It was wonderful to be joined by so many community members at this week’s celebration of the great outcome achieved, in close collaboration with our community, on the renewal and revitalisation of Station Street. Council Administrator Mr Viv May expressed gratitude to the many key stakeholders involved in making it happen. Among them, Friends of Bowral, the Australian Garden History Society – Southern Highlands branch, and Mr Les McMahon were acknowledged for their advocacy in the early days of decision-making.
Responding for Friends of Bowral, John Barrett thanked Wingecarribee Shire Council for demonstrating a willingness to listen to what the community wanted “People working together in a strong community with a shared purpose can make the impossible possible,” he remarked.
Dr Meg Probyn for the Australian Garden History Society – Southern Highlands branch, similarly reflected on frustrations with communicating with the former Council. Dr Probyn shared that the heritage Camellia gardens were originally planted to hide unsightly shopfronts, and extended “a heartfelt thankyou to our Council Administrator Viv May and General Manager Lisa Miscamble,” for their community-focused approach.
Mr May offered a reminder that the re-designed renewal of Station Street delivered smoother movement around Bowral while preserving its cherished character and charm, including the heritage pin oaks and heritage camellia gardens which had been earmarked for removal. “All achieved in a financially prudent way that saved rate payers millions,” he said.
Dr Stephen Utick of Camellia Ark Australia presented Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Administrator and General Manager with a “Winter Celebration” camellia plant to mark the occasion and commemorate the bicentenary of Camellias in NSW.
The effect of Council’s new commitment to a community-guided approach to decision-making and planning, coupled with the far-reaching changes we are making to the culture of Wingecarribee Shire Council is being felt by the wider community in many ways. “Good people who had left are coming back to the organisation which is good to see,” Mr May said.
Following the formal acknowledgements of a great outcome for Bowral, gained by a willingness to listen and participate in planning collaboratively, the crowd gathered at Monaco, Bowral to share a celebratory coffee and light catering.
“The renewal of Station Street is one of many projects we are undertaking in partnership with the community, for the community,” Lisa Miscamble said. “We look forward to celebrating more great collaborative outcomes like this, together with our community.”
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