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OPINION: After the engagement, will it be long term?

BETWEEN opposing nuclear dumps, rock quarries, a new kennel and the sale of water to a gold mine, something wonderful seems to have happened in the Bathurst community.
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It has become engaged.

Engagement is something of a political and business buzzword these days but can mean great things when applied to a local community.

Engagement is when a group of people become motivated by an issue to the point of working together to support or oppose it.

In the days of social media, that level ofengagement might run no deeper than “liking” a page on Facebook or electronically signing apetition to a member of parliament.

And while we have certainly seen elements of that in Bathurst’s recent activism, we have also seen a much more proactive banding together of like-minded residents.

The public gallery at council has rarely seen as many new faces as it has over the past 12 months.

These are people who may have previously taken no interest in what was happening with the council but, for their own personal reasons, have now become involved.

And people being drawn to taking an active role in local decision-making is really no bad thing.

Having been initially drawn unwillingly into the public domain, some of these new councilwatchers will certainly continue to take an active interest in local affairs.

More importantly, they have come into contact with people who have been similarly engaged.

So the next step towards a brighter, better Bathurst is to find ways to keep these people engaged in their community.

And while it is often through opposing aparticular development or initiative that people might be introduced to council matters,like-minded residents working together to promote their fields of interest can truly strengthen our city.

That might mean promoting business initiatives, it might mean supporting economic initiatives or it might mean supporting new environmentalinitiatives.

People have different interests but through working together with people of a similar mind they can achieve much more for themselves – and our city – than by working alone.

Community engagement has built up new momentum in Bathurst over the past 12 months. Let’s hope that momentum, and our city, keeps growing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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