ArneTech has proved an invaluable tool in ending a near 20-year stand-off between the City of Moreland and some of its residents around a much loved park. For years, residents had been in conflict over the location of a much-needed public toilet in Methven Park, Brunswick East. City of Moreland used Harava, an easy-to-use web-based survey tool and it has helped residents to visually capture their opinions to the council in a quick, reliable and statistically valid way.
Marco Bass, Manager of Communications and Customer Service for City of Moreland Council, related that previous attempts at using traditional consultation methods to engage and consult the community. These attempts had resulted in very little community awareness and very limited ‘buy in’. When a section of the community staged a social media campaign against the Council’s decision on a location, many were angry that a decision has been made without being consulted.
In Moreland, community engagement is considered to be an essential part of urban development processes, so it is important that the council can confirm that the results of the engagement surveys to demonstrate public legitimacy.
The new consultation approach using Harava as the platform and successfully marketing on a range of Council communications platforms, most importantly Facebook. Two possible locations were proposed and community members able to express, and preference for one of the two or reject both.
Bass said Harava proved invaluable saying, “… we needed a platform, that firstly, would tell us that the local community what the community wanted, and secondly, would give us a statistically meaningful result…We got a very strong response and outcome that was beyond challenge”.
The Harava product has not only made it possible to easily map out the locations from council to residents, and vice versa, but also reliably capture the respondents needs for the toilet in the park. Option A and Option B were listed on a map for the survey and provided with a 3D build image of the toilets in each location.
Most importantly Harava was able to ingest the GIS data for the municipal area requiring respondents to choose from a valid street address in the Council area.
“I was very impressed by the GIS based functionality… which with reasonable certainty, gave the ability to guarantee that the respondents were actually residents of the municipality.”
– Marco Bass,
Manager of Communications and Customer Service for City of Moreland Council
The council received 349 replies to the consultation. The majority of the answers were received via the Harava survey.
Over 80 percent of the respondents agreed that Methven Park needs a public toilet. Over 65 percent of the respondents preferred the provided option B close to the edge of the park. The council received also a number of comments on the appearance and colouring of the building.
The council went through the response data before making a final decision. The toilet is now built in the location preferred by a majority of the respondents.
It has been a long and arduous struggle for many to get a toilet put in to help prevent public relief in bushes of the park. Some improvements were also made to the appearance of the toilet as suggested from the survey. The build decision will be a big relief for many (and not just the emergency bathroom users!).