Ballina Major Regional Centre Strategy
Ballina has been identified through the NSW Government’s Far North Coast Regional Strategy as an emerging regional centre, indicating that Ballina can expect significant growth and change over the next 20 years ~ with its population anticipated to double during this period of time.
This change is anticipated due to many factors, but significantly due to improved transport links to a rapidly growing South East Queensland and to Ballina’s thriving regional airport.
The Ballina Major Regional Centre Strategy is being prepared to guide the developing of Ballina through this period of significant growth and change. The Strategy will be founded on engagement with the community, consistent with the intent associated with community involvement in strategic planning evident in the NSW planning reform process.
Starfish involvement with the Strategy is now complete, having facilitated two key community engagement processes:
- A major Futures Forum involving a diverse cross-section of the community
- The prototype and first Civic Panel comprising more than a dozen community members who will be contributing to the Strategy throughout its development
This work was completed in close collaboration with Council, co-designing the community engagement strategy, Forum and Civic Panel facilitation processes.
Emerging Preferred Community Futures
A very comprehensive range of possible and preferred futures emerged from the Futures Forum.
More more than a thousand statements had been expressed by community members throughout the process up to the point of the end of the Forum.
Overwhelmingly, there was a positive attitude and feeling towards the opportunities that the growth of Ballina could provide ~ for urban renewal; improved infrastructure, health and community services; more diverse business and employment, particularly in tourism, food and farming.
The Vision Map depicted right is a sythesis and summary of these views.
The strongest messages which came through were in regard to culture and natural environment. The natural environment was probably seen as Ballina’s greatest asset more than any other single attribute. Climate change was clearly identified as a challenge, however at the same time an inspiring vision emerged of restoring and conserving Ballina’s beaches, waterways, parks, open spaces and entrance-ways to ‘frame’ the city like a picture ~ to make Ballina an even more stunning place to visit, work and live.
There was a clear sense of the challenge that the anticipated swift and sizeable growth of Ballina could present for the community, such as social pressures. At the same time though, it was also recognised that the growth could provide the resources and the impetus for creating an even stronger community ~ through an outdoors oriented and healthy way of life, including social events and cultural activities.
The vision map is structured around the three overarching questions which were incorporated through the Forum and pre-Forum work, that is: What Ballina could (1) gain, (2) sustain and (3) change as it becomes a major regional centre?
The placement and emphasis (bolding and borders) of ideas are intended to:
- group similar ideas together (eg Strategic Transport Linkages)
- highlight ideas which were more strongly mentioned by many people (eg. the numerous ideas around Healthy Living and an all weather multi-sports & events facility)
- highlight ideas which generated a strong response from other participants (eg. the idea of Ballina pursuing a process of “aesthetic development”)
Each of the various ideas and priorities mentioned by community members have been linked and/or situated near the most relevant of the three questions.
It is important to keep in mind of course that many of the ideas relate to more than one question and often relate to numerous other ideas in the vision map [which unfortunately is a limitation of presenting so many inter-related concepts in just two dimensions on a flat page.]
The four priorities in boxes ~ urban regeneration and infrastructure; business and economic development; social and community development; bold and inspiring ideas ~ are high-level priorities which encompass most of the emerging visions.
Find out More
Ballina Shire Council website