What is community participation?

For the purposes of the draft Waverley Community Participation Plan, ‘community participation’ refers to a planned process used to engage with individuals to shape the decisions and actions of Council, Council staff and the Waverley Local Planning Panel (WLPP) on various statutory planning processes under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).

Community participation can also be referred to as ‘community engagement’.

Who makes up our community?

The Waverley community is taken to include any individual, group or organisation that is impacted by, or has an interest in, the planning processes and decisions of Council, including but not limited to:

  • Residents
  • Landowners
  • Business owners
  • People working in the area
  • Visitors to the area
  • Education institutions
  • Students
  • Users of Council services
  • Council’s advisory committees
  • Resident associations including precinct committees and chambers of commerce
  • Service providers
  • Other levels of government, government agencies and statutory bodies
  • Local and regional associations and peak bodies
  • Community organisations.

Our community is diverse, with people from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, people with a disability, younger and older people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as people experiencing homelessness.

Council is committed to engaging with the community in an inclusive, transparent and accountable way, ensuring all groups within the community have an opportunity to participate and have a say.

Why is community participation important?

Community participation is important as it:

  • it builds community confidence in the planning system and ensures the community can have a say in decisions that affect them
  • it creates a shared sense of purpose, direction and understanding of the need to deliver infrastructure and services to meet the community needs, while managing change
  • it develops strong relationships and partnerships between Council and the community, leading to shared understanding of our community needs, aspirations and priorities.

How do we undertake community participation?

There is no one-size fits all approach to community participation. The level of involvement and influence the community will have and the range of engagement methods we use will depend on the nature of the project.

Council has adopted the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) ‘Public Participation Spectrum’ model to inform the appropriate level of community participation for various planning processes and decisions. The IAP2 model comprises five levels of engagement.

For planning processes, we utilise the first three levels of the IAP2 model to guide the preparation of tailored engagement strategies, which identify the level of engagement and the methods used to engage with the community on specific projects.

The draft Waverley Community Participation Plan outlines broadly how and when the community can participate in planning processes and decision making.

What is a Community Participation Plan?

The draft Waverley Community Participation Plan (CPP) seeks to make community participation in local planning matters clearer for the Waverley community. It does this by outlining in one place how and when the community can participate in various statutory planning processes and decisions. This includes planning related strategy or policy development, plan making and development assessment. It also establishes Council’s community participation principles which we use to guide our approach to community engagement.

Importantly, it aims to clarify what roles and functions Council can influence, and which are external (such as State, Independent Panels, etc.). The draft Waverley CPP sets out at a high-level how and when Council will engage with the community on planning functions that it performs. It does not provide specific engagement strategies for specific processes or projects.

 

Why do we need a Community Participation Plan?

In March 2018, amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) introduced new requirements to make it easier for the community to participate in planning decisions.

Council has the responsibility to deliver the objects of the EP&A Act including to “provide increased opportunity for community participation in environmental planning and assessment” (see section 1.3(j) of the EP&A Act). A tool to deliver this object is a Community Participation Plan (CPP).

The draft Waverley CPP has been prepared to meet Council’s legislative requirements under Division 2.6 and Schedule 1 of the EP&A Act.

When does the Community Participation Plan apply?

The draft Waverley Community Participation Plan (CPP) applies to the exercise of planning processes and decisions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) by Council, Council staff and the Waverley Local Planning Panel (WLPP) only.

The CPP applies to the following planning functions of Council:

  • planning related strategy or policy development
  • plan making
  • planning proposals
  • development approvals.

It does not apply to other NSW planning authorities including the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), Independent Planning Commission (IPC) or other councils. 

What is the difference between a Community Participation Plan, a Community Engagement Policy and a Community Engagement Strategy?

A Community Engagement Policy and a Community Engagement Strategy are requirements of Council under the Local Government Act 1993 (LG Act). These documents provide the framework for Council-wide community participation (or engagement).

A Community Engagement Policy provides a framework for Council’s community engagement activities. It sets out Councils values and principles to guide our approach to community engagement.

A Community Engagement Strategy guides staff in determining the level of engagement that is appropriate to each project or initiative being considered by Council, and the methods to be used to engage with the community.

We are currently reviewing our Community Engagement Policy and Strategy. For more information visit haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au/community-engagement.

A Community Participation Plan (CPP) is a requirement of Council under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). The CPP is intended to make it easier for the community to understand when and how to participate in various statutory planning processes and decisions only. The CPP has been informed by the Community Engagement Policy and Strategy review. The CPP will form part of Council’s suit of Community Engagement documents. 

How will my feedback be used?

Once this document has been exhibited for community feedback, the next step will be to finalise the document responding to this feedback, and to finalise the Plan.