Midland/Guildford candidate survey

Local government elections are on!

You will have received ballot papers in the post this week. Voting closes on the 17th October and we encourage everyone to take part in our local democracy.

To assist, we’ve just sent a short candidate survey to the Midland/ Guildford ward candidates with email addresses (please email us Todd Burgess), details below. We’ll post the responses as they come in and we hope this will inform your vote.

If you have other questions or you’re in another ward/Council, we encourage you to ask your candidates direct. You can find all the profiles and contact details on the AEC website.

Dear Midland/Guildford candidate,

Congratulations on standing for council!

We represent a local community group called Transition Town Guildford. Transition Towns are a global movement aimed at building community resilience through relocalisation. Formed in mid 2010, our group is focused on Guildford and surrounds. Our vision is “A strongly connected community and a healthy environment”. Please see our website for more information and details of past events. 

We encourage our members to participate in the local community; this of course includes voting in local elections and getting to know local representatives. To help inform our members and the broader community we are conducting a short candidate survey (questions below). We invite you to respond as soon as possible and your answers will be posted on our website in the order received. 

Good luck and we look forward to working with you in the future. 

Regards

The Steering group of TTG.

Survey

1) There have been several recent requests made to increase the transparency of council meetings e.g a later starting time, audio and/or video recording, having deputations with agenda items, non-block voting on items with presentations/deputations present etc. What are your views on accessibility to council meetings and processes?

2) A recent study by Murdoch University into tree cover and urban heat showed that Swan compared favourably with other councils with respect to percent tree cover. However, this average figure may reflect the semi-rural nature of parts of the shire with a greater abundance of trees. Given the strong association between tree canopy cover and the health impact of the heat island effect, as well as the amenity value of trees for Swan, what is your long term vision for tree cover in the urban parts of our community?

3) The City of Swan currently spends ~$9.38 per resident on cycling infrastructure. However leading councils in WA are spending up to $70 per resident. Will you support and champion increasing funding for cycling infrastructure?

4) Looking at transport more broadly, for exisiting councillors, how have you supported the creation of people friendly transport (walking, cycling, public transport)? For prospective councillors, how will you support and encourage walking, cycling and public transport use?

5) Finally, what’s your vision for the future of our community?

RESPONSES

Joe Marino

1.        I have always supported the community to have accessibility to Council meetings and processes.  Councillors need to be accountable  for transparency of meetings.  While I was on council for 14 years I always was open and accountable for my decision making, allowing the community time and accessibility to me before I considered the decision on Council.  Improvements are required in the current environment; if elected I will be happy to consult the community on new improved measures to be put in place.

2.       I am very supportive of tree planting throughout the urban parts of the City.  I have participated in annual tree planting with community groups together with promoting the free tree program with in the City.  Whilst on Council I was always supportive of this program.   The program allows for the community to access free trees for planting from the City.  My long term vision is to increase the allowance of trees provided by the city to the community each year and to implement a bench mark of annual tree planting by the City.

3.       When I was first elected on Council there was no funding on the budget for cycle paths for the City.  Council introduced a cycle plan to be introduced within the City so funds were allocated to the implementation of the plan.  Over the period of the plan funds were increased to provide for the paths.  I was instrumental in the allocation of funds to be increase over time.  I have had no vision on the current plan plus the allocation of funds as I am no longer a Councillor.  If elected I will revisit the plan for future direction and seek increased funding over the coming years.

4.       As a previous Councillor, I put a benchmark in place for funding requirements for all paths, which was increased substantially by me over a period of time.  Also introduced the free bus shuttle service in Midland and increased funding for bus shelters.  I also continuously lobbied State Government for improved services to public transport.   As for the future I will review the current budget allocations and put in place appropriated funding allocations to promote and improve people friendly transport.

5.       My ultimate vision is the have a sustainable and affordable City for our community to live in.  Consult the community as to the introduction of sustainable opportunities within the City and to reward the community with incentives when implemented.  With this in mind I would continue to focus also on core activities such services for youth and seniors, community safety, graffiti management, heritage, improvements to roads, paths, streetscape, drainage, the environment, facilities for the community and a balanced approach to development.  I would like to make the City the ultimate choice to live in.

Kent Acott

1. I believe council meetings should start later, perhaps 6.30pm. And after attending many meetings as a member of the public, I know there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding of procedures. This needs to be addressed. The recording of meetings should also be re-assessed. More engagement with the public is vital for a progressive and forward-thinking council.

2. I certainly appreciate the value of a significant tree cover and the importance it has on overall community health and well-being. It becomes even more critical as Perth’s urban sprawl shows no real signs of abating. It is absolutely critical that we protect the tree cover we have. I would be very interested in speaking to your group about other tactics and options.

3-4. For many years, I have been writing and speaking about the need to reprioritise our transport focus. We need to put people first, cycling second, public transport third and the car last. This needs to be done at all levels of government. (It is encouraging to hear our new Prime Minister has distanced himself from the 1950s thinking of “build more roads”). For the City of Swan this means creating streets for people (with benches, tables and things to do and engage), providing more bike infrastructure (including dedicated bike paths, more bike racks and repair stations) and lobbying for improved public transport services. These should be the prime focus of all developments and road work, not just after-thoughts.

5. I want to help Midland-Guildford become a vibrant and exciting community, where families thrive and businesses flourish. I want to give Midland-Guildford a soul by creating interesting and engaging spaces, places and events. I want to introduce a contemporary way of thinking that puts people first. I want to embrace the area’s unique qualities and heritage fabric. And, most of all, I want its residents to feel safe and comfortable. This is my vision for Midland-Guildford. Check out my facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/KentAcott.MidlandGuildford

Ian Johnson

Transparency of City of Swan meetings is important to align the City more closely to voters and residents. I have supported later City of Swan council meeting times for some time, and if elected this is the first thing that I will raise with other councillors. I work in Perth and live in Guildford, and the current City of Swan meeting start time of 5:30pm means I need to leave the office at 4:45pm. On a typical work day I do not leave the office until 6pm, so in my view City of Swan meetings need to start at 7pm to accommodate councillors who work in Perth, AND just as importantly, City of Swan residents who work in Perth who wish to attend council meetings. We need more people to attend.

I also favour web casting of meetings so that residents can see what is going on. The meeting procedures used will need to be modified so that people watching, or attending in person can follow the events.

On the subject of trees, I have been defending trees wherever I have lived for decades. Recently I took part in community action to defend street trees in Guildford.  If elected I will continue to defend our trees and promote the planting of new trees.

Trees grow, mature, and eventually die, and we need a long term plan for the trees of Guildford. We need to look at what type of trees, and succession planning for trees. With the changes to the management of the flood plain around Guildford, it appears that there is scope for more trees to be planted. It would be great to see the original pre-settlement woodland  return to the flood plain. As a volunteer firefighter I am well aware of the risks involved with woodland close to housing at the rural urban interface, and so there would need to be adequate firebreaks and other precautions.

As an occasional cyclist, I cycle from Guildford to work in Perth about 20 times a year and was pleased with last year’s upgrade of the Perth/Midland cycle path  to include the underpass at Lord Street, Success Hill. This has made the journey far safer and slightly faster. The new cycle path extension under construction comes past my home in Swan Street, Guildford  so I am looking forward to using it. I will support new cycling infrastructure and some simple changes in Guildford would include cycle racks in the area of the coffee strip. In the longer term, I will support the proposed cycle bridge to carry the Perth Midland cycle path over the River Swan. If elected I will be seeking ideas for improving  the cycling experience in the City of Swan.

As a prospective councillor I have already worked to ensure people friendly transport. In May 2014 the City of Swan took away some of our Guildford jarrah and iron bus shelters without proper consultation.  I noticed that 3 bus shelters had gone missing, including one I used when I commuted by bus to Belmont, and so I campaigned to get them back. When the City put back 5 bus shelters I thought my campaign was exceeding expectations until I found that they had taken away 8 bus shelters. Most of the time I go to work by train from East Guildford station. The City of Swan needs to be advising the State Government that greater capacity is needed on the Midland Line.

As part of my election campaign I did about 80% of my own leafleting and so must have walked over a hundred kilometres. Some parts of Midland Guildford are not pedestrian friendly as there are no footpaths. In addition I noticed in places such as Stratton and South Guildford there are bus stops, but no bus shelters. The CoS should provide more bus shelters and should encourage the PTA to provide more frequent bus services.

We have a lot of train lines and railway reserves but the passenger network is goes only as far as Midland. I think the City should be talking to the State government about extending our passenger network in the City of Swan.

My vision for our community is to continue the 2 storey building limit in Guildford and to support the heritage character of Guildford. I believe all homes in our community should have gardens. In Midland Guildford as a whole, we need to retain open space for children to play on – for this reason I oppose the Midland Oval development as the 12 storey block of flats the City of Swan wants to build will remove the green space that the children who might live there would need. Instead of turning the Midland Oval into concrete jungle let’s do something imaginative – what about a children’s adventure playground, or a botanical garden, or community garden or simply return it to the use envisaged when the Oval land was donated to the community over a hundred years ago.

Finally my vision is for a community where the City of Swan recognises that it is there to serve the community and that means finding out what the community wants and implementing that. If elected I will work to improve the communication on policy matters between residents and the City. In particular I will listen to groups such as Transition Town Guildford and other groups in the area to deliver what people want and expect.

ianpjohnson@yahoo.com, 0411 097 393

https://www.facebook.com/ianjohnson.midlandguildford

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