Recently, I have been contacted by various representative groups and concerned residents and a similar thread is emerging so I thought I would address it in this blog. That is, the intersection of investment and the protection of our natural values.
I maintain a position that it is in the long-term best interests of all of us to protect and preserve the places that make Kingborough magical. Indeed, I believe that we are but custodians of the land, water and atmosphere and therefore shouldn't simply exploit these things for a short-term profit. We should take a much longer-term view to ensure that our grandchildren and their grandchildren can enjoy Kingborough as we did.
Here is my response to one such email, asking about my position on tracks and trails. You will note that I raise the issue of Blackmans Bay Beach and how it is now recommended that people do not swim there this summer because of polluted stormwater.
I will also point out that in my writing, I am not endorsing one particular policy prescription or another, nor am I pledging to support or negate a specific proposal. Any issue before the council will have to be assessed on its merits. I will look at each motion with an open mind and without prejudice. However, I hope you can see where my values lie with respect to our natural environment and our long-term plan for our lovely municipality.
At the outset, let me say that I am in 100% support for more tracks and trails and the ongoing maintenance and rehabilitation of those that currently exist. I agree that Clarence is doing a great job and I think Kingborough should be leading the way when it comes to developing new trails and maintaining/improving old ones. I hope that once elected; it will be the people in Clarence saying "look at the great job they're doing in Kingborough" and not the other way around.
If elected, it will be a priority for me to ensure that the Kingborough Council's in principle support for tracks and trails is translated into sufficient funding and resource allocation to ensure that plans can be turned into timely action.
I used to work for the Heart Foundation, and I have recently hosted a Future of Transport Forum with my fellow Greens candidates where we had speakers from the Heart Foundation and Planning Institute of Australia.
I am a big proponent of Healthy By Designand I will be taking a health-in-all-policies approach to my role on the council. I am aware of Jane Jacobs liveable cities principles and I will strive to ensure that, in Kingborough at least, healthy choices are made easy choices. This means having good tracks and trails, a plan and resources to get more of them and make adequate provision for the maintenance of those we already have.
I have been in touch with groups like Kettering Walkers, Kingborough Dog Walkers Assoc and members of the Kingborough Bicycle Advisory Committee. I will continue to speak to more groups like this and work to restore the tracks and trails committee on the council.
More importantly, I will turn those words and consultations into action by advocating for the delivery of appropriate resources and funding so that Kingborough can boast amazing tracks and trails and have a plan for the creation of additional opportunities for residents and tourists to engage in active transport and incidental activity.
I live at Allens Rivulet and regularly walk Kaoota Tramtrack. I know exactly what you mean that it would have been much cheaper and more efficient to have secured that trail when the land was public rather than taking a piecemeal approach. To me, this speaks volumes about how those various politicians wax lyrical about "cutting rates", "balancing budgets" and "getting us back to basics of roads, rates and rubbish" end up costing our community a whole lot more in the long run because of their lack of long-term planning and mindless pursuit of austerity. In the long-run, Kingborough is made special by its beautiful natural values, its bushland, coastlines and marine environments and its interconnected communities. If we don't invest in their protection then we do a disservice to our residents. Just look at what has happened with Blackmans Bay beach. Now there is so much effluent in the water, people are advised not to swim there this summer and possibly next summer as well. The council has not allocated appropriate resources to remediating and rehabilitating our waterways and now we can't swim at the beach. Are we supposed to believe that that counts as "good fiscal management"?!
Kingborough deserves long-term planning to ensure we get the services we deserve, including world-class opportunities to walk in beautiful surroundings. It is good for our physical and spiritual health to be outdoors among nature and good for population health to be walking to schools, shops, public transport and to visit our neighbours. This is a good long-term investment and we all reap the dividend through better health, a happier life and fewer medical bills.
I am fearful that there are many candidates in this election who are pledging to cut expenditure and this means cutting tracks and trails further. I remind them that what makes Kingborough a magical place to live and for children to grow up is not that the expenditure number on the spreadsheet is smaller this year than last year. To me, the pursuit of "Spreadsheet politics" is mostly short-termist and at worst, wreckless and irresponsible.
That is why I am putting integrity, compassion and action first. My track record of good financial management as a director of various boards attests to my ability to maintain sound finances whilst also pursuing longer-term strategic objectives. I like to remind voters that they live in a community with real-life needs and desires, not between the columns of a Microsoft excel budget on a computer screen. There is no point in having a tight-budget with slashed rates if you receive no proper services from local government, your environment is suffering, and you can't enjoy the great outdoors because we have made no effort to maintain, improve and develop our tracks and trails.
I have the goal of maintaining a liveable planet, replete with healthy ecosystems and biodiversity. My vision is a beautiful community with a healthy population where it is easy to get from place to place because healthy choices are easy choices.
I hope you can tell as many Kingborough residents as possible that a vote for me is a vote in favour of better opportunities in Kingborough, for the many, not the few.