Council axes special groups

THE Derwent Valley Council decided to discontinue its Special Committees Project at last month’s council meeting in front of a large crowd of concerned community members.

The Special Committees Project originally encompassed 20 volunteer groups in the Derwent Valley, who managed resources on behalf of the council under their authority and policies.

When a review of the Special Committees began in 2020, as part of the Our Valley 2030: Derwent Valley Community Strategic Plan, only 11 groups were still operating.

Ten groups took part in council-led consultation sessions, with the Molesworth Recreation Reserve declining pending their decision to voluntarily dissolve, alongside the defunct or non-operating groups Derwent Valley Council Scholarship Trust Fund, Economic Growth Special Committee, Environmental Management Committee, Gleeson Park Special Committee, RAFT (Real Action Forward Thinking), William Hazelwood Reserve, Willow Court and Barracks Working Group and the Willow Court Conservation Special Committee.

Council will maintain assets for the remaining committees but agree that council officers will continue to engage with members as a stakeholder/ advocacy group by March 2022.

These are the Boyer Oval Management Committee, Bushy Park War Memorial Swimming Pool Committee, Friends of Frascati Community Garden, Friends of Willow Court, New Norfolk Swimming Pool Committee and the Tynwald Park Development Committee.

The Derwent Valley Future Action Team (D’FAT) and Tidy Towns committees will be disestablished, with council moving towards working alongside other like-minded groups such as the PCYC.

The New Norfolk Historical Information Centre Committee and New Norfolk Business Alliance will have their projects taken on by council for future management, including historic and business upgrades, repairs and developments. Derwent Valley Mayor Ben Shaw told the Derwent Valley Gazette:

“The decision to review the future of special committees and how we interact with our volunteers in our community into the future was a long overdue one, in my opinion.
“Times change and so does strategic direction.

This decision is about safeguarding our council and our valuable volunteer network while moving in to more contemporary and strategic direction for the future.

“The process for those volunteers and groups that want to continue in the very valuable areas of community contribution will absolutely be looked after by Council moving forward.

“We are committed to making the process as smooth as possible whilst protecting the council and the volunteer organisations.”

Council intends to increase the community grants pool by $10,000 annually for three years, to assist community groups originating from former special committees to become independent incorporated associations.