Diminished role for committee

Daryna ZadvirnaNarrogin Observer
Dale Stewart.
Camera IconDale Stewart. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna

The Narrogin townscape committee’s recently reduced scope of roles may be problematic for the town, according to members.

During last month’s council meeting, new terms of reference for the townscape committee was passed by the councillors, reducing 11 items under the roles and scope section, down to four.

Narrogin townscape committee member Geire Kami said some members were concerned with its diminished role, as the input of invested community members in the group was integral to certain projects and decisions undertaken by the council.

“I think the decision to change the committee’s terms of reference was intended to remove some of its scope, so projects undertaken by the Shire of Narrogin could be fast-tracked,” she said.

Ms Kami, who manages the Dryandra Country Visitor Centre, said an example was the shade structures installed at Foxes Lair Nature Reserve, which were decided on by a previous member of the executive management of the Shire, without any public consultation.

“Yes, sure they are functional, but do people use them? No,” she said.

“They are brushed metal, so they are oppressively hot, too low, uninviting and unappealing — I have never seen another structure like them in a reserve or a park anywhere in Australia.

“As the manager of the visitor centre, I know the feedback we get from tourists about Foxes Lair, and that is that the wildflowers are lovely, but the infrastructure is horrible”

Ms Kami said the committee’s members had varied expertise and a very useful collective pool of knowledge, which would not be utilised to its full potential as a result of the new terms of reference.

“Consultation exists to allow sufficient time for each member of the committee to bring the full benefit of their analysis to the matter, and to apply rigour to the suggestions they make to council — that simply can’t be replicated by an autocratic system.”

Narrogin’s chief executive Dale Stewart said the council was of the view that the previous scope was too broad and in some parts anomalous.

“The townscape community has never in the past promoted the town site or the district, that’s been the role of the chamber of commerce or the Shire, for example,” he said.

“Those additional elements (which were taken out of the committee’s scope) have actually not been implemented or enacted in recent years, so they were redundant to the purpose of the committee.

“It’s probably a case of duplication more than anything else.”

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