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Lake Illawarra’s Successful Consultation Process

Our Multi-Faceted Consultation Process

BROOKS Community Engagement led the development of the Lake Illawarra Community Engagement and Participation Strategy in collaboration with Wollongong City Council, Shellharbour City Council, and the local Illawarra community. 

Aligned with the Key Actions of the Lake Illawarra Coastal Management Program (CMP), our multi-faceted consultation process involved various engagement methods, capturing the diverse perspectives of the Illawarra community. 

Our consultation process included methods such as:

Lake Illawarra One on Ones were conducted to build relationships and engage key stakeholders.

We held 24 consultations with key stakeholders including representatives from local government, Councillors, environmental organisations, the University of Wollongong, community groups, businesses, and more.

Information Hotspot Kiosks & Idea Walls
Community Engagement Officer at Wollongong Central Mall inviting the public to respond to the questions posed on the Ideas Wall.

We ran 2 hotspot information kiosks to generate conversations with the public about the lake, CMP, and ways that the community can participate. The kiosks provided opportunities for Project Officers from both Councils to answer questions about Lake Illawarra and the CMP management strategies. 

The Idea Walls invited the public to contribute their ideas for the lake around education and engagement programs. The public display allowed passers-by to read and engage with over 70 submissions from other community members.

Lake Illawarra Hotspot Kiosks

183 participants completed a stakeholder survey, which aimed to assess community knowledge and awareness of the lake. It sought feedback on how the community interacted with the lake, community awareness of the CMP, and community interest and barriers to potential engagement strategies. Moreover, it sought to generate new ideas from the community about how they would like to be engaged.

Community Workshops
Lake Illawarra Community Workshop brings community together to collaborate on the Lake Illawarra Community Engagement and Participation Strategy.

A total of 55 community stakeholders participated in 2 community workshops which facilitated collaborative brainstorming sessions on potential educational initiatives, participation programs, community events and community partnerships. 

Presentations to the CMP Working Group

BROOKS regularly communicated with the Lake Illawarra CMP Implementation Group (‘the Group’) to present their findings, progress, and drafts of the Strategy. This continual dialogue with the Group ensured that all engagement efforts were strongly aligned with the broader objectives of the CMP and its key actions. 

An initial presentation was provided to the Group to share a comprehensive case study report and provide a strategic roadmap for our engagement approach. 

The second presentation provided a detailed overview of the engagement conducted and how it would inform the development of the Lake Illawarra Community Engagement and Participation Strategy. It was highlighted that these strategies were not fixed, but rather evolving frameworks that could adapt to changing community and environmental needs.

Lake Illawarra Project Officers

Lake Illawarra Project Officers, Trudy Costa and Allison Broad at the Shellharbour Rocks the Lake Festival

We spoke to Trudy Costa, Wollongong City Council Environmental Project Officer, to get some of her insights from this project.

What were your project highlights?

“It was such a joy to share the beauty and science of Lake Illawarra with the team and the community. A fond memory from this project was exploring the lake in kayaks with Jack and Lance at one of our first project meetings. I enjoyed working with the incredible BROOKS team and getting to know our community members. I learnt the importance of building relationships and taking the time to listen when engaging with the community, and also learned some wonderful new skills.”

What were some of the challenges that you faced during this project and how did you overcome them?

“The project had to be completed within a fairly short timeframe which kept us all on our toes. The BROOKS team was always thoroughly organised, efficient and prepared for every event. This meant we were able to meet our deadlines while also enjoying each community workshop, kiosk and event that we hosted.”  

What are your key project takeaways?

“Genuine engagement with the community can be challenging when there is a wealth of differing viewpoints and strong opinions. It was so valuable to learn the importance of simply listening in these situations. Creating connections can break down a lot of barriers and enable better discussions and collaboration to develop solutions. There will always be differences of opinion but with the right set of tools and time spent investing with community members, it is possible to build great relationships and foster a sense of unity.”

Lake Illawarra’s Successful Consultation Process


Wollongong and Shellharbour City Council


Lake Illawarra


February-August 2023

Engagement category

Community Consultation, Social Research

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