THE SIX QUESTIONS ASKED OF ALL THE CANDIDATES
- Under what circumstances would you support the council seeking a rate rise above the cap?
- Do you want mountain bike racing continuing at Hunchback Hill?
- Is the 20km/h shared zone in High St something you support?
- Do you think councillors, apart from the mayor, should be free to speak to the media?
- Do you think the tourist information centre should be relocated and if so, where should it be located?
- What does the council need to spend more money on and where should it be saving?
JOHN WATSON (number 17)
Q1. If Wodonga’s growth demands increased infrastructure investment, spending should be reassessed at each budget with consideration of the current council’s plan.
Q2. Yes, according to Wodonga Hills Activation Strategy approved for further revision in 2017. After extensive consultation to ensure the best outcome for community.
Q3. Yes I support the proposed trial shared zone. External funding will assist completion of High Street. Redevelopment once Havelock Street, completed.
Q4. The current policy works well. Mayor of the day speaks on behalf of all councillors. If a councillor is better informed on a particular issue then they should be the spokesperson.
Q5. Both internet and physical location-based tourism is changing with the increasing availability of technology such as smart phones. A successful tourist information requires a balance that considers both.
Q6. Allocation of council spending should always be based on council’s four-year plans and strategic resource plans. Baranduda Fields the next key investment, with government grants. Savings should be made in budgets by prioritising spending based on the resulting benefits.
RAY SNELL (number 18)
Q1. Where projects are needed for the betterment of the community and grants and other funding options are exhausted, yes I would.
Q2. The younger generation needs good areas for activities, otherwise the streets are their next option. Yes I do.
Q3. I have seen this work extremely well in other cities and feel it could be good for High St if done properly.
Q4. If they have all the relevant facts and expertise on the actual subject in question then yes
Q5. Yes I would like to see it relocated, but it needs to have good exposure and parking for cars and caravans, where, I'm not sure at this stage.
Q6. Council needs to invest more in communicating with its residents and save wherever possible.
KAT BENNETT (number 19)
Q1. I would only support a variation if there was community consensus regarding a crucial project. Therefore it’s essential that there are appropriate processes in place to capture considered community input.
Q2. Riding can continue provided there are strict controls to ensure that bushfire risk is managed and the environment is protected.
Q3. I support increasing road safety for pedestrians and retail activity in High Street. However I am not convinced that the shared zone will achieve these aims.
Q4. Given that many people rely on the media as their primary information source, direct access to councillors could be beneficial, provided that councillors are appropriately informed about issues before they speak to the media.
Q5. It is important that the tourist information centre remains in the CBA but it needs more prominent signage.
Q6. We need to maintain services and facilities to keep Wodonga growing, but it’s essential that council’s budget is regularly reviewed for potential efficiencies.
CHRIS ROGERS (number 20)
Q1. Rates should not exceed CPI. Through management of the city’s finances, the aim should be to gradually relieve the rate burden on the community.
Q2. Not against mountain bike racing. To date consultation has not been adequate. A full consultation process to be implemented to identify the most appropriate solution.
Q3. Should only be considered when Manns and Woolworths have been developed. Stability in the CBD is vital with a view to nurturing and protecting affected businesses, including consultation.
Q4. Understanding councillors’ perspectives and where they individually stand on particular issues is important. Otherwise only final group decisions will be seen by ratepayers.
Q5. Currently the tourist information centre is not accessible and needs to be centrally located. The location should be reviewed through a transparent consultation process prior to commencing works.
Q6. Improvement of rundown sports facilities to be given high priority. Developments need to consider the timing of the Baranduda Fields development. Performance and efficiency reviews to be undertaken to understand cost savings.
DAWN GEORGE (number 21)
Q1. I support a rate cap with CPI increase without exception.
Q2. This important issue requires a full investigation to find a suitable resolution.
Q3. I will vote no to the proposed shared zone trial in 2017. Community consultation and business owner survey indicate this trial zone is not supported. Right here and now, business needs viability and stability, not risk. Valued customers need adequate safe parking during current development and further road infrastructure in 2018-19.
Q4. Yes, I definitely agree with freedom of speech to the media. I am also aware of the need for unity with respect to any majority vote.
Q5. Yes, I am passionate about capturing the tourist dollar. Locate in Junction Place, a prominent central tourist and museum information centre showcasing the history and stories of our city.
Q6. The current debt requires reduction. I advocate a full internal audit of current expenditure to identify areas of waste or extra need.
TIM QUILTY (number 22)
Q1. I will never support a rise to the cap, let alone over. I will only support a rate rise lower than CPI. Rates need to go down. Which means cutting waste instead.
Q2. I’m not opposed in principle, but the consultation needs to be redone. And I’m in no hurry to spend the money.
Q3. The idea isn’t terrible. But I’d only support it when we have better car-parking and car access to the shops. No need to hurry.
Q4. Yes. It is part of transparency. We need to end the secrecy, livestream meetings online, publish everything. End commercial-in-confidence deals.
Q5. I’m not fussed – but it needs to have better parking and easier access, like the rest of the city.
Q6. Wodonga Council spends too much and wastes too much. We should stick to basics. We should bring back hard rubbish collection, maintain the roads and parks, and make cuts pretty much everywhere else. We need to slow down capital spending and cut the debt.
ANNA SPEEDIE (number 23)
Q1. Should council not be able to deliver essential services to the community or for an intergenerational project.
Q2. I support mountain bike riders, however to ensure safety and minimise environmental impact it must be through a planned approach.
Q3. I support an improved shopper friendly environment for High Street.
Q4. All councillors can and do speak to the media. As per the Local Government legislation section 73 “the functions of the Mayor include” (b) acting as the principal spokesperson for the council.
Q5. Yes absolutely. Post the opening of Manns, the new Woolworths site and finalised development plans for Central Place, this should then be a decision for the new council.
Q6. Council should continue to review its services and continue to deliver efficiencies and cost savings to the community. Money must continue to be spent on delivering infrastructure and business attraction for the growth of the city. Council must continue to lobby hard for state and federal funding support.
RICHARD SHANNON (number 24)
Q1. I would not support a rate increase – rates are too high.
Q2. Mountain bike racing is a growing sport and needs to continue with community involvement to secure the best outcome for all.
Q3. With the local traders affected and community consultation I do.
Q4. I wasn’t aware councillors did not speak to the media already.
Q5. Why does it need to be relocated?
Q6. Until I overlook the books and get familiar with the current situation I can’t comment.