Work is progressing on the Byron bypass.
Work is progressing on the Byron bypass.

How residents are feeling about the council’s services

BYRON Shire Council asks independent consultants to conduct a community survey to measure residents’ views every two years.

The 2020 survey results are back and residents are more satisfied overall, and across more areas, than in 2018.

According to a report that will go before the council’s ordinary meeting next week, levels of community satisfaction with the council have “improved significantly over the last two years and have returned to above 2013 levels”.

The biggest issues for residents this year were the condition and maintenance of roads (18 per cent listing this in their top two priorities), affordability and availability of housing and land (16 per cent) and managing development (11 per cent).

When viewed against other regional LGAs, Byron Shire residents place a “comparatively higher level of importance” on bikeways and bicycle facilities, public transport, recycling services, sewerage management services and parking.

But locals are less bothered about sporting facilities, parks and playgrounds, swimming pools and public art than residents in other areas.

“Overall, the 2020 results are positive but there is always room for improvement and, based on the results, the report recommends future focus on a number of key areas,” council staff said in their report.

Micromex Research, the firm that completed the survey, recommended the council keeps engaging with the community “about the future of the area”, “clarify service level expectations regarding infrastructure in the area, and continue to address the issue of

roads” and “understand resident needs in terms of the affordability of housing in the area”.

Mayor Simon Richardson said the survey was a great tool to check in with the community.

“We want to keep improving and are committed to pushing ourselves hard as an organisation to do our best, and we know we sometimes fall a touch short, but it is pleasing our efforts are being noticed and appreciated as more than three quarters of residents, 78 per cent, are somewhat to very satisfied with council,” Cr Richardson said.

“This is a significant improvement on the 2018 results when only 64 per cent of people said they were satisfied with council’s performance.”

In 2020 residents were more satisfied with 37 out of 39 services provided in the Byron Shire including parks and playgrounds, quality of town centres, community consultation and the processing of development applications.

“In 2018 residents told council they wanted more investment in upgraded community infrastructure and so we did major work on Railway Park, Waterlily Park, Gaggin Park and the Bangalow Parklands; we’ve upgraded skateparks in Brunswick Heads and Federal and have started work on Mullumbimby,” Cr Richardson said.

“We’ve delivered five new bridges in the Bangalow area, built new fish-friendly causeways and bridges and we’re refurbishing the magnificent South Arm Bridge at Brunswick Heads.

“Levels of resident satisfaction with local roads slightly improved over the last two years but there’s still a long way to go.

“With current record levels of investment going into local roads, we hope to see the improvement in satisfaction with roads continue to increase over the next two years.”

The 2020 Community Survey Report is available on the council’s website.

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