Mayor Ann Ferguson shares her plans for a smart and sustainable city.
What is your vision for Mount Barker?
My vision is for Mount Barker to be the most desirable and liveable safe city outside Adelaide in South Australia.
How will technology help?
Mount Barker will become a Smart City, environmentally sound by promoting renewable energy, reusable water, clean and green. We are encouraging innovation through developing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
How will you develop your digital services?
Digital servers will be enhanced and promoted by a NBN (National Broadband Network) and Wi-Fi connected district. There will be hot-desking for businesses in our City Centre CBD.
What has been the greatest innovation from your civil service?
The reuse of waste water through our Community Wastewater Management System was a solution to our problem of sewerage. Council constructed a large artificial wetland (called Laratinga) to filter the wastewater and reuse it for local irrigators, mines, parks and gardens. The Laratinga wetland has won several awards, including the United Nations Association of Australia Award.
How is the council using feedback from citizens?
Council consults with the community on all issues usually with an independent facilitator, and they bring the outcomes back to the Council members to make a final decision on the outcome.
What has been the biggest challenge that the council overcame in 2016?
The major challenge this year is funding from Federal and State Government for Infrastructure Sporting facilities. We are also looking at the completion of Bald Hills Interchange and the Sculpture Symposium.
What is your top priority for 2017?
2017 brings many challenges, revitalising the City Town Square being the most pressing.
What is the biggest area of spending for the council?
Spending on infrastructure and bringing employment to the city are our biggest areas of spending.
If I were to visit Mount Barker, what one place would you recommend?
We are blessed to live in such a beautiful and pristine environment with everything at our fingertips, but one place is very special to my heart and that is Laratinga Wetlands.