From the Newsroom

Council housing survey ‘inadequate’ – Yamba CAN

Rodney Stevens


A Clarence Valley Council Housing Strategy survey that is only available online has been labelled ‘inadequate’ and ‘poor’ by the community and members of the Yamba Community Action Network Yamba CAN Inc who have voiced their concerns.

Council is developing the Housing Strategy and updating its 2015 Affordable Housing Policy to guide where, when, and how housing should be delivered across the Clarence Valley to meet the future needs of our changing community.

By completing the survey, available only on the Clarence Conversations website , council says residents will help gain an insight into the demand for different types of housing and how council can plan for more diverse, affordable, liveable, and resilient communities into the future.

Yamba CAN Inc Chair Col Shephard said this is a very important survey for future housing strategies in the Clarence Valley LGA, that council has received a $150,000 state government grant to undertake, and Yamba CAN Inc has serious concerns that the survey has some real flaws with both the questions asked in the survey and whether the collection of data is from genuine respondents.

“The survey is totally provided on the internet and many residents do not have the ability or have internet access to participate,” he said.

“The survey is only advertised on Council’s Facebook page and appears on Clarence Conversations website page. When searched for on Council’s website it is not available.

“We have heard that many residents in Yamba have no idea there is such a survey, and some found it difficult to register to participate in the survey.”

Residents have also reported technical issues when trying to complete the survey, Mr Shephard said, which poses questions about how accurate and reliable the information obtained will be.

“If one person in a household completed the survey, and the cookies on the PC were not removed, another person wishing to undertake the survey was unable to do so, as the Conversations webpage just shows “thank you for taking the survey” and doesn’t allow a different person to participate,” Mr Shephard said.

“Another person said they have participated in the survey a few times using a different name and email address.”

Other issues identified by residents and raised with Yamba CAN Inc include not enough choices for responses and confusing questions that provide two scenarios’ people may want to respond to.

“In question four, if one chose ‘retired’ as their employment status, question five which asks, “where is your place of work or study located”, doesn’t include an appropriate option for retired people,” Mr Shephard said.

“People have found question 20 confusing as it provides two scenarios for a response, firstly, “This type of housing doesn’t suit my needs, but I can see how it would be appropriate for some people” and secondly, “This type of housing would be appropriate for some households, but I don’t think it’s suitable for my area”, and people may wish to answer differently to these two scenarios.”

A Clarence Valley Council spokesperson said Council had extended the deadline of the Clarence Valley Housing Strategy community survey by one week to 10 July.

“Developing this exciting new housing strategy will set up the Clarence Valley for the future,” Development and Land Use Planning Manager Murray Lane said.

“We are really keen to hear the views from the community as we prepare to develop a Housing Strategy, including developing a new Affordable Housing Policy (2015). Submissions will be open for an additional week to ensure as many people as possible are able to provide feedback.

“It has also been advertised in Council’s weekly e-newsletter Noticeboard, on Council’s homepage and Facebook page, and in previous editions of the Clarence Valley Independent and other local media, including Seven Coffs.”

The spokesperson said the survey is multiple choice and should take about 10 minutes to complete.

However, if the desired answer is not provided, the option is available to write your additional ideas and responses in a text box.

The survey has been developed by Council’s professional staff with advice from expert consultants and is funded by the NSW Government’s Regional Strategic Planning Fund. The survey can be completed on any device, including mobile phones and tablets.

Residents are also encouraged to visit Council’s Grafton and Maclean offices or any of our library facilities to access free internet and receive assistance from a friendly staff member or call council on 6643 0200 to discuss with Strategic Planning Staff.

To complete the survey, visit and click on Clarence Valley Housing Strategy.