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SUSTAINABILITY Is it just about infrastructure? Cam Opie Director Community and Information Services City of Mitcham One of the first 3 Councils outside Adelaide 1990 one of the lowest rate incomes in the State and proud of it Low level of services

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sustainability is it just about infrastructure
SUSTAINABILITYIs it just about infrastructure?

Cam Opie

Director Community and Information Services

city of mitcham
City of Mitcham
  • One of the first 3 Councils outside Adelaide
  • 1990 one of the lowest rate incomes in the State and proud of it
  • Low level of services
  • Poor allocation for infrastructure maintenance and depreciation
mitcham infrastructure
Mitcham Infrastructure
  • Focus on resourcing for sustainable roads footpaths and drains - major maintenance & upgrade commitment
  • Financial Sustainability Report - LGA Classified as Level 3 in a 6 point scale
  • Sustainable with a moderate margin of comfort
financial sustainability report
Financial Sustainability Report
  • We are making decisions as perpetual organisations for current and future generations;
  • Majority of our business is community infrastructure;
  • Many of us have significant infrastructure backlog issues which demand greater funding and possible reductions in services
  • need to say “no” to to demands for involvement in issues beyond our current resources.
  • focuses most on roads, footpaths and drains
community infrastructure
Community Infrastructure
  • In this context at Mitcham we have had to think hard how to address community infrastructure (buildings, parks), social wellbeing, developing a sense of place based on community needs.
mitcham the community
Mitcham- The Community
  • 2001 - 60,000 population
  • Higher than ASD average over 65 years
  • ASD average for 12 to 25 years
  • Well educated and paid and housed
  • Many frail aged
  • Increasing levels of asset rich and income poor elderly
  • Disadvantaged community in west of Mitcham



SEIFA Index of Disadvantage

community infrastructure9
Community infrastructure
  • Many parks which are often undeveloped
  • Numerous community buildings, and centres with single leases, and used minimally
  • No community development support or staff for “community centres”
  • No Council (community or civic) facilities west of Goodwood Road – 18,000 pop
  • Two highly used 40 year old stand alone libraries
strategic planning
Strategic Planning

Strategic Plan 1998-2002

  • Prepared by staff, advertised for comment – minimal cost
  • 2 responses
  • Strategic Plan 2003-2008
  • Aimed to engage the community in vision setting and directions
vision 2030
Vision 2030
  • Cost to Council $13,000 plus staff time
  • Collaboration with Flinders U
  • Vision Forum – Leaders of community
  • Special Interest Groups met frequently and several surveys
  • Summit to endorse directions
  • Over 2000 people directly engaged
key social goals
Key Social Goals
  • Investigate and develop:
    • 3 community hubs
    • 2 Youth Hubs
    • Cultural Hub
    • With Community development support
    • Contain significant partnerships
    • Aim to Improve wellbeing and create a sense of place
    • Libraries, community rooms, IT training, shared offices, focus on all ages.
key social goals13
Key Social Goals
  • Goal is for improved sustainability of community facilities by:
    • Improved location, multi use , collaboration, purpose built quality facilities
    • Rationalise poor performing facilities
    • Creative and inclusive management
    • Establish performance indicators
asset rationalisation
Asset Rationalisation
  • Rigorous examination of role, effective use, constraints and income stream from all properties, buildings and land
  • Develop opportunities for sale, relocation or improved income streams, partnerships.
  • Return proceeds to community infrastructure


Development Income Streams

Open Space/ Community Facilities Improvement Fund


  • Local Community Projects, including:
  • Playgrounds
  • Open Space
  • Sporting Clubs
  • Community Development
  • Community Infrastructure
  • Community Hubs
  • Mitcham Village
  • Mitcham West
  • Belair Rd
  • Blackwood

Asset Rationalisation and Development Process

progress cultural hub
Progress - Cultural Hub?
  • Historic Mitcham Village a Cultural Hub
  • Following extensive consultation subject to final Council approval
  • Partnership with Uniting Church and multiple tenancy with heritage, theatre, dance, artists and arts, crafts and cultural groups
  • Creating initially a management group with diverse membership to oversight the project
  • Capital costs covered by property sales
progress mitcham west
Progress – Mitcham West
  • Investigating a shopping centre development on or near South Road with library, community centre, agency tenancies and business training
  • Researching possible collaborations with Marion Council and Health, Welfare and Youth agencies.
  • Asset rationalisation projects identified to potentially cover capital costs.
is it sustainable
Is it Sustainable?
  • Significant community and Council support for strategic response to a Sense of Place…creation of Hubs …they are still there involved and pushing
  • Partnerships and collaborators must be nurtured and community development staff to be employed
  • Survey found 80% supported sale or development of underused properties to improve community infrastructure….and infrastructure generally
  • Initial sales and developments supported by community and Council
  • Council and community must continue to believe they are not selling the farm and wasting the proceeds
is it sustainable19
Is it Sustainable?
  • Community/stakeholders own the directions
  • This direction is possible in Mitcham in view of significant and dispersed under used property
  • Aim for creative measured outcomes with little impact on rates.
  • But ….. still a strong emphasis on road, footpath, and drain infrastructure
  • A fragile process