Letter to the editor

November 09, 2017

City of Greater Shepparton councillor Fern Summer.

Roaming meetings work well

In response to the editorial titled ‘‘Are Roaming Council Meetings Effective?’’ (October 31), I can assure the anonymous naysayer that they are.

Hosting meetings in smaller towns has been a successful part of council procedure over many years.

People come for the atmosphere and the immediacy.

I do think we should aim to expand our presence in smaller towns as a council group, as I have done personally in recent years, but it’s simply not viable to host a meeting in every town.

External meetings require ample staff resources to organise venues, promotions, sound and lighting.

Numbers at Tatura’s meeting were high and the traditional post-meeting barbecue offered opportunity for anyone to speak with councillors directly about problems relating to the town.

For instance, we heard about the ongoing bug-bear of bollards in Tatura car parking spaces and the merits of a trucking museum that would service all of the municipality, not just Shepparton.

Meanwhile, mayor/CEO small town catch-ups host only a handful of people and live streaming struggles to get more than 10 viewers at a time, with people logging in briefly and quickly moving on to something else more popcorn worthy.

Council strives to engage with the community and I for one support it.

Small town meetings result in a measurable benefit.

They are not simply symbolic.

— Fern Summer, City of Greater Shepparton councillor

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