Strategic Plan serves a smaller time frame

PLANNING AHEAD: The Robe Strategic Plan 2024-2028 has been adopted by the District Council of Robe, with some of its goals and projects already progressing in line with the council's 2024-25 annual budget. Picture: FILE

Tyler Redway

THE Robe Strategic Plan 2024-2028 has been adopted by the District Council of Robe after one month of extensive feedback and community consultation sessions.

The Strategic Plan was approved and adopted by the council during their May meeting, which also included several amendments being made such as a coastal extension to West Beach and a Rural Roads Maintenance Program.

The plan followed a decision from council to shorten the time frame of the original Robe 2050 plan, which was scrapped in January 2024, in order to make goals and strategies more manageable.

The adoption came after the Strategic Plan’s draft was released publicly on April 12 for community consultation, which resulted in two community meetings being held on April 24 to discuss details of the draft.

Community members were also encouraged to give feedback into what kinds of projects and strategies would serve the town best during the meetings.

The Strategic Plan aims to move forward with the council’s aspirations and visions for the Robe community, which include enhancing the town’s appearance and function, promoting history and heritage and protecting the coastline and natural environment.

Earlier this month, the plan’s key strategic projects opened for consultation to members of the community in order to determine a “priority list” for the 18 projects the council was focused on.

District Council of Robe chief executive Nat Traeger said the community voted “overwhelmingly” for greater asset renewal as a priority for the council itself and town congestion to be addressed as one of the listed projects.

Ms Traeger said a detailed document was currently in development to identify projects which could not be achieved without a source of external funding.

“Now the council has a strategic direction, the council’s administration can now seek grant funding support and start to work towards those priority actions which are in the new plan,” Ms Traeger said.

“One of the reasons we did a bit of a “have-your-say” was because there was a priority list of 18 projects the community could rank and overwhelmingly, the project which the community is most interested in is pedestrian access, summertime congestion and footpath connectivity to make the community more walkable.

“What we are doing is developing a lobbying document with the top four to six projects which the council may not be able to do without some backing, whether it be state, federal or another source of grant funding.

“Obviously we are moving into a State Government election next year so we will be moving to lobby people who can help the community and the council achieve some of those more expensive legacy decisions around second entry accesses, as well as opening up some land for industrial elements and looking at the current industrial precinct we have.”

Ms Traeger said some of the projects highlighted in the Strategic Plan were already underway and had received dedicated funds as a result of the council’s 2024-25 annual budget.

“We are going ahead with the Robe Street Development Project so we do have some amended plans so we do need to go back to the businesses out in that area so we can engage with them about the plans before we release them to the wider community,” she said.

“In 2013 we did have a bit of a master plan so what we are going to do is a stocktake against what has been achieved on it and I’ve put $50,000 in next year’s draft budget to pull together an overall town plan for Robe, which was also one of the key outcomes in the strategic plan.

“Robe Street is well underway, we have $750,000 on budget for that next year and a couple of the playgrounds are also going ahead which have already received grant funding.”

Ms Traeger said one asset renewal in particular which remained a priority for the council was its rural road network in the area, which she said had already been allocated $1.6m in next year’s budget.

“We will have more of a focus on the current and existing assets rather than pushing to build shiny new things,” she said.

“Council needs to acknowledge that it hasn’t spent enough in the past and the reason we have a fair level of cash reserves is because we haven’t been regularly renewing our assets.”

Ms Traeger said any further changes, additions or amendments made to the strategic plan would be open for community consultation if it was required.

She said the Strategic Plan would also be under review at least twice a year to determine whether a project was still realistic, if there was another project the council wanted to add or if there were minor changes needed for the existing guidelines.

“We have a pretty strong review cycle attached to it where we will be reviewing it at least twice a year and it is something which is always going to be open to change, especially when we achieve some of the things when we might move onto new aspirations,” Ms Traeger said.

“If they become unachievable for whatever reason or if we are advised that it is not feasible to extend Davenport Street because it would be too expensive then it would be something we consider.

“Some of the code amendments as they relate to town planning might not be (achievable), so we might find that sometimes we are in a third person’s hand, so for example the relocation of a new industrial precinct is on private property so we can’t know for sure if that developer will actually find it feasible.

“When you are looking at joint partnerships or third parties to deliver, then you can never categorically say that it is definitely achievable.”