Has anyone successfully petitioned their local council for something big?
We desperately need a playground in our suburb.
, Feb 13 2013 09:37 AM
7 replies to this topic
Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:37 AM
We live in a mostly-forgotten suburb on the far bottom corner of our local governing area. Our suburb is growing with tons of young families with kids moving in, but we have one park and it sucks. Like, it's already tiny, and then half the equipment is dangerous/not able to be used. If you want to kick the footy with your kids, you have to cross a street to a small lot to do so, leaving other children on the playground on the other side of the road. It's just a really poor design.
Less than a block away from that park is a huge empty lot - used to be where the primary school was located, so imagine the size of a primary school ground (complete with parking and playgrounds) and you've got an idea of its size. It is now nothing more than a field surrounded by a chain link fence with barbed wire at the top; not sure what purpose that serves as there are plenty of ways to get in, so that's where everyone takes their dogs to run and poo. It's also somewhat of a dumping ground for folks who want to get rid of old furniture and TVs. It gets mowed once every couple months, so it's a breeding ground for all kinds of things. Yeah, it's nice.
The location, however, is amazing. There's a childcare centre across the street, there's a primary school a couple blocks away (which means hundreds of kids pass that lot every day - really, the street only gets local and school traffic), it's a quiet location with tons of huge gum trees, it is totally surrounded by private residences and golf courses, and it's just a couple blocks off of a main road. It is an eyesore and a total waste of space and it could be so much more. Right now, pretty much everyone in our neighborhood ignores the crap park we have and drives to other parks, almost always out of our local council's area.
Aside from wanting to get reelected, it seems the council has no incentive to do anything for us in our area. That's the vibe I get from people I've spoken to, anyway. If anyone has any experience dealing with your local council to get the wheels moving on something like this, how did you approach it? I see no financial angle that would benefit the city; it would simply be a nice thing to do for our suburb. Not sure how I can get the council excited about that seeing as how they've left the place neglected for so long, so any experiences you've had would be greatly appreciated - thanks!
Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:46 AM
Try your local action group or precinct committee. If you google it or FB it you should find one. Otherwise, your local community or neighbourhood centre usually has information on it.
With the federal election coming up, now is a good time to hit up your local members - especially if they want to be voted back in.
The more voices you put to it, petitions signed, letters sent, the more council is more inclined to listen.
Also going along to your local council meetings and listening and asking questions. If you can get a councillor onboard, that helps too.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:51 AM
Our primary school did, the year 5/6 class put together a project with regards to local landmarks like the park with the broken swings and the roads with no guttering and invited a few councillors just prior to local election time to the assembly where they prsented it and it worked, the council are in the process of doing the curb and guttering for all five streets in the village and the playground equipment and toilet blocks are being refurbished too.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:07 AM
A lot of our playgrounds were donated by Rotary and the Lions Club, so another suggestion would be to contact them and ask if they can help
Good on you for wanting to make a difference in your community
Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:22 AM
I don't know if it's still the same, but about 10 years ago somebody in our suburb (new one) came around with a petition (Play ground or equipement - can't remember which now) and I remember the guy saying if you get a certain amount of signatures from residents, they have to look into it.
Maybe look into Petitions from the residents.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:31 AM
It sounds as though your suggestion could be complicated by ownership of the land - a lot more expensive for the council if it needs to be purchased from the state government.
Not a park (our council's pretty good for that), but our neighbourhood lobbied councillors direct regarding road safety improvements, resulting in new fencing and traffic calming measures at a dangerous crossing.
You mention the main aim is relection - if you can demonstrate to a councillor who may lose their seat that this issue is important to the neighbourhood (perhaps via petitiion) you may see success.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:32 AM
Another thing I just thought of is to find a local councillor and make an appointment to talk to them about your idea. It helps to have someone who knows what exactly is needed in the community when it is tabled in a meeting
Petitions are good though, the more names the more weight it will hold with the council.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:12 PM
Thanks so much for your replies. Regarding the ownership of the lot, I've sent an email to the department of education and am awaiting an answer. I don't know squat about local government in Australia (or state government, for that matter), so it looks like this will be quite a learning experience. Hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew, but it's so frustrating to see such a need and the answer sitting there and nothing being done about it.
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