GREATER Bendigo residents are having their say on the future of the region.
Fifty members of the community gathered at the Ulumbarra Theatre on Saturday to discuss Imagine Greater Bendigo.
The City of Greater Bendigo launched the initiative in February, in response to the 2020 Local Government Act.
Mayor Jennifer Alden said the council would garner responses from surveys, listening posts, and panels to help draft a number of critical strategies and plans.
Cr Alden said residents had so far responded well to the initiative, with Saturday's community engagement panel focusing on key areas like inclusiveness and sustainability.
"The thoughtful conversation that is happening is amazing," Cr Alden said. "People are coming along prepared and are taking the responsibility really seriously."
Greater Bendigo residents were surveyed earlier this year on two questions - "What makes Greater Bendigo a great place to live now?" and "What would make Greater Bendigo an even better place to live 30 years from now?"
Cr Alden said more than 1000 people responded to the survey. The council then sent out expressions of interest to be part of the engagement panel.
The mayor said there were also 20 young people participating in the discussions, which was important.
"Every council in Victoria is undertaking this process," she said. "But of the 79 councils, we're the first to date to include a separate youth panel.
"The youth voice has to come through because we're talking about the future."
The community engagement panel will continue at the Ulumbarra Theatre on Sunday.
Cr Alden said more information about Imagine Greater Bendigo could be found at letstalkgreaterbendigo.com.au/imagine
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