Name: Carolyn Pickering
Council: Tweed Shire
Town/city: South Murwillumbah
Number of years in shire/LGA: 1.5 years
Current councillor? No
Clubs/sports/interests: recreation and sport, music, arts, writing, environment, science and technology, community, heritage and culture
Are you a member of a political party or an organised ‘ticket’? Independent in Gary Bagnall Group
Brief description: Physical and outdoor educator with 20 years’ experience in primary, secondary, tertiary and community education. Elite sportsperson representing Australian in Lacrosse 1990–1997. A qualified journalist since 2006, currently works as a consultant in communication and community engagement at Murwillumbah Community College and as a outdoor education instructor at Tyalgum Ridge Retreat.
2 What has motivated you to stand?
I want to contribute to my community and support those who will lead the Tweed in a community-minded, sustainable future that fosters business innovation, community empowerment and harmonious lifestyles while valuing the unique natural and built culture and heritage of the valley.
3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA?
An engaged community that supports the vision of a fair-minded, well-balanced, community-centred council. A council that stands strong and puts community need before personal agendas and outside influences. A council capable of consulting widely, listening carefully and working efficiently with all levels of government in seeking effective solutions to the complex issues that face the shire and all its residents.
4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment?
Council can be more responsive to the needs of individual towns and villages, and plan more effectively to ensure developments suit the needs of those communities more sensitively. Council must consult widely, foster innovative and best-practice design and have a stronger sense of the culture and heritage of the distinct regions of the shire when making decisions. It is important to the shire’s residents and visitors that the region retains and enhances its natural and built assets.
5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about?
Community empowerment and innovation. Council can play a role in fostering partnerships between small business, education and training providers, community groups and individuals to drive local innovation and community-centred developments. We need to build on the amazing work that arts, music, sport, environment and other groups are already doing. This can lead to valued, purposeful paid and unpaid employment and offset the budgetary expectation that ratepayers are asked to bear in maintaining or enhancing our shire.
Activity-friendly towns. As a physical educator and sportsperson, the role of community health is critically important to me in building the capacity of our community. Working in collaboration with business, community groups and individuals, infrastructure to support active lifestyles, activity-based tourism and inclusion for people with disabilities and the ageing will help prevent both economic, health and sociocultural problems in our community.
Appropriate development. The shire is a beautiful place and its towns and villages have their own distinct culture and heritage, both built and natural. It is important to balance the continued push for development with the retention and enhancement of what brings people to the shire either to live or visit in the first place. The shire has the opportunity to continue to be a unique ‘jewel in the crown’ in not just NSW but the world. Inappropriate overdeveloped and urbanised developments not fitting with the culture and heritage of the shire will prevent this.
Environment. We all have a responsibility to ensure we maintain and protect our natural heritage from further degradation by human impact. Sensitive developments and efforts to protect or enhance the natural assets of our shire will provide our shire with economic opportunities in tourism, support small business and allow residents, both human and otherwise, the opportunity for more harmonious lifestyles.