Community Reference Group generates ideas to rebuild community spirit

MEDIA RELEASE: 2 October 2008

Twenty-three residents of Brookland Greens estate met for the first time last night to establish the new Community Reference Group which will work with the Council and a range of other agencies to help rebuild the community’s confidence and spirit in the face of the recent gas emergency declared by the CFA and EPA.

City of Casey Mayor Cr Janet Halsall said that many wonderful ideas were generated at the meeting which will help restore Brookland Greens’ status as a great place to live.

‘‘We are absolutely committed to working with residents on rebuilding the pride and confidence of this community from the ground up’, said the Mayor.

‘This is a journey we need to travel together and I give my personal commitment to the residents that Council will walk this path with them every step of the way.’

The Community Reference Group will provide a vehicle for the local residents to put forward the needs, desires and aspirations of the broader estate so that tangible solutions can be implemented.

‘The local residents are looking to take positive steps forward’, said the Mayor.

One resident said ‘Let’s get proactive, not reactive. This situation is not ideal but it won’t last forever. We need to get back to where we were by fostering community spirit’.

Some of the ideas put forward at the meeting include:

  • Educate the media about the issues as a way of generating more positive stories about the area.
  • Establish a group to focus on the needs of children who have been emotionally and socially affected by the issue.
  • Use schools to help support the children, some of whom are experiencing teasing.
  • Put in a new playground for the children.
  • Conduct a free community BBQ with all residents of the estate.
  • Keep the local parks in good condition.
  • Encourage residents to be proud by maintaining their own private gardens.
  • Put a fence around the landfill because it is an eyesore.
  • Get Peet & Co to put back the land sale signs at the front of the estate.
  • Address the problems being experienced with the banks and lending institutions – they need to be aware and sensitive to the needs of the residents and property owners.
  • Get the fountain running again.

Cr Halsall said the Council was committed to ensuring that the affected residents receive every available support from all levels of government and other relevant services in the community.

‘Currently, Council is advocating on behalf of the residents to the State Government for answers to many of their questions; talking to the banks so they understand this situation and are sensitive to the individual needs of home buyers, investors and small business owners; talking to Peet & Co to see what their intentions are for the remaining land within the estate; continuing to work with the EPA to stop the gas escaping from the site; and the Department of Human Services, schools and other relevant agencies in the community to address the myriad of social issues that have arisen.’

The Community Reference Group will be providing input into the development of a community support plan that will be presented to the broader estate community at a future community information session.