CITIZEN community associations are becoming extremely common throughout the Shire, with more locals than ever joining these groups.
Fred Andrews, president of the Crescent Head Ratepayers Association, says that consultation between all citizen community groups and Kempsey Shire Council is crucial in planning out the region's future.
"I think it's the only way to go, it does bring up other issues, especially with so many different opinions on how the region should be developed, but overall, I think it's the only fair and democratic way," he said.
"To council's credit, they have been trying to increase their engagement with the community, but obviously, with COVID-19, it's all become a bit of a dog's breakfast.
"I think we all need to work with the council to ensure future developments serve everyone, establish a consensus, and stop situations where it's just a case of the squeakiest wheel getting the oil."
The ratepayers association doesn't have all the answers, and we certainly don't speak for everyone; we just try to work with residents, and address as many of their concerns as possible.- Fred Andrews
Kempsey Shire Council recently announced they are giving the community another chance to have their say on the future of the Crescent Head Foreshore, and will set up an advisory group made up of locals.
Fred says his group has already been hard at work trying to address locals' concerns about certain aspects of the foreshore.
"The ratepayers association have been working with council to try and lower the car park time limit near a Crescent Head Beach," Fred said.
"It's currently four hours, but we are finding that people will come in at 5am and camp out all day.
"If the surf is pumping, you can forget about getting anywhere near the car park; people are being forced to park several hundred metres away just to check the surf."
To date, their efforts have been for naught, but Fred says they will continue looking out for the best interests of residents and ratepayers.
"The ratepayers association work on behalf of our members, to coordinate with council on issues affecting residents," he said.
"We don't have all the answers, and we certainly don't speak for everyone; we just try to work with residents, and address as many of their concerns as possible."
Over the last few months, there have been many reports saying that a large number of people are leaving the cities for rural areas, which means local community groups cold prove even more important in the coming years as populations increase, and further developments are required.
"I work in tourist accommodation, and I have definitely noticed a lot more people coming to the Macleay," Fred said.
"But I think that's been happening for a while, once they built the highway, it made the Macleay more accessible, and that brought a lot more people, we barley have a quiet weekend anymore, and we are booked out pretty much every school holidays."
The Crescent Head Ratepayers Association meet regularly, and welcome enquiries from any locals interested in joining the group, for more information, email: email@example.com.
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