12 March 2021

First public meeting to pave way for Molonglo Community Council

| Ian Bushnell
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Residents in the growing Molonglo suburbs may soon have their own community council. Photo: File.

Molonglo residents will take an important step towards forming their own community council next week when the organising body holds its first public meeting.

Residents, businesses and community groups have been invited to attend the Molonglo Valley Community Forum’s (MVCF) gathering on Thursday 18 March at Charles Weston School in Coombs.

The meeting follows a successful motion in the Legislative Assembly put by Labor MLA Dr Marisa Paterson, establishing a path for the Forum to be recognised by the ACT Government making it eligible to become a community council and apply for $13,000 in funding through the annual Deed of Grant process.

Interim spokesperson Ryan Hemsley said the Forum was now on track to become a fully-fledged community council by 1 July this year.

He said work was going on behind the scenes to prepare for the transition – becoming an incorporated association and holding a public meeting were essential parts of that process.

“One thing we need to do is hold public meetings and have a list of registered members,” Mr Hemsley said.

“This current public meeting we have coming on the 18th is the first step to achieving that goal – being able to make the community aware that we exist, that we have relevant speakers of interest to people and essentially just demonstrating we have the capacity to run a community council.”

Mr Hemsley said Dr Paterson’s announcement and motion in the Assembly has provided certainty.

“There are still a lot of details to be worked out between now and 1 July but we are making good headway,” he said.

Labor MLA Dr Marisa Paterson

Labor MLA Dr Marisa Paterson set the ball rolling towards the formation of a new community council. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

The Forum has an impressive number of speakers including Murrumbidgee MLAs representing all parties, as well as presentations from the Suburban Land Agency and Capital Estate Developments.

“We invite all residents, businesses and community groups to register and come along to hear from local politicians, learn about upcoming developments and ask questions regarding community, liveability and accessibility in the region,” Mr Hemsley said.

READ ALSO Molonglo Valley residents one step closer to a new community council

He said the perennial issue of the empty Coombs shops would be discussed and the Forum had reached out to Planning and Land Management Minister Mick Gentleman and owner Renato Cervo for the latest information on the situation.

Mr Hemsley said the Molonglo Community Council would look to other councils as examples, but the new body would have its own distinct character with a modern bent.

“We’ll have our own flavour down in Molonglo I think, given that the motion Marisa Paterson put forth did specify explicitly new and innovative engagement models. I suspect we will be trying some new things that they won’t have tried elsewhere in other community councils across Canberra,” he said.

Mr Hemsley said the Forum would have far more to say about those innovative engagement strategies in the weeks ahead.

The Forum has already secured Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel for its April meeting, who is likely to be quizzed about the growing traffic issues getting out of Molonglo to the Cotter Road and Tuggeranong Parkway.

Speakers for the 18 March meeting include:

  • Ryan Hemsley, Interim Spokesperson for the Molonglo Valley Community Forum
  • Emma Davidson, ACT Greens MLA, Minister for Disability, Justice Health, Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Member for Murrumbidgee
  • Dr Marisa Paterson, Labor Member for Murrumbidgee
  • Giulia Jones, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Multicultural Affairs, Member for Murrumbidgee
  • Jeremy Hanson, Shadow Minister for Education and Skills Early Childhood Education, Police and Emergency Services, and Veterans Affairs, Member for Murrumbidgee
  • Simon Tennent, Development Director – Molonglo, Suburban Land Agency
  • Nick McDonald Crowley, Director of Project Delivery, Capital Estate Developments

Community members are encouraged to send in questions before the event by emailing molonglovalleycommunityforum@gmail.com or by messaging the MVCF on Facebook at @mvcommunityforum

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