Dammed if we do, Dammed if we Don’t

With the 5 Brownhill Creek Councils now investigating what impact clearing the actual creek itself and maybe carrying out works in some sections to improve the flow we have some residents believing that we are selling them short again.

Some time ago when Unley Council determined it would be appropriate to explore if there were options worth considering as alternatives to the dam up in Brownhill Creek some of our residents accused us of selling them out.

On that occasion we alerted residents that we would do some work on exploring the effectiveness of culverts. I voted for this even though I felt it would not be found to be practical. I envisaged the potential was that there would be widespread significant tree removal in Unley to save the 5 up in Brownhill Creek and if this was the case then I simply would not be able to support a no dam solution.

It was the sort of project that warranted engineering input however before going out to consultation to those that residents that would be affected. Before this design concept work could be finished the word got out as to what was being investigated and we got into trouble for not having consulted first.

This time round we need the knowledge that each of the property owners along the creek have accumulated before getting into any engineering design. So what was the reaction of some people. We are hiding our true intent because we are not sharing the engineering.

Interestingly we shared thoughts with three distinct group along our section of the creek last Saturday and we had three entirely different communications.

Community engagement is forever a challenge in that what level of contribution do we invite our residents to contribute. In my short time on Council I have seen often that at the same consultation some people will claim we should have done more work first and others, sitting at the same table, saying we should have involved them earlier.

It is with this background that I try to attend all public workshop/forums because I truly believe I will be better informed about what needs to be considered than I will reading a report written by one of our officers in the lead up to a Council meeting.

And in the last two weeks I have attended four such forums, all involving residents in my Ward, including:

Goodwood Oval improvement plan
Millswood park Improvement Plan
The Brownhill Creek clearance concept
DPA 2

So dammed if we do, dammed if we don’t. And all because of a dam.

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