Valley Vision to consider its future

THE Derwent Valley Council will continue to support the economic development group Valley Vision, but has encouraged the organisation to consider its future directions- and possibly to rename itself Valley 2020 in order to provide a readily identifiable ambition.

In a written report to the January council meeting, Councillor Damian Bester advised of a recent committee meeting held to discuss the Council’s future relationship with Valley Vision. Cr Bester said it was important to document the committee’s recommendations in order to address “misinformation” which had been circulating following the resignation of Valley Vision’s two council-funded staff.

“As requested, a committee consisting of Mayor Martyn Evans, Deputy Mayor Craig Farrell and Councillors Judy Bromfield, Scott Shaw and myself convened in the general manager’s office on January 7, 2010, to review Council’s relationship with Valley Vision,” Cr Bester said in his report.

The committee recommended:

•    That Council continue the lease of 2 High St for a further term to be negotiated
•    That existing sub-leases at 2 High St be honoured
•    That Council offer meaningful employment to the two Valley Vision staff until the conclusion of their contracts later in 2010
•    That Council continue to fund Valley Vision to the same extent as at present (approx $26,000pa)
•    That Valley Vision staff funded by Council be relocated to the council offices
•    That Council services such as Planning be relocated to 2 High St
•    The Valley Vision consider rebadging itself as Valley 2020 or similar
•    That any future Economic Development Officer/Community Development Officer should be the responsibility of Council, reporting to Council
•    That Council consider options for the effective sourcing of grant funding

“It was resolved that the general manager communicate the committee’s recommendations to the Valley Vision staff as soon as possible, to prevent any misapprehensions or misunderstandings,” Cr Bester said. “Subsequently, councillors were advised on the afternoon of January 8, 2010, that the two Valley Vision staff had tendered their resignations, effective January 15. The mayor issued a media release to the Derwent Valley Gazette, thanking the Valley Vision staff and wishing them well for the future.”

In discussion, Deputy Mayor Craig Farrell thanked Cr Bester for putting the report forward. “There is a lot of confusion about Valley Vision as an incorporated body and as the co-ordinator of council-funded employees,” Cr Farrell said. “It is pretty clear that council wishes to keep the model of Valley Vision as a good forum for the flow of information. Cr Farrell said there was no doubt Valley Vision needed “freshening up” and perhaps “re-badging”. “I’d like to see a strong community board in place to work with council,” he said.

Cr Judy Bromfield said she was a council representative on the Valley Vision board. “I think we do owe the Valley Vision board an opportunity to talk with council about where it wants to go,” Cr Bromfield said. “We should meet with them and hear their thoughts.”

Cr Barry Lathey supported Cr Bromfield’s statement. “I haven’t met them and I would like to,” he said. “The resignations came as a complete surprise,” Cr Lathey said. “I feel in my heart that those people did their best.”

Cr Bromfield said it should be noted that no redundancies were paid.

Cr James Graham said it was good to see the record set straight. He noted that he and Cr Bester had been there at the start of Valley Vision, but “unfortunately Valley Vision morphed into a bit of a monster”. That said, it was important to honour all the people who had done good work through Valley Vision in the past.

Cr Bester said it was important to note that no councillor had spoken in favour of Valley Vision continuing to operate in the manner in which it had done to date. Councillors voted unanimously to accept Cr Bester’s report of the committee meeting as provided.

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