Here at SMART, we have been working closely with the Gold Coast Waterways Authority to develop their 10-year strategy document to guide the allocation of resources. However, our main challenge was to convince the good people of the Gold Coast to care enough to have their say during the community consultation phase. With three other consultations running concurrently, we needed ours to stand out, grab attention and implore people to give us a piece of their mind.
Our conversations and research revealed that so often with government consultations, the people who they affect are rarely even aware their opinion is being sought. Knowing this, we developed a comprehensive strategy to fish where the fish are, pardon the pun. We took to Facebook and commenced an aggressive campaign to target residents of the Gold Coast who live on or near the water as well as people who use the waterways for recreation, leisure or commercial enterprise including surfers, divers and boat enthusiasts to have their say on the future of the waterways. This took care of the majority of Gold Coasters however we also recognised the need for a ‘traditional’ element including press and PR to capture the folk who aren’t on Facebook, yes, there are still some. The online survey was launched and promoted via a range of traditional press, pr, blog articles and social media channels including an extensive Facebook campaign. It was also available in a hard copy from the GCWA office or by post.
Upon the conclusion of the community consultation phase, feedback was assessed and the final strategy document was prepared which we think looks pretty darn sexy if we do say so ourselves.
The draft strategy community consultation generated almost 700 responses including 28 written submissions. The consultation period emphasised the ongoing need to balance the competing needs of the individuals and groups who use the waterways while protecting the environment.