Weeds and town entrances need attention, Tailem Bend residents say

About 20 people have given their input on a Coorong council plan for the years 2021-25.

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First impressions count, Tailem Bend residents say, and more needs to be done for the town to make a good one.

Dozens of other issues got an airing at a community vision workshop held at the football club on Thursday night, part of a process which will give the Coorong council direction for the next five years.

But the basics – weeding, median strips and town entrances – were the ones that came up most often.

“The main road needs uplifting, to make people want to stop,” one resident said.

“They just drive through.”

However, another participant noted that the council’ outside works crew did a “remarkable” job.

Several said more town pride was needed.

About 20 residents, plus a few councillors and staff, had gathered for the last of six community workshops held around the Coorong district.

Consultant Scott Way asked the residents to give their thoughts on the local infrastructure, environment, economy, community and leadership.

Here’s what they came up with.

Infrastructure

Big ideas got a lot of love in this category: a combined sports club, an arts amphitheatre, turning the old fire shed into a youth centre, or building a pedestrian crossing beneath the railway line.

But so, too did simple requests like new public toilets, footpaths and kerbing.

Public exercise equipment was also on the community’s wish list.

Environment

Most agreed more could be done to help the local environment, whether by encouraging more recycling, installing rainwater tanks at people’s homes, planting water-saving species in parks or better controlling rabbits.

But weeds were a priority for many, at the ferry and along the train line.

Economy

Most participants wanted Tailem’s population to grow and more industry to be attracted to the town, whether out by the Big Olive or elsewhere.

A bypass linking Kulde Road to Viterra's silos was on a couple of people's wish lists, and a lack of public transport was also an issue.

Maybe the council could employ someone to apply for and win grants for local clubs and organisations?

Community

Encouraging people to take pride in their town, and to get more involved, were a popular ideas in this category.

“We need to encourage people to join service clubs, the CFS and things,” one resident said.

“We’re trying to do the best we can, but a lot of people out there are the ‘me’ generation and they don’t want to be involved.”

What about an event at Dickson Reserve where local clubs could compete against each other, like a sports day?

More could be done to honour the area’s Aboriginal heritage, it was suggested, and to foster a welcoming attitude for newcomers to the area.

A better relationship between the council and the public would help, too, someone said.

Which brings us to...

Leadership

“The relationship between the council and the community has been tarnished,” one participant said.

“It’s only going to get built back up if there’s trust between the two again.”

A couple of people suggested regular councillor forums, days on which residents would be encouraged to come and chat with their local councillor, as a solution.

Engaging youth in community leadership was seen as important, too.

What happens next?

Coorong councillors were due to meet this week to begin compiling all the public feedback gathered at meetings in six different communities.

Staff will then use it to create a community vision plan for 2021-25.

Residents and ratepayers will be given one more chance to express their views, in January or February, before the document is officially adopted by the council.

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