Anna engineers outdoor life

Brighton Council’s project engineer Anna Wilson is a firm believer in collaboration at every level which she says is the key to any council project’s success. Anna says collaboration is important between council departments, with residents, key stakeholders and often other councils.

BRIGHTON Council’s project engineer Anna Wilson is a firm believer in collaboration at every level which she says is the key to any council project’s success. Anna says collaboration is important between council departments, with residents, key stakeholders and often other councils.

Anna, who was the project engineer of Brighton’s new Regional Sports Centre Project a revitalised multi-purpose facility to cater for the needs of local sports clubs and the community and which was highlighted in last month’s Brighton Community News, said collaboration was the key to a project’s success.

“We’re not out to compete with each other so working together internally as well as resource-sharing our expertise with other councils is a valuable and rewarding part of a council engineer’s role.” 

Anna was instrumental in managing the early design work of the new sports centre which included community consultation and successful grant applications to fund the major project. 

“The Brighton Football and Brighton Cricket clubs were both heavily involved in the early stages of working out exactly what we wanted in the facility and how it was going to work,” Anna said.

The new sports centre is going to make the Pontville area a fantastic space for families and the community to not only participate in sports, but also to congregate or host functions. We’re essentially revamping the entire area so it’ll be a great community facility.”

Anna originally studied Environmental Engineering at the University of Technology in Sydney before a six-month placement at Brighton Council. As UTAS does not run an Environmental Engineering stream, she transferred her study credits to the University of Southern Queensland to earn the rest of her qualifications remotely.  In her personal life, Anna, who grew up on a large regional wool farm in Armidale, NSW, now lives in Dulcot, Tasmania, with her husband Alex, and three children, Henry (6) and her twin girls Zoe and Georgia (4).

Her interest in the outdoors can be traced back to her upbringing in Armidale, where she was very involved with the day-to-day activities of running the farm from a young age.

Anna was attracted early on to the engineering profession.

“I like things to be practical and straightforward and I’ve always liked to solve problems.” 

If there’s one thing the engineering textbooks didn’t prepare her for, it was community consultation. 

“You can’t really experience that until you’re in a job and doing it. One of the benefits of being part of peak bodies like the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) is learning about consultation. Attending IPWEA events is also rewarding as it’s where people in the profession are inspired by even greater engineering issues.”

Anna said she particularly relishes the opportunity to swap new ideas with her colleagues, “especially when others are undertaking and testing projects with new technology.”  

Anna also enjoys being able to get out in the field but enjoys all tasks.

“I write grants and it’s always good to see successful results from those grant submissions.” 

For example, the work to revamp the Brighton Bowls and Community Club came from a grant application.

Anna is also passionate about community and sustainability, and believes councils are in a unique position to lead the way. 

“Many councils embrace initiatives aiming for zero emissions but the reality is we are a level of government and we can do more than simply look out for ourselves.”

Anna believes there are a few misconceptions about local government in the community. 

“There is a belief council staff will instantly know all the answers. We really appreciate the public following up to let us know whether something has occurred in the municipality. That public input helps us to do our job throughout the community.” 

During COVID-19 lockdown, Anna and her husband were able to home school their children particularly teaching Henry to do his maths. In her down time, she enjoys regular bike rides with her family around the Brighton area.

Anna admits she intends making use of the new sports centre once built. 

“My son desperately wants to play football and cricket. He’s only six but in the future I’m sure it’ll be a great amenity to use for not only us as a family but also for Brighton Municipality’s residents.”

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