New Year’s resolutions
NSW Premier Mike Baird, Manly MP
In a surprising turn of events, Manly MP Mike Baird was catapulted to the head of the NSW Parliament, taking the premier's office in April. While Premier Baird says the opportunity to become head of the state government has been "amazing", the father of three admits the impact it's had on family time has been difficult.
With the state election coming up in March, 2015 promises to also be a year of great consequence for the Manly MP. Ahead of the election, Premier Baird was spruiking his infrastructure plans, which include a new Western Sydney harbour tunnel, extensions to the WestConnex motorway, plus upgrades to Sydney's existing rail lines. He's also proposing to lease almost half the state's electricity distribution network to pay for the infrastructure bill.
As for his 2015 resolution, Premier Baird says he plans, "to win the NSW state election in March and implement Rebuild NSW, which includes spending $20 billion across the state."
However, regardless of the outcome, the avid surfer plans on completing a marathon in 2015.
Manly Mayor Jean Hay
Manly Mayor Jean Hay has long been a familiar face at council. Elected in 1987, she first took the position of mayor in 1999.
Mayor Hay has been a major proponent of the Manly 2015 Masterplan, which was announced more than four years ago. The 'future vision' of Manly has been a source of controversy within council and, despite the well-publicised division between councillors, there is promise of a compromise to get the plan moving forward again in 2015.
Looking back at 2014, Mayor Hay says she was disappointed with Manly’s lack of sporting success - notably the failure of the Sea Eagles and Marlins to capture their respective premierships. But the previous 12 months were not completely lost - Manly Council won the Keep NSW Beautiful Award as the most sustainable city in NSW.
As we head into the new year, Mayor Hay says she is looking forward to the commencement of the Manly 2015 masterplan, as well as the opening of the state of the art Manly Andrew (Boy) Charlton Swim Centre.
As for resolutions ? "It's the same resolution I've been making for the last two decades: lose weight and exercise more!" she laughs.
Davidson MP Jonathan O’Dea
No stranger to politics, Davidson MP Jonathan O'Dea started his political career as a North Sydney councillor in 1991 at age 25. He was later elected to the seat of Davidson at the 2007 election, after defeating Andrew Humpherson.
The last 12 months have been particularly exciting for the Davidson electorate, with the announcement of a new Northern Beaches hospital in Frenchs Forest and a $633 million transport package to reduce congestion in the area. Mr O'Dea cites these infrastructure developments as being a highlight for him in 2014, as well as being able to "make a difference in my role as chair of the NSW Public Accounts Committee."
On the flip side, he mentions the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigations into improper actions by politicians as being a low light, as well as the failure to successfully prosecute disgraced politician Eddie Obeid.
In addition to hoping he will continue to serve in the NSW government as part of Premier Mike Baird's Liberal team, Mr O'Dea says he is looking to "keeping fit” in 2015 and “energetically representing my local constituents.”
Warringah mayor Michael Regan
Broadly speaking, Warringah Mayor Michael Regan says the fact that countries were still at war in 2014 - 100 years after the commencement of what was supposed to be 'the war to end all wars' - was a sad reflection on the world's state of affairs.
Despite that, he says on a local level, he is proud of the way the people of Warringah have faced adversity - coming together to deal with challenges in a positive way.
"That trait is not uniquely Northern Beaches, but Australian - we just do it better on the Northern Beaches," the mayor says.
As for 2015, Mayor Regan is looking forward to "reforming and improving local government on the Northern Beaches.
"I'm also looking forward to the opening of the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail and seeing the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) community centre at Dee Why start taking shape. And lastly, I'm looking forward to playing cricket at Windsor Castle and Lords."
The mayor says his resolutions for 2015 include, "To use the opportunity of the NSW government's reform agenda to redefine local government so we can all better serve our community in a cohesive and cost effective way. There is a one-off opportunity in 2015 to create a new and better Northern Beaches Council"
Pittwater MP and Environment Minister Rob Stokes
2014 was an exciting year in state politics, and consequently saw Pittwater MP Rob Stokes propelled into the position of Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, and Assistant Minister for Planning, and appointed as a member of Cabinet. Two weeks later, Mr Stokes was appointed as Minister for the Central Coast.
Despite the acceleration in his political career, Mr Stokes says the highlight of 2014 was seeing his youngest daughter start school in 2014.
"I love seeing her enthusiastic little face as she tells me what she's been learning,” he tells Peninsula Living.
Looking ahead, Mr Stokes says he hopes to continue to contribute to the Northern Beaches community. "I’m passionate about Pittwater and the peninsula as a whole, and preserving our way of life. I can't wait to keep doing that in 2015,” he says.
On a more personal note, Mr Stokes says his resolution this year is to spend more time with his wife, Sophie, and their three children.
He adds, "Sophie is a real inspiration and I’m thankful for her every day."
Pittwater mayor Jacqui Townsend
Despite facing a number of challenges in the last 12 months, Pittwater residents have responded with outstanding community spirit, says Mayor Jacqui Townsend.
"The Pittwater community has risen to fight a number of fronts this year - of course the 10/50 code, amalgamation, and stopping the overdevelopment of Warriewood, and good outcomes for Ingleside to name a few.
"For me, no matter what side of the fight you are on, having a community committed, connected and respectful of their locality is the best aspect for any local government area."
Looking forward to 2015, the mayor says she is excited about the Mona Vale place plan. "I can't wait to get some quick wins there, putting people at the fore of the planning process,” she tells Peninsula Living. "As far as resolutions go, I am committed to supporting active transport in Pittwater. We have a ground swell of residents wanting to walk or cycle to their destination rather than use their motor vehicles. This council has almost tripled the spend on our footpath network and I am looking forward to progressing the active transport network next year."