COUNCIL ELECTIONS Who has your vote?
The politicking has been fierce ahead of the council elections, with accusations of dirty tricks from most sides.
Tensions are high amid anger over the forced amalgamation, the state government push for development, high-rise development fears and increasing loss of community.
As a result, there has been an influx of single-issue candidates, with 14 Independents running in four teams, along with Liberal, Labor and the Greens. Outgoing Northern Beaches Council Administrator Dick Persson announced the mayor will be decided by the elected councillors rather than the public, saying, "To put that on the ballot paper on this occasion would become a divisive issue, particularly in the Pittwater area."
The chosen mayor will receive a $113,280 salary and the $28,950 councillor's fee, which the elected 15 will also receive. Meet the candidates vying for your vote:
GROUP A INDEPENDENTS
The group, who are members of Northern Beaches Community Alliance, pledge to:
- Work to ensure resident groups and community members are involved in the decision-making process to protect and enhance our village lifestyle and natural, sustainable environment.
- Oppose inappropriate development and changes to existing planning laws and work to ensure a transparent council, and hold councillors and council staff to the publicly-available code of conduct.
- Work to ensure realistic numbers concerning population and density are set and the necessary infrastructure is provided by the state.
- Provide support for the business community, employment and communication links.
GROUP B LIBERAL
The Liberal team for Pittwater is led by former deputy mayor Kylle Ferguson.
She continued to serve in an advisory capacity during administration to "ensure the community was represented at the new council".
There have been wins for Pittwater as a result, with the new coastal walkway delivering much-needed upgrades at the northern end of the peninsula. She successfully lobbied for a skate park at Terrey Hills and an expansion of youth mental health services in Pittwater. Kylie's message is, "Make your vote count and deliver the best value for ratepayers. Vote Liberal."
GROUP C INDEPENDENTS
These accomplished community leaders Insist they have a proven track record for listening to, and advocating for, our region across issues such as the Northern Beaches Council Pittwater Ward on environmental, social, development, eco-tourism, health, sustainability, transport, culture, arts and heritage issues.
They are dedicated to ensuring the people of Pittwater are heard In the new, larger council. This group claims It's the only truly Independent team unencumbered by political or party ties, which means they only answer to, and represent the community and promise to do so once elected.
GROUP D LABOR
Labor says its priorities are to provide Pittwater residents with outstanding services and protect them from inappropriate overdevelopment.
The group also claims they will ensure public transport, like the B-Line, remains in public hands and they fully support retention of maternity, emergency, and theatre facilities at Mona Vale Hospital and will fight for provision of affordable housing.
Labor's long-standing policy on council mergers is to allow residents to express their wish at the ballot box, and supports a plebiscite in local government areas where forced amalgamations have occurred. Bill Shorten pledged $20 million to the NSW Electoral Commission in 2016 to fund council demerger plebiscites.
GROUP E YOUR NORTHERN BEACHES INDEPENDENT TEAM
Former deputy mayor of Pittwater Ian White, Katinga Schroeder and Bill Gye OAM insist they're committed to foster and support local issues and communities to give you a voice on the new Northern Beaches Council.
They say, "We will ensure the new council is accountable, transparent and inclusive of all communities. We are locals who want to consult with you and take your concerns to the council.
"Your issues are our issues. As non-aligned independents, we are not bound by the policies of major parties. For each of us, every vote is a conscience vote."
GROUP G INDEPENDENTS
These Independents are also members of Northern Beaches Community Alliance. They believe a critical issue is how the three elected councillors deal with the size and complexity of the new council.
Robert Hopton says, "It's time for renewal - we need to ignite the passions of our younger generation to preserve and enhance our unique natural environment."
Tony Blackie claims Northern Beaches Council "needs to be represented by people who have the community at heart and the business acumen to be able to make decisions that improve our environment."
Christine Hopton adds, "My long-term involvement in the community demonstrates there is a real need for continual and open dialogue - for too long we have not been listened to about our needs.
"We need serious candidates - not individuals using the new Northern Beaches Council as a political step ladder."
GROUP H INDEPENDENTS
Friends of Pittwater has grown from Friends of Mona Vale and, among its objectives, is to focus on residents' concerns for Pittwater as a whole following amalgamation and NSW government plans to grossly overdevelop the area.
If elected, Peter Bosley, Jenny Stone and John Lettoof, will seek to:
- Limit building heights throughout the ward to no greater than four storeys.
- Support a community-based alternative to the Mona Vale Place Plan.
- Reject any development in Pittwater's diminishing wildlife corridors, including Bayview Golf Course.
- Support the retention of emergency, maternity, theatre and other critical public facilities at Mona Vale Hospital.
- Oppose further development of Mona Vale Village Park, Kitchener Park and other Crown lands in Pittwater.
- Keep the B-Line bus service in public hands.