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.
- 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 every Forum meeting 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 on behalf of the Forum, relating to the proposed changes to the Master Plan. The submission contains important information with regard to 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.
Chairman of The Berry Forum