Campaign Launch and Platform Issues

Many thanks to those that attended my very successful campaign launch on Saturday afternoon. Detailed below are the key issues that I believe affect Willoughby City Council residents and my plan as Mayor to build on the strong foundation we have in this City.

1. Ease traffic and parking congestion everywhere

  •    Number one on the agenda is easing traffic and parking congestion everywhere.
  •    Our roads are under increasing pressure from greater volumes of through and local traffic.

Getting around the city (have you been around Pacific Highway or down Eastern Valley Way at peak hour) it is getting increasingly difficult and at times it’s gridlocked.

  • Likewise, it is getting harder to get a park, both in the CBD and in residential areas like Naremburn, Northbridge and Artarmon.
  • Council needs to address these issues with traffic and parking management strategies to ensure that residents can get from A to B, and that they can park close to local shops, parks and sporting fields, and receive fair and equitable access to residential parking.

2. Improve services

  • While I have been Acting Mayor in recent months, I have been overwhelmed with community groups seeking assistance.
  • These range from parents concerned about OOSH services and school capacities, the Salvation Army seeking Red Shield assistance, youth services including mental health, aged care and support, in addition to multicultural groups wanting to provide assistance and support to potentially marginalised ethnic groups.
  • There is no doubt Willoughby City has a diverse community both culturally and age wise and this brings many needs. We are fortunate in being able to provide assistance ranging from day care and pre-school care to meals on wheels, multicultural support and the ability to lobby other levels of government> Despite this, we can always do better.
  •    I intend to lead Council in listening to our community and their changing needs and adapting accordingly.

3. Enhancing local shopping and promoting the Chatswood CBD

  • With several strip shopping areas in the city, we need to promote and support our local business and shopping areas to encourage residents to shop locally.
  • This extends beyond just supporting the shopkeepers. It also means improving the local shopping experience through upgrading streetscapes and improving parking.
  • Chatswood is our main shopping and restaurant precinct but the Chatswood interchange has been an eyesore for years. Council should make every effort to support the development of this area around the train station and see it completed, and soon!

4. Optimise sport and recreation facilities

  • We have a very high participation rate for sport and recreation. This should be encouraged and supported.
  • Access to sporting fields should be fair and equitable. Wet weather access should be enabled through the installation of synthetic turf, and a number of sports including football, netball, tennis and cycling are deserving of improved facilities. Soccer and cricket have benefited throughthe installation of synthetic turf at Northbridge Oval and have not been rained off since it was installed. This type of facility should be extended across the city.
  • The Willoughby Leisure Centre was built in 1988 and is now out of date.Upgrades need to be undertaken to provide better swimming, gym, childcare and ancillary services as well as improving netball and baseball facilities.
  • This is a large project requiring a significant injection of capital. Council needs to explore funding possibilities to ensure the most efficient completion, utilising grants and other support from all levels of government.
  • As Mayor I will ensure our relationships with State and Federal Government are strong and communication lines remain open. This is critical.

5. Maximise use of the Concourse

  • The Concourse is Council’s largest singleasset. It represents a major investment and we need to make sure that we make the most of this state of the art facility.
  • It needs to be functioning at optimum capacity to ensure that the community gains maximum benefit and that it attracts the maximum return on this investment.
  • Local schools, performance and community groups should be encouraged to use the facilities as well as more renowned performers.
  • The space can be activated through movie screenings; children’s activities and other events and we need to work to attract more people to the area and thus, importantly, supporting local business.

6. Protect our natural and built heritage

  • Our unique natural heritage needs to be protected by encouraging bushcare and bushland management.
  • We have a number of conservation areas in our community. With any changes to planning laws we need to ensure that these areas are protected.
  • We have a state government directive to build an extra 6800 dwellings in the city by 2031. This will create extra pressure on infrastructure and Council needs to ensure proper planning to minimise this impact.

7. Financial responsibility

  • Council has identified a $28M shortfall in infrastructure requirements over the next five years.
  • This will require careful planning and budgeting to ensure that these required services are provided with minimal contribution from our residents.
  • This means completing the service review which is currently being undertaken, then revisiting the need for a rate rise – we need to strike the right balance between delivering the service and livability that our residents want, and the realities of funding them.
  • There has been much discussion over the financing of the Concourse. The bottom line is that 14 years ago the community voted in favour of it, it has been built and we need to make the most of it.

If you would like to discuss these or any other issues, please contact me on either gidney@bigpond.net.au or 9967 4346.

 



Leave a Reply