How was the community consultation process undertaken for the Blackheath Masterplan?
The process for undertaking the Blackheath Masterplan took approximately 18 months.
1. Scoping the issues
The first stage of the project involved “scoping” the issues with the help of the Feedback Group to draw out any problems or opportunities that that the community may be aware of. Council also consulted with relevant agencies such as the RMS, Sydney Trains, & National Parks and groups or individuals with special interests (e.g. Blue Mountains Bus Company). In addition, there were a range of stakeholders internal to Council who were also consulted – including Asset Managers, Traffic Engineers, Recreation managers, and Statutory Planners.
2. Commissioning of background studies from relevant consultants
The information gathered from the scoping stage was then collated. This aided Council in engaging Consultants to undertake the required background studies. For example; a study of traffic circulation and parking were of a high priority.
3. First Public Exhibition and Community Workshop
Once the pertinent issues were identified in consultation with the Feedback Group and other key stakeholders, a summary of the findings and analysis undertaken by Council and the consultants were placed on public exhibition for a two week period. This allowed the wider public to engage with the problems, opportunities and functioning within the Village centre. At the conclusion of the Exhibition a Community Workshop was held to invite the community’s wider participation.
4. Commissioning of concept Masterplan
Consultants with high-order expertise and experience were engaged to maximize all opportunities and resolve the identified problems in an initial concept Masterplan.
5. Second Public Exhibition and Community Workshop
A second public exhibition culminating in a Community Workshop was held to allow the community to interact with the concept Masterplan.
6. Development of Draft Masterplan
Using the feedback gained from the exhibitions and workshops, and from the consultants, Council developed the Draft Masterplan document. This document went to Council for approval to be placed on exhibition as a Draft Masterplan.
7. Exhibition of Draft Masterplan
The Draft Masterplan was placed on public exhibition for a period of two weeks.
8. Adoption of the Draft as final
Following the exhibition, the Draft went to a meeting of Council to be adopted as the final Masterplan.
What is a Masterplan?
A Masterplan is a long-term general outline to guide future
development. In this case it will focus
primarily on the public domain - that is the roads, carparks, footpaths and
other public areas of the Blackheath village centre. The Master Plan is
intended to set a clear framework for upgrading the town centre into the future
in a way that addresses current and projected future needs for Blackheath and
will enable capital works priorities to be set.
Why Blackheath now?
Council has just commenced its rollout of Masterplanning and Blackheath Village Centre has been identified as a high priority. It has never been the subject of masterplanning, has a vital community and is a significant tourist destination. A review of the public spaces in the village centre is timely to identify ways in which it can be made more functional, safe and attractive for both locals and visitors. In addition it is considered the right time to identify issues which may arise from RMS upgrades of the Highway through the Village.
What is meant by "Public Domain"?
The term "Public Domain" is used to indicate that the extent of this Masterplan is limited to publically, or council-owned land within the village centre and does not include privately owned land. So the Masterplan focusses on roads, footpaths and carparks because they are particularly relevant in this case.