That is the question in Black Forest after a meeting with residents who believe they are not being listened too by DPTI.
Firstly; thanks to Minister Koutsantonis for spending his Saturday afternoon with these residents and for the approach taken to try and broker some negotiated solutions, one by one with residents, also one by one. He tried hard to listen and to assist.
He unfortunately found that hard for two reasons.
The first was, as the residents will confirm is the absence of engineering solutions being offered as options by DPTI and the old escape clause “Council have agreed” that this is the way to go. The second is some residents standing on their digs believing they have superior or at least other solutions and that DPTI have not bothered to investigate other than what they have, providing preferred one off only solutions rather than provide options.
In the finish he was backing away from helping residents in my opinion because he perceived were coming on too strong and I suspect he was thinking they (the residents) weren’t considering the rest of the public with their solution.
I have to say I got frustrated with the continual reference for the last 6 months to Council agreement and that Council will decide.
In other words while progress was being made today I think ultimately it was a stale mate, with a group of residents complaining to me after the entourage left.
I pushed two things and quite adamantly with things appearing to go nowhere.
First I forcibly put a stake in the “council” excuse by saying whilst DPTI will take instruction from a Council manager, they (the management) will not give that direction without seeking elected member input first. I then confirmed that Elected Member approval, will not happen without Resident input.
This I believe to be a fundamental difference between DPTI and Council. DPTI provides a preferred solution (one they can work with) and then seeks acceptance from the public. Council seeks to have options that the public can choose between and/or influence.
The second thing I pushed was providing the residents with some goal for when the node meeting will be, given DPTI’s representative was unable to suggest when it could be so I pushed and the residents accepted an agreed time.
This means design work by DPTI or ourselves now has a timeline rather than a meeting waiting on DPTI and council being ready.
PS I am convinced that DPTI, after many dealings with this organisation, believe they have to present A or THE solution rather than options as they should be determining and then seeking acceptance rather than approval and this limits their thinking of possible solutions because they wind up focusing too narrowly. Indeed this approach often means they fail to see the real problems in the first place.