Gwydir Vision 2030 A bridge to the future

December 1, 2015

The Gwydir community excelled at the Vision 2030 Summit last Thursday, with sixty five people comprising all age groups and regions of the shire in attendance.

Garry McDouall & John BishtonLooking towards the future,Vision 2030 representatives Garry McDouall & John Bishton

The crowd met in Warialda to start the process of developing a Vision for our community for the next 15 years.

The day was excellently facilitated by Adam Blakester from Starfish Enterprises. He kept everyone stimulated, engaged and contributing from beginning to end.

In his opening statements, Adam declared the purpose of the day was to create a picture of how we all would like to see our surroundings in the future.

“This is to create a vision for how residents, businesses, organisations and groups would like their communities and the Shire as a whole to look, feel and be in 2030,” he said.

“Today will provide a starting point, sowing the seeds for the vision building and strategy creation.”

Prominent community members addressed the crowd as the morning began, speaking of the wonderful characteristics of our community as a whole and the ways in which we can move forward.

Bingara local Garry McDouall touched on his passion for rural communities and the need to ensure a strong future for Gwydir. “We need to be proactive,

Peter Hancock, newly retired educator, talked about the wealth of opportunity for the Gwydir Shire, if only the rest of the world could see what is available here locally.

“We can offer a different experience for travelers and people from outside the shire, we just need to let them know what we have,” he said.

The tone of the day was overwhelmingly positive, and each part of the shire now has a core group of champions to take the process forward.

There are some 50 pages of butcher’s paper which Vision 2020 has undertaken to organize, listing the strengths of our community as a shire, what works for us and what needs to be done to implement our visions and strategies.

Garry McDouall, one of the driving forces behind the summit spoke of sorting through the many ideas and points raised on the day, and said that soon the whole community would be privy to the sea of ideas that came about.

“Key ideas from this day will be published in our local papers, on the websites and through social media,” he said.

“The Vision 2030 Summit overwhelmingly felt that what we are now developing is Gwydir Vision 2030. In doing so, however, it is critical that the feelings and ideas from each part Gwydir be developed, and that we wish to preserve and enhance the rich matrix of diversity which we have throughout Gwydir,” Garry said.

Where to from here?
Each area of the shire will put together a steering committee of people interested in facilitating the Vision process. These steering committees will determine how best to build on what has been done in the past, how best to engage the whole of the community, and what shape the Vision (and the Strategic Planning which must follow it) will take. Representatives of each area will meet from time to time on a Gwydir Steering Committee to facilitate exchange of ideas.

At the end of the process (which could take 6-9 months) there will be another Gwydir 2030 gathering to pull it all together.

The success of this day surely supports the contention that being “Fit for the Future” has nothing to do with artificial and externally imposed financial benchmarks.

Instead, it has everything to do with a community which identifies where it wants to go, recognizes that the future will be very different from the past, is positive about the future and is looking for the opportunities which will arise in a rapidly changing environment.

With an overwhelming feeling of positivity at the Summit, the Gwydir Shire population has presented a united front, and one that will work hard to ensure a positive future for our communities.