Mobilise a small community, reap rewards

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A highly-engaged township in the Shoalhaven recently worked with council to score funding for road upgrades.

At the last census there were less than 2000 people living in Callala Beach and Bay, and more than 200 residents lodged a submission on a council survey, leading to funds for a sealed road near the Myola Boat Ramp.

It has been heralded as a win for “boaties” and for the village.

Callala Beach Progress Association president Trevor Smith knows the community he represents is diverse, and so he used a range of communication methods to maintain a tight network and amplify the voice of the people.

“We do punch above our weight, due to the interfaces we are across,” Mr Smith said.

“We’re active on social media, and we include good quality information on our mail-out list, oldies like to read our stuff on paper.

“I’m mindful of the mix and of our audience, we do curate our social media posts and pay a fair bit of attention to the responses.”

Mr Smith communicates to media and residents via Twitter, mediates a residents’ Facebook page, and sends out 200 letters each month.

The group also hosts a well-attended monthly meeting.

Now, they’re working with local Aboriginal artists to put the finishing touches on a cultural walk from Myola to Callala Beach.

The pathway includes stories of canoe making from the land’s traditional owners.

More art, including seats carved by Indigenous artists, is hoped to be incorporated.

The concepts have been sketched, and the group is hoping to obtain a state government grant for the artwork.

Details of Callala’s recent win:

Council’s planning to seal the northern end of Catherine Street down to the boat ramp car park which has been gravel only, and will do the same to the southern end of the street from the sealed turning circle to the Myola Beach entrance car park.


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