew out of the work that members of the Keep Kiama Local Committee carried out last year to prevent a forced merger of Kiama and Shoalhaven councils.

Peter O’Neil, a leading figure in the Keep Kiama Local movement and one of the instigators of the precinct initiative, says “When we were defending our independence, we really noticed there was no body to approach to reach people in the central part of Kiama.

“At this time of change, we see the precinct as giving people a voice on issues that concern them, as well as an understanding of the pressures facing Council.”

Kim Elder agrees, “We are hoping the precinct will make people more aware of issues facing our community, particularly to do with development, traffic and retaining our identity.”

The next meeting of the precinct is on 20 April, 7pm, Joyce Wheatley Community Centre. All welcome.


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