Katoomba wants to talk and hopes that council is ready to listen.
Ward 1 councillors Kerry Brown and Kevin Schreiber are trying, again, to get an advisory committee up and running to allow better communication between locals and council.
The impetus for the latest bid – which is due to be raised at this month’s council meeting – is Katoomba’s newly achieved designation as a “strategic centre” under the state government’s Western City District Plan.
Cr Brown said “strategic centres” may be eligible for infrastructure funding that council doesn’t have to match.
She wants council to investigate establishing a “Katoomba Strategic Centre Advisory Committee” to improve community engagement in medium- and long-term projects including the Katoomba master plan and Katoomba golf course.
A committee would also be able to contribute to more immediate issues such as traffic congestion and parking, rejuvenation of the Town Centre Arcade and heritage restoration.
Katoomba Chamber of Commerce president, Mark Jarvis, said better communication would overcome hiccups such as occurred in the week before Christmas when council put up “no parking 7pm-5am” signs on Katoomba Street in preparation for road works.
Mr Jarvis, owner of the Carrington Hotel, said neither he nor other nearby business owners had been consulted about the plans.
“To begin roadworks on the first evening in one of those few periods in a year that the cafes and restaurants make money tells me that there is no understanding of what is important to the town,” Mr Jarvis said.
“It beggars belief that these works were to commence at the beginning of the school holidays.”
After some phone calls, the road works were stopped.
Mr Jarvis said the possibility that Katoomba could get government funding which council did not have to match was a “golden opportunity”.
This is the fourth attempt by the councillors to set up a community consultation group. Previous efforts were deemed “premature” with master plan work not due to start until 2019-20.
Cr Brown said she believed the timing was now appropriate.
“We want ongoing community engagement with business, arts, heritage, residents, techno nerds etc in the unfolding fate of Katoomba.
“It would also allow councillors to be better informed and part of the process.”