Community voice grows stronger north of border

MORE than two decades after forming, a Gerringong-based group which acts as a liaison between residents and Kiama Council is seeking to expand its reach within the community.

In 1991, council established four precinct groups within the municipality via referendum at the council elections – Southern, Central, Minnamurra and Jamberoo.

Some have since morphed into other community groups but the Kiama Council South Precinct is the only of the four remaining.

Its catchment area incorporates Gerringong, Gerroa, Toolijooa and Foxground.

South Precinct chairman Darrell Clingan was re-elected for a sixth term at the AGM in May.

Mr Clingan described the group as acting as a liaison between the council and the community.

The Werri Beach resident said the group had recently met with council staff.

“These operating guidelines were written nearly 25 years ago,” he said.

“The position of the precinct has changed over that time; we have a Facebook page now.

“We felt for us to go forward in a modern way we needed to address some of the objectives of the operational guidelines.

“We’re trying to instigate the discussion; trying to relate to not only the people who attend meetings, but engage young members of the community via social media.

“We’re very fortunate we come from a community that is conscious of what’s happening in the area, and are prepared to engage in these sorts of social activities.”

The group has a core membership of 25 to 30 people, whose efforts have included the Mend the Bends campaign and facilitating “meet the candidates” forums prior to state and federal elections.

“But we do have different ways to engage people, such as town meetings on major issues,” Mr Clingan said.

“I feel that it’s an important part of the precinct’s role in the community to make people aware when there are major issues in the community.”

Mr Clingan said the group has a strong working relationship with Kiama Council.

Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said the group had approached the council about rejuvenating the agreement between the two parties.

“They’d like to make sure it’s appropriate for the modern time,” Mr Petschler said.

“They’re a good team and a good sounding board for council, and add to the debate on issues.”

The group meets on the third Thursday of each month at Gerringong Town Hall at 7.30pm.

However, because of works at the hall, meetings are temporarily taking place at the RSL Hall on Belinda Street.

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