Tuesday, 21 October 2014

How are we doing? This is what we said to the N2021 AGM

Newstead Rocket Science – Back on track

The successful Strengthening Our Community Mt Alexander Shire grant application has prompted the revival of the once-famous Rocket Science series.

In the first instance the Small Town Big Ideas series of sessions will consider the top 10 priorities identified in the Newstead Community Plan. Then, from May 2015 sessions will focus on matters of a more general interest – Community Conversations on things that matter

In July 2014 Bronwyn Smith and David Stratton assumed responsibility for Rocket Science and the web address http://www.newsteadrocketscience.net now leads to the blog that is the centre of all Rocket Science activity. There has been a significant increase in the online engagement available for Rocket Science conversations.

The face to face conversations at the monthly sessions are proceded, and followed by, conversations on Facebook with a separate page devoted to each topic. The conversations are public, regardless of Facebook membership but participation requires a Facebook account. The blog offers directions for setting up an anonymous, Zero Friends Facebook (ZFF) just for this purpose.

The blog also acts as a “signpost” leading to the growing collection of conversations.

So far there have been sessions about four of the ten plan priorities:

  • Planning for a liveable Newstead (# 8)– Trevor Budge - rural and regional planning expert
  • A major renewal of street trees within the town precinct (#5) – Flynn Hart - Landscape Architect
  • Refurbishing and revitalising the Newstead Station as an arts precinct (#1) – Ella Hinkley - Arts Officer Banyule City Council
  • Creating a pedestrian bridge across the Loddon River to connect both sides of town (#2) – Michael Redden – Newstead Councillor and Mayor

Sessions are in an advanced stage of planning for October and November:

  • Establishing a connected network of walking and bike paths and trails between Newstead and surrounding towns (#4) – Christine Henderson – Councillor and Chair of Shire Walking & Cycling Advisory Committee
  • Establishing a “Support and Sustain our Volunteers” initiative for volunteers and community groups (#6) -- Helen Yorston - Manager Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre

The remaining four topics will be the basis for sessions between February and May 2015.

A Final Summing Up & Review Session is proposed to assess progress and any further activity to implement Newstead Community Plan Priorities.

Newstead Community - Community - Facebook Page set up on November 21, 2012 was  renamed after the completion of the Newstead Community Plan
" but being together here on this page has become an essential part, amongst others, of the experience of living in Newstead."

The Newstead Community Facebook Page has 159 Likes (October 16th), the item on forthcoming Rocket Science Session - Trails & Pathways has reached 71 people! 

An item posted (October 2, 2014) Re the sign in old Petrol Station window "Petrol not far off" reached 317 people so far ! The lack of access to fuel in Newstead, though not rated in the Top 10,  was a significant issue raised during the consultation process and on the Planning Day itself.

The support of Welshman's Reef Winery, the Newstead Echo and guest speakers/facilitators is much appreciated. Their  willingness to support and be involved in our   Rocket Science Sessions is essential to the successful formula developed for engaging with the Newstead community.  

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