Summit priorities for town's future

Merimbula Town Summit facilitator Jo Kelly and Chamber of Commerce president Nigel Ayling review lists of priorities workshopped during the two-day event. Photo: Ben Smyth
Merimbula Town Summit facilitator Jo Kelly and Chamber of Commerce president Nigel Ayling review lists of priorities workshopped during the two-day event. Photo: Ben Smyth

An identity and increased focus on what makes the Merimbula "experience" special is key to future growth.

That's one of the outcomes of the inaugural town summit held on Friday and Saturday.

One hundred leading lights from a broad cross section of the business and community sectors spent Friday workshopping priorities and hearing from a range of speakers, before presenting the best ideas on Saturday to be distilled into a "top 10".

It was clear most people were on the same page when it came to Merimbula's priorities. Even more pleasingly for the town's future was the lengthy list of people keen to take the priority ideas forward into action.

The Merimbula Town Summit was coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce and its president Nigel Ayling.

It was reportedly the first of its kind in a regional centre across NSW since the devastation wrought by bushfires, COVID and border closures.

The two-day summit was facilitated by Jo Kelly, director of People, Place and Partnership, who said the engagement of the community as well as all three tiers of government in the event was "unprecedented".

Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick, Bega MP Andrew Constance and Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain were all guests speaker on the Friday, with Ms McBain returning on Saturday to hear the list of priorities.

"We also had 13 different government agencies represented, not just to hear from everyone, but to connect programs that exist to community priorities," Ms Kelly said.

"That was really valuable."

Resilience Commissioner Shane Fitsimmons also spoke to the gathering, as did chairman of the Mumbulla Foundation Michael Pryke.

"This is one step towards future ambitions [for Merimbula]," Ms Kelly said following the summit.

"It's a fantastic outcome from such a devastating time.

"You can see a new enthusiasm and energised people - that's what's exciting.

"They're here to be serious about getting active and helping deliver on the ideas. It's fantastic."