Residents' feedback is crucial
THE recently retired former general manager of the Richmond Valley Council has called on residents of the shire to more constructively engage with the council to help ensure its sustainability.
Brian Wilkinson, who retired on March 2 from the position he held since 2003, also said it would be "extremely difficult" for the future needs and expectations of shire residents to be met unless there was growth in the council's revenue base.
A relaxed Mr Wilkinson reflected on his time as general manager when spoken to by the Northern Star yesterday.
He said the key challenge he had faced was to meet "the diverse range of expectations of the community and (to get) the community to understand that council can be communicated with".
He also said the council had managed to maintain infrastructure despite a limited revenue base, and noted projects such as the Casino CBD upgrade and the construction of the Woodburn Evans Head Wastewater Treatment Plant as key achievements.
But he issued a warning that if revenue did not increase the council would struggle to meet community expectations.
"Council can continue to survive financially and provide basic services and facilities on its current basis but it will be extremely difficult for future needs and expectations to be met unless there is a growth in the revenue basis," he said.
"(The community) needs to have more constructive input to council so that financial sustainability can be achieved.
"The community also need to recognise that future sustainability and the direction of council is also their responsibility."
He also called on the council and the community to work together to develop the potential of the Richmond Valley.
"The Richmond Valley area is one of significant potential," he said.