Minutes of the Berry Forum Meeting
Held on 13 October at 7.30pm at the School of Arts.

Present: 60 attendees, including Clrs Annette Alldrick, Patricia White and Joanna Gash.
Apologies: Clrs John Wells and Nina Cheyne .

Welcome and Introduction (David Carter – Chair)

Berry Bypass progress (Shannon Chisholm – Fulton Hogan)
Shannon described the significant progress achieved and upcoming traffic changes.

Strategic Plan Update (James Robinson)
The Strategic Plan has been completed and James referred to the highlights of the planning process –  On time; under budget; 540 responses received; 200 workshop attendees; acknowledgement by SCC; well supported by Locale Consulting.
The November Council meeting is being targeted for adoption of the Strategic Plan.

James spoke to key focus areas in the Strategic Plan that were identified by the community as high priority. We are seeking expressions of interest from community members to participate in working groups/sub-committees that will be responsible for ongoing management of each of the key focus areas. The aim is for the working groups to build good ongoing relationships with the relevant Council departments in the future.

Berry District Park (Stuart Coughlan)

  • The Sub-Committee prepared an excellent submission to Council on the revised Master Plan, which resulted in removal of the proposed Criterium cycle track.
  • Council is establishing a community project reference group, including the Forum, Rotary and the sporting groups.
  • Council has agreed to the Forum’s request that $50,000 be allocated now to undertake design work. The Forum proposed that a $17,000 from the Strategic Plan budget be reallocated.
  • Andrew Guile proposed an “out of the box” approach to Rotary’s request for a much larger Adventure Playground, over a potential area of several acres at a cost of several million $$.
  • The new Project Reference Group will need to consider the impact of this proposal on other potential users of the Park, particularly the sporting groups..

Green Plaque Project (Annette Frohling)
The Berry & District Historical Society’s plan to put circular bronze green plaques on specific historical buildings in Berry is progressing well. The 20cm diameter plaques cost $380, and $110 to fit. All property owners have endorsed the project. A tourism grant is being sought from Council and the BCAC are sponsoring three plaques.

Administrative Matters (Stuart Coughlan)
Minutes of the Forum Meeting held on 11th August were approved.

General Business
Holly Landgren informed the meeting of two upcoming seminars on solar power. Links to details about the campaigns can be found on the Forum website.

The Chairman’s and Treasurer’s Reports are below.

The Committee membership of Mary Beare, David Brawn, David Carter, Margot Claringbold, Stuart Coughlan, John Cullity, Dorothy Hanbridge, Marilyn Kellett, Hania Norman, Bill Rice, James Robinson, John Underwood and Laurie Watson was endorsed by the meeting attendees. The new Committee later endorsed David Carter as Chairman, Stuart Coughlan as Secretary and Laurie Watson as Treasurer.

Meeting closed 8:40pm

Next Meeting is on Thursday 8th December 7.30pm at the School of Arts.

Chairman’s Report 2015/16
Formed in June 2015, the Forum is the Community Consultative Body (CCB) representing the views of the Berry region to Shoalhaven City Council. The goal of the Forum is to provide the community with an informed capability to influence the future of the Berry region.

Progress Achieved

  • A Committee of 12 elected members has been meeting every 2-3 weeks and the meetings are productive and enjoyable. Forum public meetings are held bi-monthly on the second Thursday and attendance has varied between 60 and 80 on a regular basis. Fulton Hogan present at the beginning of each Forum meeting on progress with the Highway and their plans for future works. I would like to personally thank all Committee members for the positive co-operative manner in which they have worked as a committee. Berry is very fortunate to have had such a great group of people for our inaugural Forum Committee. A special thanks goes to Stuart Coughlan who has worked tirelessly to ensure we are operating to the highest possible standard; thanks Stuart.
  • We have networked with the other main groups in Berry and offered a communication channel out to the community. Council departments now have a conduit to the Berry community, and requests from Council are always dealt with promptly.
  • We’ve established a quality website which relays important information to the community, promptly and with clarity, and our email distribution now reaches around 800 residents. Minutes of Forum and Committee meeting are posted on the website, normally within 5 days of the meeting.
  • In September 2015 a Sub-Committee was formed to oversee the development of a Strategic Plan for Berry. Working with a consultant appointed by Council, a survey of residents and visitors yielded 650 responses. Analysis of the responses was communicated to residents and on 19 June around 200 community members attended a Planning Workshop to vote for the strategic ideas most important to them. After several reviews, the final Strategic Plan document has been published on the website. Our thanks go to James Robinson who did an outstanding job chairing the Sub-Committee.
  • In August 2016, a second Sub-Committee was formed to coordinate community communications on the proposed Master Plan for Berry District Park. The Sub-Committee recently prepared a submission to Council for the Forum, relating to the proposed changes to the Master Plan. The submission contains important information on key aspects of the Master Plan and is available on the website.
  • On 11 August, Stuart Coughlan and I met with the Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, Steve Murray (Acting Executive Director at the Department of Planning) and Gareth Ward to discuss the Forum’s concerns about a planning loophole in the LEP. The Minister agreed that the concerns were valid and instructed that they should be resolved. We have since been advised that potential solutions were being presented to the Department Secretary on 23 September.

David Carter, Chairman of The Berry Forum


                             Treasurer’s Report 2015/16

Balance at 1 July 2015 $220
Council donation 500
Berry Alliance donation 1000
Collection July 2015 52
Hall hire 172
Meeting room hire 280
School of Arts key bond 100
Website hosting 55
Balance at 30 June 2016 $1,165

Laurie Watson, Treasurer