Mon, August 20th 2012 | News

Have you got three big ideas to make the Shire a better place to live?

IT IS widely accepted that Sutherland Shire is a great place to live, but a new project is looking at ways to make it even better.

RADIO 2SSR.99.7 FM is running a competition with a difference.

3 Big Ideas for the Shire is asking residents to tell them what they think needs to be done to make the shire an even better place to live and work.

The best ideas will be collected and discussed at a forum of community leaders at Gymea Tradies on Friday, September 28.

‘‘There are people out there who have got visions for the shire,’’ 2SSR presenter Bob Birkhead said.

‘‘Some of these ideas may be out of left-of-field but it doesn’t matter, we want to hear about them.’’

The Three Big Ideas competition is part of The Shire Futures Project, an initiative of former Cronulla MP Malcolm Kerr.

Mr Kerr is modelling the leaders’ forum on the popular Renaissance Weekends held in the United States.

Described as ‘‘the grand-daddy of ideas festivals’’, Renaissance Weekends gather community leaders from business, education, finance, technology, the arts, sports, medicine and government to discuss emerging ideas, policy and growth.

Mr Kerr is chairing the Shire Futures Project committee. Members include Menai Community Services general manager Karen Howell; Sydney Distance Education High School deputy principal Julie Kennedy; former Channel 7 sports commentator and author Barry Ross; Department of Education senior executive and former coach of South Sydney NRL Bill Anderson; former Senator Michael Forshaw; 2SSR FM general manager Trevor Davis and presenter Bob Birkhead, entertainers Helen Zerefos and Johnny Pace and management consultant John Petty.

Some of the ideas already on the agenda to be discussed at the forum include accommodation for the aged, low-cost affordable housing, youth and the homeless, transportation needs, tourism opportunities, including the creation of more jobs, and ways to tap into international tourism

This could include an international-standard entertainment complex.

A shire business innovation centre will be considered as a focal point for new business development and the creation of employment.

Another big idea is integrating sporting associations in the shire under one umbrella organisation for a unified approach to address the needs of sport.

Following the forum, a website will be set up to look at developing some of the best ideas.