There has been much to learn from the conflicting complexities I ended up in the middle of over the past fortnight. Personal and professional barriers were tested, leaving me in tears. I honestly had no idea
I was so passionate about dunes and the sphere of coastal community engagement, which together exacerbated my response/s to the recent sand extractions from the dunes along Surfers Paradise.
One thing I’ve learnt is about the role of trust in coastal community engagement.
First of all, a lot can be said about trust.
I believe trust forms the basis of relationships and in my professional space, gaining trust in the community has enabled me to effectively engage and mobilise community action in coastal management. Over the past four years I have proven this concept throughout my experience in coastal community engagement and program implementation, which is why I felt completely disheartened once I became aware of the council’s solution to emergency beach management – please refer to my last tangent “Band-aid management is not a solution.” The trust I have in the community was all of a sudden at risk as my own trust in council became fractured. More so once I became aware that I might not have ever had council’s trust in me made me question my presence in such a congested coastal space.
Throughout the past fortnight I have had many conversations with the average joe to many community champions, coastal stewards, council leaders, state government officials, coastal experts and even my mum and step-dad to help me figure out my position on such issues and understand the role of trust in coastal community engagement. Being a proactive person, all I wanted to do was to help the situation by identifying possible solutions to extinguish the fires, protect the dunes and rebuild trust.
You see, this is because I see the coast differently to you – well, everyone has his or hers own perception of the coast. Though, in this case I mean I see the distinct elements and processes that geographically and socially make up the coast and how coastal features reflect community characters and connect the many interrelationships the coast dynamically feeds from. I am too familiar with current and impending issues of the coast and the needs of the community as I’ve positioned myself smack-bag in the core of the ‘coastal-community’. Anyway, what we can all learn from the last fortnight is the need to have trust in each other, as trust can either make or break a coastal management outcome.
It is a simple attribute, though a lasting quality. I want to thank everyone who spoke up for the protection of the dunes – I think it is time to chill out and head to Surfers Paradise to sow some seeds of hope with dune planting!