New council policy brings more active community participation into question | Editorial

It is easy to say that you want to see some sort of positive change.

A change in the way you look, the people you spend time with, your job or the habits you have adopted.

The reality is change will never make the first move. It is perpetually in suspension, as if it is frozen, only able to resume with the attention and dedication people choose to pursue.

Initially, when the Draft Outdoor Dining Policy was announced earlier this year, more than one business operator told the Goulburn Post that no fee would be better. Although they understood the changes put forward, they argued itbe better for the economy to avoid this extra charge.

Now, after months of discussion among the Goulburn Mulwaree Council staff and a month-long public exhibition, we find that only three submissions were received.

These were from the Chamber of Commerce in Marulan and Goulburn, and another separate submission from a cafe owner in Marulan.

If the motion is passed by the council on Wednesday night it will see fees upwards of $190 enforced. 

Some people will understand the context of this policy among the backdrop of recent CBD works, and comply without protest.

Others will shake their heads, roll their eyes and under their breath question the council’s competency or  understanding.

The council has a job, a very clear job. However in an active democracy it appears that some people think that the change they’re looking for will be externally sourced and delivered on some sort of silver platter.

The people that make up a community should be held to equal account as those who lead. Complacency is the enemy of progress for any city, no matter what size.

Don’t leave your views and actions against a certain project, small or big, until the last day. Don’t act shocked when what you want is not delivered. And furthermore, don’t blame those who gave you the opportunity to speak up. 

Objectively, the outdoor dining policy signals Goulburn falling in place with the majority. However, for a local operator, with struggles or conflicting thoughts to shut down, this might be the final straw.

It’s too early to judge the impact of this policy if passed, but what does resonate is the disappointing lack of action that may very well do more harm than good. 

Now it’s over to the councillors to decide the issue.