MBI Talks To MBRC Mayoral Candidates About Bribie Island

In our Feb 3 posting, MyBribieIsland outlined what it believes are the major issues for Bribie Island in the upcoming State and Council elections.  Last week MyBribieIsland issued 10 questions to each of the candidates for the position of Mayor of MBRC that covered some of those major issues and these responses are published in this week’s posting.  These responses are posted in the order that they were received.  Where candidates did not respond, the questions are posted without answers.

Some themes are quite evident in the responses from both the Mayoral and Division 1 candidates.  Candidates consistently talk about Council’s loss of ratepayer trust.  Perceived lack of fiscal responsibility is also a common theme.  The need for less secrecy and more transparency comes up frequently.  Poor management of the environment is also a common theme with resulting losses in property values and decline in quality of life.

MBI encourages visitors to this web page to read all the responses and to make their own assessments.

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TEN QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATES

Greg Chapman – Candidate for Mayor of MBRC

 Greg Chapman is 51 years old and is a local from Narangba.  He grew up in this area, went to school here and did his apprenticeship in the family business.  Currently he runs a cabinetmaking business so he understands the complexities of operating in a tough financial environment.   His campaign is self-funded.

Greg comments that it’s tough to complete when big business and developers are backing some of his opponents but no matter the outcome on April 28 he will sleep soundly in the knowledge that he had a go for all the right reasons.  He says he has retained his integrity and stayed away from the mud-slinging and has been heartened by the support he has received to date.

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MBI:  What attracts you to political life?

A: I was concerned that when amalgamation occurred things might go downhill for this region. I contemplated running for mayor at that time in 2008 but decided to wait and see how the current regime performed. I haven’t been impressed and I think I can make a difference.

MBI:  What do you believe are your special strengths that you bring to the task of being Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council

A: Firstly I want to be mayor for all the right reasons. Having seen the antics of a couple of mayoral candidates during this campaign I can see that their motivation is about self-interest while mine is a genuine desire to serve the electorate and help make a difference. Many of the current councillors have served more than 20 years and one has notched up about 36 years. It’s easy to see why they would become complacent. I’d like to see a shake-up with quite a few new members who would bring enthusiasm and change to the region

MBI:  What do you regard as the major challenges on Bribie Island that need to be addressed

A: I think a duplicate bridge is needed. At present any blockage to the Bribie Island Bridge essentially means the lifeline between the island and the mainland is cut off. This would be a real concern for emergency services. I don’t think money has been spent wisely on the island. Some of the foreshore areas have received the bulk of funding while roads like Boronia Drive are a real mess. Interestingly, I’ve received e-mails from residents of the island about this very issue. I also think the island is understated in promotional material. It is a real haven away from the bustling city of Brisbane yet council seems more interested in promoting Redcliffe.

MBI:  Let’s get your thoughts on some of the major MBRC initiatives on Bribie in the last four years……………

  • Woorim Redevelopment Plan:  MBRC spent about $15m on this.  Work included: conversion of public open space into new car parks for visitors and hotel patrons; conversion of some Class 5 park areas (requiring occasional maintenance) to Class 1 areas (requiring weekly maintenance); removal of many mature habitat trees; new traffic roundabout at Arcadia; and a new skate park adjacent to residential areas.  What was achieved?  Was this money well spent?  Would you do anything differently?

A:   If the residents say it didn’t work I’d be interested in knowing how the public consultation process worked. Obviously very little was achieved and therefore the money could have been better spent on upgrading other facilities on the island.

  • Woorim Redevelopment Plan again……   Residents say this $15m did not result in any facilities they did not enjoy prior to the project.  It has added over $1m per year to MBRC’s maintenance costs.  One cynic commented that all it has brought is more traffic, more hoons, more garbage and more drunks urinating in public places.  Businesses do not appear to have benefited either as two of the major businesses in Woorim (along with a number of smaller businesses) have closed since this project was completed. Who was supposed to benefit from this project?  And if residents and businesses (who paid for it all) have received no benefit, then who did benefit?

A:   Nobody, it seems. However, it always looks good when council can put on the record that it has spent millions of dollars on “beautification  work”.

  • Woorim Beach Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (WBSEMP):  MBRC has spent ~$5m implementing the recommendations of this Plan, but a survey in 2010 claims that virtually none of the consultant’s recommendations have been implemented as outlined in the Plan.  This has resulted in some major environmental downgrading that will cost millions more to stabilize and repair.  Why do you think the WBSEMP recommendations have not been followed?  How will you go about the repairs and stabilization that are now required?

A:  Why would council hire a consultant to formulate a plan and then decide not to implement its recommendations? I can understand the plan being a guide but it seems to be a waste of money and consultants do not come cheaply. I have to say at this point that if elected I’d be much less cavalier in hiring consultants over a whole range of projects. I’m aware from the local press coverage over the past couple of years that there have been some strong objections to the erosion management plan. I’d be willing to get the community together again and start from scratch.  Throwing good money after bad is no solution. If council has made a mistake let’s fix it.

  • Vegetation:  The sign at the end of the Bribie Bridge says… Bribie Island Sanctuary – Fauna and Flora Protected.  In the last four years MBRC has removed literally thousands of trees and shrubs all across Bribie –  including many massive habitat trees.  Virtually nothing has been replanted.  So what does this sign mean?  What is being protected?  Would you change anything in this area of MBRC’s activity?

A:   That’s a valid question. How is it being protected? If the sign had credibility it would have listed the means by which the fauna and flora is being protected. This is lip service and a “feel good” message without meaning. I know for a fact there are some very enthusiastic but concerned people in the council’s environmental section who would really like to bring some meaning to that sign. What’s wrong with public consultation and officers meeting with concerned residents to form a management plan which has meaning.

MBI:  When it comes to executing major projects, MBRC seems to have a policy of refusing to consult with and/or work with volunteer community groups or other affected groups.  Some examples include the changes to the Benabrow car park, the development of the Pumicestone Shoreline Erosion Management Plan, the execution of the recommendations of the WBSEMP, the upgrades to the Woorim helipad, the Envirofund project, Bushcare projects on the at-risk Woorim beaches, the upcoming capacity review of the Bribie sewage treatment facility, and the Rickman Parade project to name a few.  Why is this?  What would you do to change this?

A:   I’ve stated in reply to various e-mails from residents that the Moreton Bay region has hundreds of people out there who would love to play a volunteer role, especially when it comes to the environment. My plan would be to get interested people from all over the region together and elect volunteer team leaders from different areas of Moreton Bay. Different council offices could be contact points for each of these regions and they would  receive input from team leaders on environmental concerns or suggest areas where the environment/sustainability can be improved. This would give each and every area a sense of belonging and the knowledge that they are part of the greater council environmental team.

MBI:  The Surveyor General indicates that property valuations have risen slightly on the mainland in the past year, and have kept constant on Bribie.  That’s the good news.  At Woorim valuations have dropped by 10%.  Why has this decline at Woorim occurred?  What can be done to reverse this trend?

A:   It seems that Woorim is no longer as attractive as in once was.  Perhaps buyers preferred the more natural state it was in before being “upgraded”. To be fair, real estate prices are patchy everywhere and it seems the further north to the Sunshine Coast we go the more values decline. The proposed Caloundra South development is also going to cater for some 50,000 residents and the Bruce Highway is not going to be a pretty sight.

MBI:  Business conditions on Bribie are very difficult. Over 30 businesses have closed during the term of the current Council.  Why have so many businesses closed when the number of visitors to Bribie has never been greater?  What would you do to change this?

A: The current council pays lip service to business but it’s obviously not benefitting anyone on Bribie Island. I think a Bribie Island expo day could work. A business expo displaying all the commerce and trading on offer at Bribie so already established business may be able to supply each other. It could be combined with a Bribie awareness day. Currently there is little advertising information available to attract tourists to the island yet visitor numbers have never been greater. It seems that it is a desirable destination which would greatly benefit from more promotion by council.

MBI:  A number of candidates in this current election are campaigning as “independent” even though they have strong links to various political parties.  What party affiliations do you have?

A: A couple of them certainly do have strong links to a political party. I’m not a member of any political party although I was a member of the Queensland National Party many years ago for a very short time.

MBI:  The expenditure on road transport dominates all expenditure on transportation options in this region.  For instance, MBRC could find ~$1m at short notice for a roundabout to bring McDonalds to Bribie but can find little funds for other transport options.  Other options such as public transport and/or bicycle transport attract very little support.  Because of its geography, Bribie Island should be a bicycle riding mecca but according to the survey by the Bicycle Network, expenditure on bicycle options in SE Queensland is extremely low.  Brisbane’s expenditure last year was $20 per person compared with $47 in Perth and $62 in Sydney.  Expenditure in MBRC was $8.  Will you be doing anything to change this focus?

A: Those figures surprise me. I agree Bribie could be a cycling mecca. The island is all about lifestyle and yes, I would be very keen to upgrade the focus on cycling as well as other outdoor activities.

MBI:  Other candidates have commented that when they have announced their candidacy, unusual things start to happen to them and/or their families –  hate-mail starts to arrive, strange cars appear in their street and even in their driveway, their property is vandalised, their cars are selectively ticketed, and Council inspectors show up for the first time in years and years.  Has any of this happened to you?

A: I’ve had my signs vandalised and I’ve been abused by people while I have been door-knocking or erecting signs but conversely I’ve also had a lot of support.   I’m saddened to say that I’ve had very personal and abusive phone calls from who I would deem to be the leading two candidates for the mayoralty.   I also have reason to believe that a prominent real estate identity is about to launch an attack in print on my parents which I think is below the belt.   I can take it but I don’t see why my family should.   This only strengthens my belief that some candidates are motivated only by self-interest rather than a desire to serve the electorate.

MBI:  Thank you for your co-operation 

For more information on Greg Chapman contact him on his mobile at 0421 387 721 or by e-mail at gregjc@hotmail.com  or visit his website at www.gregchapmanformayor.com.au

 

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TEN QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATE

John Hall – Candidate for Mayor of MBRC

John Hall graduated as a civil engineer and is a qualified local government engineer in both Victoria and Queensland.  He has worked in Victoria, PNG and Queensland.  He worked for 30 years with Caboolture Shire Council rising to Director Operations reporting to the CEO.  John lives in Morayfield and is involved in a wide range of community activities.  He has three adult children and six grandchildren.

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MBI:  What attracts you to want to enter political life?

A:  I hope I am not entering an active Political life. It is my desire to improve the poor performance of the Moreton Bay Regional Council without politics affecting the work of same. It is an incorrect correlation to list participation in the running of our Local Government as a Political activity, and it will not become one should I become mayor

MBI:  What do you believe are your special strengths that you bring to the task of being Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council

A:

  • Tertiary Qualifications in Civil Engineering and Urban and Regional Planning
  • Qualified local Government Engineer
  • 35 years working in Local Government
  • Attended well over 1000 Council Meetings
  • Prepared around 30 Local Govt. Annual Budgets
  • 10 years controlling Management of Local Authority Water and Sewerage Utilities
  • A determination to recover, honest, transparent, caring, informative, commonsense management of a currently badly controlled Council
  • Get back to the premise that the “Council” is there to serve the Ratepayers.
  • In recognition of the difficult financial times ensure conservative budgeting

MBI:  What do you regard as the major challenges on Bribie Island that need to be addressed?

A:

  • The manner of sewerage effluent disposal with the projected discharge increases to occur
  • Attention to treatment of the foreshore erosion at Banksia
  • Continued protection of the Dunal System along Woorim frontage
  • Current difficult economic conditions affecting Small Business
  • Although a State Govt. responsibility, the problems with the Acquifer Borefields Water Treatment Plant
  • Again with the difficult economic conditions, close control of Council and Unity Water Costs to minimise same and reduce the impact on Ratepayers
  • Conservative Budgeting to control rates and other costs to ratepayers
  • Sound general management of council affairs

MBI:  Let’s get your thoughts on some of the major MBRC initiatives on Bribie in the last four years……………

  • Woorim Master Plan:  MBRC spent about $15m on this.  Work included: conversion of public open space into new car parks for visitors and hotel patrons; conversion of some Class 5 park areas (requiring occasional maintenance) to Class 1 areas (requiring weekly maintenance); removal of many mature habitat trees; new traffic roundabout at Arcadia; and a new skate park adjacent to residential areas.  What was achieved?  Was this money well spent?  Would you do anything differently?     

A:   I am concerned with the high level of cost associated with these types of project by the current Council in that there appears to be a lack of constraint in the level of expenditure permitted

Parking has been a problem in the past at Woorim, and if we want attract and accept visitors I think the additional parking is warranted.

I do think that if we want to attract visitors to the area the type of work completed offers some benefits, but in future before the extent of the cost is committed we need to ensure the financial benefits achieved outweigh any additional maintenance costs introduced

I would be disappointed if the Skatebowl has been so located as to cause problem to residents, Council has constructed same in the past and should have been aware of problems associated with them and located the accordingly. It is disappointing if officers are not learning from past experience.

I do think the work has created an attractive precinct, and find it aesthetically pleasing; my concern for the future is to create such amenity at more conservative cost

I hope that the outcome has been that the visitors appreciate the parking available and spend money at local businesses while visiting.

  • Woorim Master Plan again……   Residents say this $15m did not result in any facilities they did not enjoy prior to the project.  It has added over $1m per year to MBRC’s maintenance costs.  One cynic commented that all it has brought is more traffic, more hoons, more garbage and more drunks urinating in public places.  Businesses do not appear to have benefited either as two of the major businesses in Woorim (along with a number of smaller businesses) have closed since this project was completed. Who was supposed to benefit from this project?  And if residents and businesses (who paid for it all) have received no benefit, then who did benefit?

A:    I have previously stated that I am concerned with the high level of expenditure on the project; however I do not accept that the work would add $1M to Councils maintenance costs.

I know that in the past Bribie businesses looked forward to weekend visitor patronage, but the general sustainability of local business is dependent on local support, and I think it is clear that people are spending less, so if we want to keep local business we must spend our money local and support them, I do not think we can blame this work on the problems existing currently throughout the business community.

I would hope that the improvement would serve to attract visitors, but I do suspect that unjustified conclusions that same will occur are too readily accepted, rather than applying a more clinical approach to assessing the benefits to be obtained

Thus my assertion that expenditure on such projects needs to be critically assessed before proceeding with them

  • Woorim Beach Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (WBSEMP):  MBRC has spent ~$5m implementing the recommendations of this Plan, but a survey in 2010 claims that virtually none of the consultant’s recommendations have been implemented as outlined in the Plan.  This has resulted in some major environmental downgrading that will cost millions more to stabilize and repair.  Why do you think the WBSEMP recommendations have not been followed?  How will you go about the repairs and stabilization that are now required?

A:    At the time of writing this report I have not been able to read the report quoted, but I have seen may consultants reports that need quite a critique before blindly accepting their recommendations, and they provide an avenue for people to demand they be followed regardless.

I looked after the maintenance of Woorim Beach for years, and there are some simple concepts to Dunal Maintenance:

  • Provide growth(Spinifex , vines ) to collect all windblown sand possible
  • Collect all sand possible in favourable seasons to have it available for loss in adverse conditions, hopefully stopping or reducing frontage loss over the years
  • Control access to the dunes, encourage growth therein
  • I f completing Beach renourishment make sure the sand comes from outside the beach system
  • Do not interfere too much with the natural processes
  • Repairs to be completed should work with nature and not against it
  • Expenditure should be concentrated on the most beneficial works
  • Grass and ground cover provide good results , trees on frontal dunes are not muc help, they do not hold sand in place and simply fall over when a loss cycle occurs

If elected I will review the report to decide which recommendations warrant implementation and act accordingly but work to be completed needs to critically assessed as I have seen much work completed on foreshores which have much cost but little ongoing benefit, thus I would not be blindly rushing to pursue all of Consultants recommendations, unless they have validity and will produce outcomes of value.

People tend to panic when seasonal sand loss occurs, but we need some patience to work with nature, and assist it to recover as much sand as possible in favourable conditions.

Be assured, protection of the Woorim foreshores will be one of my close interests should I be elected Mayor

  • Vegetation:  The sign at the end of the Bribie Bridge says… Bribie Island Sanctuary – Fauna and Flora Protected.  In the last four years MBRC has removed literally thousands of trees and shrubs all across Bribie –  including many massive habitat trees.  Virtually nothing has been replanted.  So what does this sign mean?  What is being protected?  Would you change anything in this area of MBRC’s activity? 

A:   I am not aware of the validity or otherwise of these claims at this time so I am not prepared to comment on the specifically.

Such signs are erected hopefully to inform of councils approach to such matters, but it is the action which is most important

I would be most disappointed if Council was not acting in accord with the sign content.

I will certainly investigate your claims to ascertain why Bribies’ natural environment is not being protected or enhanced.

MBI:  When it comes to executing major projects, MBRC seems to have a policy of refusing to consult with and/or work with volunteer community groups or other affected groups.  Some examples include the changes to the Benabrow car park, the development of the Pumicestone Shoreline Erosion Management Plan, the execution of the recommendations of the WBSEMP, the upgrades to the Woorim helipad, the Envirofund project, Bushcare projects on the at-risk Woorim beaches, the upcoming capacity review of the Bribie sewage treatment facility, and the Rickman Parade project to name a few.  Why is this?  What would you do to change this?

A:    If what is claimed is correct, as a Candidate only at this time, I am not privy to Councils attitude towards Public counsultation, but I am well aware that its interaction with its Ratepayers is on the basis “treat them like mushrooms , keep them in the dark etc”.  Some of my reasons for standing for election as Mayor include:

  • Re establish trust between Council and the ratepayers. This will of course require many action including Information flow both ways between Council and the Ratepayers
  • I will open information on Councils actions both occurring and planned and this will include ensuring ratepayers have opportunity to provide feedback both positive and negative, so that it can be given due consideration
  • Provide open transparent management, back to the principle that council “is there to serve the Ratepayers”
  • Hopefully we will have a relationship of trust, partnership, cross information etc between Ratepayers and Council

MBI:  The Surveyor General indicates that property valuations have risen slightly on the mainland in the past year, and have kept constant on Bribie.  That’s the good news.  At Woorim valuations have dropped by 10%.  Why has this decline at Woorim occurred?  What can be done to reverse this trend?

A:   Land valuations are completed by the Valuer General who should best answer this question.  However I can provide some comment:

  • Woorim is of course not the only area throughout the State to undergo reduced Land valuations , it is a part of an Australian wide situation
  • Land valuations are generally based on land sales in the areas being valued , thus current market forces , demand for property in the area, current sales values all affect the valuation
  • When companies like Pacific Harbour reduce Land/home packages by $100000 and advertise it on large billboards it will affect land resale prices , I am sure the people of Banksia will attest to this
  • The effects of the above will flow onto other areas
  • This is not something Council can influence. The Cycles in Land and Home Values is well known in the Real estate Industry and many economic factors decide the cycle activity which we as Landowners can only accept
  • Expenditure by council will not counteract these economic cycles  or market forces

MBI:  Business conditions on Bribie are very difficult.  Over 30 businesses have closed during the term of the current Council.  Why have so many businesses closed when the number of visitors to Bribie has never been greater?  What would you do to change this?

A:    This unfortunate situation is not limited to, Bribie Island.  I have spent considerable time during my campaign visiting and talking to businesses.  Once again the adverse financial situations are wide spread and solutions will not be simple or in time to protect all current businesses.  My concern it high for small business and if elected some of my plans include:

  • Assess the expertise within councils’ Economic Development  Section to ascertain if the correct mix is available
  • Resource the section by taking some funding from High Cost capital projects
  • Set up a working group of Business Groups and Council to develop Strategies to assist Small business , first to survive and hopefully develop
  • Assist with promotional activities , not just once a year but throughout the year
  • Local people must be encouraged to shop locally, this will assist Local business greatly, so it is not just a Council challenge
  • Of course Local Business has to get together and work together to create innovative approaches to attract customers, I know many are tired and dispirited

but they have to get together and assist each other

  • Once again this is a National problem and Council can not be expected to be all powerful, all intuitive, all solving in all matters, Business organisation such as Chambers of commerce both at state and Local levels have to get proactive and come up with ideas as well as asking council to solve the problems of commerce
  • I have just received a copy of “Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland  Business Priorities for Queensland’s State and Local Governments”.   I trust the local Chambers are obtaining copies to see if there are strategies within which they can pursue

MBI:  A number of candidates in this current election are campaigning as “independent” even though they have strong links to various political parties.  What party affiliations do you have?

A:    I have NO affiliations with any Political parties.   Party politics does nothing for me but I do wonder about the high concern about the matter. Is it because the questioning parties are concerned that Councillors not of their political ilk might be elected?   Is this not then as bad as the person under scrutiny being associated with a political party?   I find it all a bit hypocritical

I have had 30 years in Local government and I can say , that outside a few , I have not seen undue party political influence in decision making within Local Governments. Indeed the greater problem is the existence of “Factions” as exist with the current Council controlling decision making.  Ratepayers and Organizations need to identify the faction members and vote them out and get some new blood in.

One of my main requirements as mayor will be to develop a working Team of Councillors devoid of Factional, or political, based voting on matters

MBI:  The expenditure on road transport dominates all expenditure on transportation options in this region.  For instance, MBRC could find ~$1m at short notice for a roundabout to bring McDonalds to Bribie but can find little funds for other transport options.  Other options such as public transport and/or bicycle transport attract very little support.  Because of its geography, Bribie Island should be a bicycle riding mecca but according to the survey by the Bicycle Network, expenditure on bicycle options in SE Queensland is extremely low.  Brisbane’s expenditure last year was $20 per person compared with $47 in Perth and $62 in Sydney.  Expenditure in MBRC was $8.  Will you be doing anything to change this focus?

A:   I would suggest that most, if not all of the roundabout at McDonalds would have been borne by the Developer not council.

The provision of Public Transport is outside Councils control in that it rests with Translink.   Council must of course ensure provisions for Access and infrastructure to service ratepayers using Public transport which are its responsibility to provide

Can I suggest that Bribie Island has great riding and walking paths, and is a great location for same and the extension of them.   But it is not valid to compare the cost contribution to same on Bribie or even Queensland with capital cities where obviously many constraints within city precincts increases construction cost with many projects

I will continue to support a planned process for provision of riding and walking paths, for both recreational and commuter purposes.

MBI:  Other candidates have commented that when they have announced their candidacy, unusual things start to happen to them and/or their families – hate-mail starts to arrive, strange cars appear in their street and even in their driveway, their property is vandalised, their cars are selectively ticketed, and Council inspectors show up for the first time in years and years.  Has any of this happened to you?

A:   I understand this has been happening and it is despicable, it is a pity that the people doing so can not be identified and outed.  I am determined not to let the problems I have encountered to detract me from my campaign, and have advised those involved to just keep doing the “right thing” but I can see it is affecting some candidates.

I suggest to voters that even if it is your intuition only that identifies to you who might be doing it , ensure you do not vote for them.  Unfair?   Why risk putting such people in Council?

I am having signs go missing, but thankfully have missed the “hate  campaigns” and am concentrating on getting on with the job.

MBI:  Thank you for your co-operation 

For more information on John Hall contact him on 0409 926 425 or by e-mail at hall.john@7mail.com

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TEN QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATE

Ian Bell – Candidate for Mayor of MBRC

Ian is a professional engineer and scientist with extensive experience in water, land and catchment issues.  He currently has a small consulting practise in these areas.  He has worked in both private and government sectors both in Australia and overseas.  During the 2009 State elections, Ian led the campaign that has now resulted in stopping the construction of a massive desalination plant on Bribie Island saving residents of the region $2 Billion.  Ian has lived on Bribie and the region for many years and contributes a large amount of time and effort into a wide range of community activities.

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MBI:  What attracts you to want to enter political life?

A:  I’m not interested in a political life in Council because there is no room for politics at local government level.  It’s too divisive and makes it harder to develop a harmonious community co-operating for the general good.  What has driven me to stand for Mayor is a strong sense of right and wrong and fairness. I am appalled at the way residents have been treated by this council.  Someone has to do something – I am that someone.

MBI:  What do you believe are your special strengths that you bring to the task of being Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council

A:  As a professional water and environmental engineer and scientist I have led major projects at a National, State and local level that have involved close co-operation with large diverse communities to bring about significant changes and improvements.

MBI:  What do you regard as the major challenges on Bribie Island that need to be addressed

A:  Bribie Island is a truly amazing and special place, but there is an increasing risk that it will become irreversibly degraded by lack of proper protection and planning.  Bribie Island has a unique relaxed retirement and family holiday lifestyle and this is also at risk from over-development and industrialisation.

MBI:  Lets get your thoughts on some of the major MBRC initiatives on Bribie in the last four years……………

  • Woorim Master Plan:  MBRC spent about $15m on this.  Work included: conversion of public open space into new carparks for visitors and hotel patrons; conversion of some Class 5 park areas (requiring occasional maintenance) to Class 1 areas (requiring weekly maintenance); removal of many mature habitat trees; new traffic roundabout at Arcadia; and a new skate park adjacent to residential areas.  What was achieved?  Was this money well spent?  Would you do anything differently?

            A:  I think this was not the best outcome that could have been achieved for the expenditure of $15  million.  Another example of wasted ratepayers money.

  • Woorim Master Plan again……   Residents say this $15m did not result in any facilities they did not enjoy prior to the project.  It has added over $1m per year to MBRC’s maintenance costs.  One cynic commented that all it has brought is more traffic, more hoons, more garbage and more drunks urinating in public places.  Businesses do not appear to have benefited either as two of the major businesses in Woorim (along with a number of smaller businesses) have closed since this project was completed.  Who was supposed to benefit from this project?  And if residents and businesses (who paid for it all) have received no benefit, then who did benefit?  Will you approach future developments any differently?

A:  I will ensure there is PROPER consultation with all such developments in the future.  Refer articles on consultation in my bloggspot.  http://ianbellformayormbrc.blogspot.com.au/

  • Woorim Beach Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (WBSEMP):  MBRC has spent ~$5m implementing the recommendations of this Plan, but a survey in 2010 claims that virtually none of the consultant’s recommendations have been implemented as outlined in the Plan.  This has resulted in some major environmental downgrading that will cost millions more to stabilize and repair.  Why do you think the WBSEMP recommendations have not been followed?  How will you go about the repairs and stabilization that are now required?

             A:   I wonder if Council staff and have been so run down and deskilled that they are unable to understand and implement the contents and recommendations of the various technical reports that Council commissions by consultants.  It might be that direct instructions are being given by Councillors who have no training or experience in these areas to take actions that are contrary to consultant’s recommendations.

  • Vegetation:  The sign at the end of the Bribie Bridge says… Bribie Island Sanctuary – Fauna and Flora Protected.  In the last four years MBRC has removed literally thousands of trees and shrubs all across Bribie –  including many massive habitat trees.  Virtually nothing has been replanted.  So what does this sign mean?  What is being protected?  Would you change anything in this area of MBRC’s activity? 

We urgently need a comprehensive vegetation management and preservation policy.  Lack of the promised action on this is destroying Bribie Island and its image and is dividing its community.

MBI:  When it comes to executing major projects, MBRC seems to have a policy of refusing to consult with and/or work with volunteer community groups or other affected groups.  Some examples include the changes to the Benabrow car park, the development of the Pumicestone Shoreline Erosion Management Plan, the execution of the recommendations of the WBSEMP, the upgrades to the Woorim helipad, the Envirofund project, Bushcare projects at Woorim, the upcoming capacity review of the Bribie sewage treatment facility, and the Rickman Parade project to name a few.  Why is this?  What would you do to change this?

A:  Everything !

MBI:  The Surveyor General indicates that property valuations have risen slightly on the mainland in the past year, and have kept constant on Bribie.  That’s the good news.  At Woorim valuations have dropped by 10%.  Why has this decline at Woorim occurred?  What can be done to reverse this trend?

A:  As stated above – the image of Bribie Island is being degraded by inappropriate development and environmental destruction.

MBI:  Business conditions on Bribie are very difficult.  Over 30 businesses have closed during the term of the current Council.  Why have so many businesses closed when the number of visitors to Bribie has never been greater?  What would you do to change this?

A:  I have worked in several small to large businesses during my life and have my own small business.  It breaks my heart to see businesses struggle or go under.  Here are some ideas and commitments to start:

  • We need to define and enhance the “brand and image” of the region as a place to do business and prosper.
  • I will commission the production of a DVD movie showcasing this wonderful MBRC region, bounded by mountain ranges and the sea to help promote the region as one of the best places to live and operate a business.
  • Bring together in working meetings the best business brains to help analyse where problems lie and how to develop our regional competitive marketing advantage (SE Qld is a very big competitive region)
  • Develop our sense of community and think about where and how we shop, eat, and spend our money.
  • Are we providing sufficient data to best inform and support businesses in getting their business plan right?
  • Can we better assist our best and most innovative businesses in getting government grants and introductions to support them and help them grow?

MBI:  A number of candidates in this current election are campaigning as “independent” even though they have strong links to various political parties.  What party affiliations do you have?

A:  None whatsoever nor any business or developer support.

MBI:  The expenditure on road transport dominates all expenditure on transportation options in this region.  For instance, MBRC could find ~$1m at short notice for a roundabout to bring McDonalds to Bribie but can find little funds for other transport options.  Other options such as public transport and/or bicycle transport attract very little support.  Because of its geography, Bribie Island should be a bicycle riding mecca but according to the survey by the Bicycle Network, expenditure on bicycle options in SE Queensland is extremely low.  Brisbane’s expenditure last year was $20 per person compared with $47 in Perth and $62 in Sydney.  Expenditure in MBRC was $8.  Will you be doing anything to change this focus?

A:  No traffic lights – more bicycle ways and electric vehicle access.  Improved parking for businesses.

MBI:  Other candidates have commented that when they have announced their candidacy, unusual things start to happen to them and/or their families –  hate-mail starts to arrive, strange cars appear in their street and even in their driveway, their property is vandalised, their cars are selectively ticketed, and Council inspectors show up for the first time in years and years.  Has any of this happened to you?

A:   No

MBI:  Thank you for your co-operation 

For more information on Ian Bell, contact Ian at dinga-bell@bigpond.com or call him at 0409 622 294  He has a bloggspot: http://ianbellformayormbrc.blogspot.com.au/

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TEN QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATE

Cr Chris Whiting – Candidate for Mayor of MBRC

Chris was born and raised in the Mackay area and graduated from University of Queensland and Australian National University with a Bachelors degree in Australian History in 1992 and a Masters in Journalism in 2010.  He worked for many years as a journalist and is an active sporting enthusiast.  He and Sian live in Burpengary and have an infant son.

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MBI:  You have been in elected office now for almost 12 years.  What attracts you to political life?

A:  The ability to make a difference to my community.  To improve the life of the residents in my community.  To be a part of the solution!

MBI:  What do you believe are your special strengths that you bring to the task of being Mayor of MBRC

A:  I have the determination, energy and resolution to serve as the Mayor.  I have 12 years of experience as a councillor.  I have proven I will stand up on behalf of residents – in the last four years I have spoken out about the income we are making from UnityWater, the need for the return of a kerbside clean up every two years, and Council’s disaster management during the January 2011 floods.  And I will be here for the long term, not just the one term.

MBI:  What do you regard as the major challenges on Bribie Island that need to be addressed

A:  To preserve the lifestyle and environment of Bribie Island.  Bribie is a special and unique place in our region, and we must make sure there is no overdevelopment on the island, and we keep the height limits on development.  We need to take more action to prevent erosion on Bribie foreshores, and protect Pumicestone Passage.  I am the only candidate who has put forward a plan to protect the special qualities of Bribie Island.

MBI:  Lets get your thoughts on some of the major MBRC initiatives on Bribie that you supported in the last four years.

  • Woorim Master Plan:  MBRC spent about $15m on this.  Work included: conversion of public open space into new carparks for visitors and hotel patrons; conversion of some Class 5 park areas (requiring occasional maintenance) to Class 1 areas (requiring weekly maintenance); removal of many mature habitat trees; new traffic roundabout at Arcadia; and a new skate park adjacent to residential areas.  What was achieved?  Was this money well spent?

A:   This Council has performed badly in terms of delivering value for money.  Not only the Woorim Master Plan, but the Redcliffe Seaside Village rejuvenation and the Caboolture equestrian centre.  Council needs to listen carefully to residents and see what they want, not waste money on rushed projects.

  • Woorim Master Plan again……   Residents say this $15m did not result in any facilities they did not enjoy prior to the project.  It has added over $1m per year to MBRC’s maintenance costs.  One cynic commented that all it has brought is more traffic, more hoons, more garbage and more drunks urinating in public places.  Businesses do not appear to have benefited either as two of the major businesses in Woorim (along with a number of smaller businesses) have closed since this project was completed. .  Who was supposed to benefit from this project?  And if residents and businesses (who paid for it all) have received no benefit, then who did benefit?

A:  Again, Council needs to consult widely with residents and improve the public spaces needed by local residents.  I want to give residents a chance to have a say in Council priorities and the Council budget – have a look at my plans for Participatory Budgeting at wwww.chriswhiting.com.au

  • Woorim Beach Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (WBSEMP):  MBRC has spent ~$5m implementing the recommendations of this Plan, but a survey in 2010 claims that virtually none of the consultant’s recommendations have been implemented as outlined in the Plan.  This has resulted in some major environmental downgrading that will cost millions more to stabilize and repair.  Why do you think the WBSEMP recommendations have not been followed?  How will you go about the repairs and stabilization that are now required?

A:   Since amalgamation, this Council has been cutting the everyday services throughout the region – many people are complaining about the states of the parks and roads in our region.  If Mayor, I would make sure it is a priority to implement the findings of the Erosion Management Plan.

  • Vegetation:  The sign at the end of the Bribie Bridge says… Bribie Island Sanctuary – Fauna and Flora Protected.  In the last four years MBRC has removed literally thousands of trees and shrubs all across Bribie –  including many massive habitat trees.  You supported initiatives like the removal of the habitat trees on Arcadia and Avon when they came before Council.  Virtually nothing has been replanted.  So what does this sign mean?  What is being protected?  Would you change anything in this area of MBRC’s activity?

A:    As Mayor I would bring in a Vegetation Management Policy which would protect precious habitat trees such as these.  We need to change our policy, or councillors are powerless to prevent the loss of this special vegetation.

MBI:  When it comes to executing major projects, MBRC seems to have a policy of refusing to consult with and/or work with volunteer community groups or other affected groups.  Some examples include the changes to the Benabrow car park, the development of the Pumicestone Shoreline Erosion Management Plan, the execution of the recommendations of the WBSEMP, the upgrades to the Woorim helipad, the Envirofund project, Bushcare projects on the at-risk Woorim beaches, the upcoming capacity review of the Bribie sewage treatment facility, and the Rickman Parade project to name a few.  Why is this?  What would you do to change this?

A:  I would bring in all the community groups to be true partners in the improvements we need to make on Bribie Island.  I’m not scared of vigorous debate and dissension.  I want local groups to be fully and meaningfully consulted, and to see their suggestions included in the solutions to the issues we face.

MBI:  The Surveyor General indicates that property valuations have risen slightly on the mainland in the past year, and have kept constant on Bribie.  That’s the good news.  At Woorim valuations have dropped by 10%.  Why has this decline at Woorim occurred?  What can be done to reverse this trend?

A:  There is an uneven pattern of value property improvements or devaluations across the region.  We may reverse the trend by providing good quality, “grass roots” council services again, and better maintain the Council assets we have now.

MBI:  Business conditions on Bribie are very difficult.  Over 30 businesses have closed during the term of the current Council.  Why have so many businesses closed when the number of visitors to Bribie has never been greater?  What would you do to change this?

A:  Businesses across the Moreton Bay region are suffering.  I have a plan to look after local businesses that need help.  The “Boosting Business Plan” will create a new business development section in Council, based on the model used by Paul Pisasale in Ipswich.  It will be a customer service-focused unit that will proactively help out business that need advice on how to expand, move, or come to the region.  Not only that, I would bring more events to local business centres to get more visitors and people into our business areas.

MBI:  A number of candidates in this current election are campaigning as “independent” even though they have strong links to various political parties.  What party affiliations do you have?

A:  I am a member of the ALP – have been since I was 21, and I won’t hide it.  My political opinions and affiliations have never stood in the way of doing my job on behalf of the community.  If Mayor, I will lead a Council free from direction of political parties.  Councillors are welcome to have party membership and political opinions, but they will have to put their community first.

MBI:  The expenditure on road transport dominates all expenditure on transportation options in this region.  For instance, you supported the efforts of  MBRC to find ~$1m at short notice for a roundabout to bring McDonalds to Bribie but can find little funds for other transport options.  Other options such as public transport and/or bicycle transport attract very little support.  Because of its geography, Bribie Island should be a bicycle riding mecca but according to the survey by the Bicycle Network, expenditure on bicycle options in SE Queensland is extremely low.  Brisbane’s expenditure last year was $20 per person compared with $47 in Perth and $62 in Sydney.  Expenditure in MBRC was $8.  Will you be doing anything to change this focus?

A:  I am a bike rider myself.  I will invest more money into bicycle pathways throughout the region, as these are alternative transport option for many local residents.  We need to change Council’s thinking!

MBI:  Other candidates have commented that when they have announced their candidacy, unusual things start to happen to them and/or their families –  hate-mail starts to arrive, strange cars appear in their street and even in their driveway, their property is vandalised, their cars are selectively ticketed, and Council inspectors show up for the first time in years and years.  Has any of this happened to you?

A: Of course!  That’s part of running for public office, and always has been.  And it has always been unacceptable.  But no matter what happens, I will not be distracted from being the best Mayor I can be.

MBI:  Thank you for your co-operation 

For more information on Chris Whiting, go to his website at www.chriswhiting.com.au

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TEN QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATE

Allan Sutherland – Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council

Allan grew up in Redcliffe and has lived in the area all his adult life.  He was first elected to Redcliffe City Council in 1994 and became Mayor in 2004.  He was elected Mayor of MBRC in 2008.  Before entering Council, Allan was an electrical contractor.  He is an avid sportsman and represented Australia as a dragon boat paddler.  He is married with three children.

===============================================================

Unfortunately, MBI had not received a response from Mayor Sutherland by the time these files were uploaded.  The questions are shown here, without answers.   They are a little different from those posed to the other candidates to reflect that the Mayor is the incumbent.

MBI:  You have been in elected office now for over 18 years.  What attracts you to political life?

A:

MBI:  What do you consider your major achievements in MBRC in your first term as Mayor

A:

MBI:  What do you regard as the major challenges on Bribie Island that need to be addressed in the next term of Council

A:

MBI:  Lets get your thoughts on some of the major MBRC initiatives on Bribie in the last four years……………

  • Woorim Master Plan:  You have been a big supporter of this Plan and MBRC has spent almost $15m on it.  Work has included: conversion of public open space into new carparks for visitors and hotel patrons; conversion of some Class 5 park areas (requiring occasional maintenance) to Class 1 areas (requiring weekly maintenance); removal of many mature habitat trees; new traffic roundabout at Arcadia; and a new skate park adjacent to residential areas.  What was achieved?  Was this money well spent?

            A:

  • Woorim Master Plan again……   Residents say this $15m did not result in any facilities they did not enjoy prior to the project.  It has added over $1m per year to MBRC’s maintenance costs.  One cynic commented that all it has done is to bring more traffic, more hoons, more garbage and more drunks urinating in public places.  Businesses do not appear to have benefited either as two of the major businesses in Woorim (along with a number of smaller businesses) have closed since this project was completed.  Who was supposed to benefit from this project?  And if residents and businesses (who paid for it all) have received no benefit, then who did benefit?

            A:

  • Woorim Beach Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (WBSEMP):  MBRC has spent ~$5m implementing the recommendations of this Plan.  You have been a strong supporter and defender of all those activities. But a survey in 2010 claims that virtually none of the consultant’s recommendations have been implemented as outlined in the Plan.  This has resulted in some major environmental downgrading that will cost millions more to stabilize and repair.  Why do you think the WBSEMP recommendations have not been followed?  What is the plan for implementation of that repair and stabilization work?

            A:

  • Vegetation:  The sign at the end of the Bribie Bridge says… Bribie Island Sanctuary – Fauna and Flora Protected.  You have been a strong supporter of MBRC’s efforts in the last four years to remove literally thousands of trees and shrubs all across Bribie –  including many massive habitat trees.  Virtually nothing has been replanted.  So what does this sign mean?  What is being protected?  Will you be advocating for any change to the level of protection for flora and fauna in the next term of Council

           A:

MBI:  When it comes to executing major projects, MBRC seems to have a policy of refusing to consult with and/or work with volunteer community groups or other affected groups.  Some examples include the changes to the Benabrow car park, the development of the Pumicestone Shoreline Erosion Management Plan, the execution of the recommendations of the WBSEMP, the upgrades to the Woorim helipad, the Envirofund project, Bushcare projects, the upcoming capacity review of the Bribie sewage treatment facility, and the Rickman Parade project to name a few.  Why is this?  Will you be advocating for any change to this practise in the next term of Council? 

A:

MBI:  The Surveyor General indicates that property valuations in general have risen slightly on the mainland in the past year, and have kept constant on Bribie.  That’s the good news.  At Woorim valuations have dropped by 10%.  Why has this decline at Woorim occurred?  What can be done to reverse this trend?

A:

MBI:  Business conditions on Bribie are very difficult.  Over 30 businesses have closed during the term of the current Council.  Why have so many businesses closed when the number of visitors to Bribie has never been greater?  What should be done in the coming term of Council to change this?

A:

MBI:  A number of candidates in this current election are campaigning as “independent” even though they have strong links to various political parties.  What party affiliations do you have now or have you had in the past?

A:

MBI:  After the 2009 State Election, you received at least one complaint about the activities of a Councillor during the election.  Hansard also records that one Councillor was accused of illegally removing election signs and this was investigated by the CMC.  Have you received any complaints following the 2012 State Election

A:

MBI:  The expenditure on road transport dominates all expenditure on transportation options in this region.  For instance, you were able to help MBRC find ~$1m at short notice for a roundabout to bring McDonalds to Bribie, but MBRC can now find little funds for other transport options.  Other options such as public transport and/or bicycle transport attract very little support.  Because of its geography, Bribie Island should be a bicycle riding mecca but according to the survey by the Bicycle Network, expenditure on bicycle options in SE Queensland is extremely low.  Brisbane’s expenditure last year was $20 per person compared with $47 in Perth and $62 in Sydney.  Expenditure in MBRC was $8.  Will you be advocating for any change to this focus in the next term of Council if elected?

A:

MBI:  Other candidates have commented that when they have announced their candidacy, unusual things start to happen to them and/or their families –  hate-mail starts to arrive, strange cars appear in their street and even in their driveway, their property is vandalised, their cars are selectively ticketed, and Council inspectors show up for the first time in years and years.  Has any of this happened to you?

A:

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TEN QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATE

Ivan Hall – Candidate for Mayor of MBRC

Ivan has a work background as an accountant, company director, insurance broker, real estate agent and auctioneer.  He says on his website, he is standing for Mayor ….. “to restore the image of the Office of the Mayor and the Moreton Bay Regional Council which has been tarnished”.  He is a long time resident of Kurwongbah

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Unfortunately, MBI did not receive a response from Ivan Hall by the time these files were uploaded.  The questions are not repeated here as they are the same as for all other candidates.

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1 Comment

  1. Hello,

    I’ve placed a YouTube video series displaying information about the 6 candidates for Mayor.

    The following link is to the playlist. I invite you to comment or create a video reply to any of the videos to add information from your interviews to help viewers to make up their mind who to vote for.

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2E1151C227FBBC33

    Luke Hayes

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