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Council candidates 2019

MOUNT BARKER

ALL CANDIDATES were sent a list of four questions and asked to respond in no more than 300 words. The responses below appear in the order in which they were received by The Voice. Some have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Cr CHRIS PAVLOVICH

Sitting member

What is your relevant local government or similar experience?

Two terms as a councillor for the Shire of Plantagenet, including two years as shire president. Previously included 20 years in the corporate sector in the business of manufacturing, transport and logistics, and primary production.

What do you see as the two most important issues that council needs to address in the next 12 to 24 months?

  1. Jobs, housing and people are fundamental in any region, and we are facing a decline in residential investment other than the private homeowner. This has and may continue to create a shortage of suitable housing on the rental market.
  2. Sense of place. We need to improve our urban centre to be attractive to the community and visitors alike. In most cases the retail and service sector also require both local and visitor patronage to remain viable. If families feel content in their environment it will be easier to attract and retain our population base. Our population has been increasing, but to improve more will ensure our community remains resilient and progressive.

How do you believe that council should address those issues?

  1. Lobby state and federal governments for concessions, subsidies or funding to kickstart investment in homes. GROW would be a good start for government employees who require stable and quality accommodation.
  2. Revitalise our urban streets with entry statements, pedestrian mall, chairs, windbreaks, green vegetation, features to provide a positive ambience for retail, coffee shops, restaurants, markets and the like.

What is your most significant achievement during your term as a councillor?

Part of a proactive asset renewal program delivering new sporting facilities, town hall theatre, equine precinct in both Mt Barker and Kendenup townships. Adopting a process to lock in long-term strategic plans for the future generations in Plantagenet.

Living in the best place on earth.

Cr MARIE O’DEA

Sitting member

What is your relevant local government or similar experience?

I have completed one full term as a shire councillor at Plantagenet. Previous board/committee experience includes Plantagenet Community Financial Services, ArtSouthWA and various sporting groups.

What do you see as the two most important issues that council needs to address in the next 12 to 24 months?

  1. The expected change in leadership at the administrative level.
  2. Ensuring that we are shovel-ready with a variety of projects that could be supported by state or federal government largesse.

How do you believe that council should address those issues?

In the same way that Plantagenet has done in the past, have robust discussions to understand the risks and benefits, and work as a team for the betterment of our community.

What is your most significant achievement during your term as a councillor?

Putting arts, culture and heritage into policy discussions.

KAREN WOLTERING

New candidate

What is your relevant local government or similar experience?

As a new candidate I have had limited local government experience, except the attending of the monthly council meetings. However, I have had numerous meetings with shire personnel and/or councillors discussing concerns and ideas. I have also made presentations to the council meetings when required.

What do you see as the two most important issues that council needs to address in the next 12 to 24 months?

I think the issue of waste and how we deal with it is becoming a really important and costly issue, which will only get more expensive as time goes on. Having done extensive research in this area, I would like to see recycling happen within the shire but without circular economies being created it is a very difficult and expensive thing to implement. It is concerning when you see that the overseas recycling markets are being eroded meaning that local governments are more than likely going to be left to deal with the issues. With an aging demographic within the Shire of Plantagenet, ensuring our seniors have the required services is important. With the closure of HACC I believe it is essential to ensure that there is no shortfall of services that they used to provide with new contractors. It is also disheartening to learn this week that Meals on Wheels are no longer taking on any new clients. This sort of thing needs to be addressed urgently as I believe that we have a fundamental obligation to assist in looking after those who have shaped this community.

How do you believe that council should address those issues?

When it comes to waste, the state government issued the Waste Avoidance & Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 which all local governments need to work towards. The essential question moving forward would be how much is this all going to cost our residents in the future? What impact is this going to have on our environment in the long term? How do we reduce what goes into landfill? Investigate possible cost saving measures to reduce the impact on the residents. Councillors should be listening to the concerns of our elderly, to ensure that the services are not eroded. When something like Meals on Wheels no longer takes new clientele, it is important to be able to develop a contingency plan to ensure any new customers have access to this. Thankfully, when this was put on Facebook – although the post has since been removed – there were many people who advised that they would be prepared to volunteer time. I feel that it is a responsibility of the shire to help identify and perhaps negotiate access to a commercial kitchen, for those volunteers to keep a such an important service going. Where there is a shortfall with other services, holding meetings with the current providers in town to see if they are able to assist in these areas is essential.

How many council meetings have you attended during the past 12 months?

I have attended at least eight council meetings in the past 12 months.

Cr KEN CLEMENTS

Sitting member

What is your relevant local government or similar experience?

During my time on council I have held the offices of president, vice president, Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) Great Southern Zone president, WALGA state councillor, and for my dedication to local government I was made a life member of WALGA – only the 18th person to ever to receive this honour.

What do you see as the two most important issues that council needs to address in the next 12 to 24 months?

The two most important issues to be faced by the Shire of Plantagenet over the next few years are 1. Rubbish disposal.

  1. Opening up of economically viable industrial land.

How do you believe that council should address those issues?

  1. With the rules and regulations and changing frequently this is a problem facing most local government authorities. The shire is presently discussing this problem with adjoining local governments and the state authorities, to come to some economical compromise.
  2. Unless the shire can allocate large areas of industrial land with most of the infrastructure in place and limited red tape, the viability of enticing large and smaller enterprise to the area is limited. With increased industry come employment opportunities. The shire is in discussion with state authorities to remedy this.

What is your most significant achievement during your term as a councillor?

I have championed most of the development that has taken place in Plantagenet over the past 15 years – for example the medical centre, CRC/library/ TAFE complex, Kendenup Agri Pavilion upgrade, Mt Barker CBD upgrade, refurbishment of the Frost Park pavilion, redevelopment of the ANZAC memorial and surrounding area, and the one I’m particularly proud of, the successful redevelopment of the Sounness Park complex.

Most of these were achieved with state and federal money, and comparatively little cost to the ratepayers.

Cr Bevan Lang

Sitting member

(Mr Lang did not respond to our request for answers. –Ed)

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