2004 – Community Consultation – Value Adding And Invaluable

Suzie Gaynor, Phil Betts, David Watson

Community consultation is starting to become the ‘in thing’ to do for dam safety upgrades.
While ANCOLD has been promoting community consultation as an essential element in dam safety upgrades and is particularly highlighted in its most recent risk guidelines; there are many dam owners who have reservations about its value.

State Water is currently embarking on a series of upgrades and has included strategic ‘up-front’ community consultation in its approach.

This paper further builds on the paper given at the 2003 ANCOLD conference titled: “Keepit Dam Upgrade – The Community Consultation Way”, placing more emphasis on the value of involving the community, the added value that their involvement gives the project and how the community feels about being involved. This paper outlines the outcomes of two State Water projects embracing and practicing procedural justice.

The paper answers a range of questions including:

  • What is meant by community consultation, its key issues and their handling?
  • Are there various activities associated with consultation?
  • What is the value in early community consultation?
  • How important is it to have a champion and / or champion group?
  • When would you use a Community Reference Panel and what should its role be?
  • Who should be members and how critical is the Chair?
  • Are there other ways to establish a champion and effectively consult?
  • What is the cost – both time and money and issues handling?
  • Is it a win-win for the community, dam owner and government?

    Involving the community is not just invaluable, it value adds.

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