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Byron Shire
June 14, 2021

Ballina Council C Ward candidate profiles

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These candidate profiles are written by the candidates themselves and are provided here as a service to our readers. They have not been vetted or fact-checked by Echonetdaily editorial staff.

Note, the profiles are not posted according to the AEC’s draw but based on when we received them (top to bottom). All candidates were contacted simultaneously, except those for whom the AEC did not have contact details.

Ballina Council B Ward Greens candidate Gail Mensinger. Photo contributed
Ballina Council B Ward Greens candidate Gail Mensinga. Photo contributed

Gail Mensinga

Number of years in shire/LGA: 25

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: Elder Beats Byron, Lennox Aqua Aerobics, GetUp, The Wilderness Society, Climate Council, Greenpeace, NSW Greens and Ballina Greens

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’? Ballina Greens

Brief description: Ballina Greens is a progressive local group supporting all levels of government and the community through consultation. We have a presence at local markets all year.

2 What has motivated you to stand? Ballina shire is rich in diversity and potential. It needs a progressive council in order to thrive.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? An empowered community with the ability to thrive and develop in a sustainable way.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? By looking at flexible options in housing other than the current model of expensive urban sprawl. At this stage Byron is leading the way with innovations for affordable eco friendly housing. Ballina needs to catch up.

5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about? Locally we need to foster quality employment by supporting small business. We also need to repair our natural environment.

6 What is your/your groups policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballinas beaches? Drones, helicopters, phone apps and the new marine tower are the best bet at this stage.

Dr Sharon Parry, Independent candidate for Ballina's C Ward at the 2016 council elections. Photo contributed
Dr Sharon Parry, Independent candidate for Ballina’s C Ward at the 2016 council elections. Photo contributed

Dr Sharon Parry

Number of years in shire/LGA: 23

Current councillor? No

If yes, how many years?: NA

Clubs/sports/interests: Community development, research supervision.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  No

Brief description:

I have lived in the area and have been a member of academic staff at Southern Cross University since 1994. Our four children attended local schools in Alstonville and Ballina, and one of them is a graduate of Southern Cross University. I recently retired from the University as an associate professor but I continue to supervise doctoral candidates. For 12 years, I was an elected member of the University Council, a body responsible for the University’s governance. As a member of that body, I acquired a great deal of experience in strategic decision-making and in implementing principles of due diligence when making decisions. I was faithful in always representing my constituency. I now feel ready to bring this experience to Ballina Shire Council. I stand firmly for honesty, integrity and transparency in decision-making by the Council. I am committed to ensuring that council is informed by appropriate, independent scientific evidence and that residents of the Shire are effectively consulted before any decisions affecting their livelihood and well-being are taken by the Council.

2 What has motivated you to stand? I have been shocked by the way in which the Council recently decided to permit Boral to centralise asphalt production in Alstonville. A residents’ association pleaded with the Council to delay its decision until reports concerning the possibly adverse impact of the decision on traffic movements, air quality, noise and the environment were received. Regrettably, the Council pushed the matter through without any of these reports having been received. I do not consider this approach to decision making by the Council to be acceptable. If, as some residents with highly credible expertise have claimed, the fumes from the asphalt-making process are carcinogenic, then the Council may inadvertently have opened the way to a future environmental disaster in Alstonville. Surely the seriousness of this decision warranted delay for the purposes of doing the due diligence about any potentially adverse consequences? In my view, the Council’s performance was not good enough!

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? We are privileged to live in the Shire of Ballina. The success of the Council over many years in contributing to the quality of life we now enjoy is worthy of high praise. The Shire is distinctive for its many small villages and communities. We must not compromise in preserving this precious aspect of the Shire. At the same time, the Shire needs to find ways of ensuring that more job opportunities are created for its residents, especially for its young people. Investment in industries which do not pollute our environment and which do not compromise the area’s natural beauty, and which also create career opportunities for young people, is essential and must be pursued strategically by Council.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? This is a huge issue for the shire. Further residential development in the Ballina Shire seems to me to be inevitable, but how it is permitted to occur can be controlled by the Council. Something I would not like to see is more suburban sprawl across the Shire. It must surely be possible to support an expansion of the Shire’s population without permitting our glorious landscapes and beaches to be lost to future generations. Council’s responsibility is to grapple with this challenge, to do appropriate due diligence on the related issues and to be imaginative in developing sustainable strategies for coming years. From what I have seen and experienced, Ballina Council needs to be more forward-looking. Members of the Council must at all costs avoid seat-of-the-pants decision making.

5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about? I remain extremely concerned about the environmental impact of the asphalt-making plant in Alstonville. I will, however, support continuation of the plant if I can be convinced that its environmental and quality-of-life consequences are not a threat to the residents of Alstonville. Even more importantly, I feel that residents feel that they are not being heard, and that decision-making needs to be more informed by due diligence and sound evidence.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? Had the due diligence been done, Council might have not have wasted as much money as it has on this initiative. It might have looked at alternative technologies. It might also have decided that public awareness of the issue was important before any decision was made. I think the matter of deterring shark attacks needs to be investigated in far more detail before a policy can possibly be developed. A knee-jerk approach to policy development is rarely successful.

Ballina Shire Council C Ward and mayoral candidate David Wright. Photo supplied
Ballina Shire Council C Ward and mayoral candidate David Wright. Photo supplied

David Wright

Number of years in Ballina Shire: Resident on the Plateau (Alstonville/Wollongbar) since 1975.

Current councillor? Yes– Current Mayor
If yes, how many years?: 29

Clubs/sports/interests: Have been involved in cricket/basketball – love the beach – walk every day – coached school sporting teams for many years – love attending meetings/functions as Mayor to support and find out views on the Shire.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  No

2 What has motivated you to stand? All during my life I have run and organised groups. When Ballina Shire established the 1987 LEP renewal, I became part of the consultation. As a teacher at Alstonville Public I was aware of parent hardships and need for infrastructure so I stood for Council in 1987 and have served as Councillor/Deputy Mayor and Mayor since then.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? To continue to provide quality infrastructure, sustainable development and ensure that all new works do not take away the amenity that has made Ballina Shire the wonderful place it is.

To protect agricultural land, promote businesses and tourism, develop industrial land to create jobs, ensure a quality road and cycleway network and ensure that the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport delivers quality cheap and reliable air services to the region.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment?

Eight years of consultation for the 2012 LEP has enabled the public to have a say in the future of the Shire. Council is also completing 2035 growth plans for each town to ensure that the delicate balance between residential development and protecting our unique environment is well managed where the public’s input will guide our future plans. This has been in place on the plateau and Lennox Head for many years.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about?

Providing quality, affordable, sustainable infrastructure that benefits residents while ensuring that fiscal management meets the ‘Fit for the Future’ guidelines and that our Council is not forced into amalgamations with neighbouring councils.

Ensuring that the huge asset base of the airport, industrial land, residential land and property developments is built on for the future generations and not sold off in a ‘fire sale’.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches?

Ever since the attack on Tadashi Nakahara on February 9th 2015, I have been constantly negotiating with the Premier, Minister Blair and all sections of the DPI to provide protection for beach users in the Shire.

The helicopter services, tagging, listening stations, barrier at Lennox Head etc have come through this process.

With the Lighthouse Beach barrier not proceeding I have had DPI visit last week and negotiated with the surf club and Deputy Director General of the DPI for the provision of siren stations on the head lands and the use of the innovative ‘Little Ripper’ drone package that will help in shark detection and in surf rescues.

All this will occur in the coming weeks to ensure that confidence in the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Club is maintained and all beach users, especially the nippers, are protected.

Ballina Council C Ward candidate Eoin Johnston. Photo supplied
Ballina Council C Ward candidate Eoin Johnston. Photo supplied

Eoin Johnston

Number of years in Ballina Shire: 41

Current councillor? No
If yes, how many years?:

Clubs/sports/interests: Life member of 5 clubs embracing rugby, water polo and surf lifesaving. Have travelled to over 70 countries. Lychee farmer and barrister.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’? No

1 Brief description: Independent.

2 What has motivated you to stand? I have a keen interest in the workings and welfare of the Shire and its citizens, particularly the youth.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? Progressive and responsible development responsive to the communities wishes. A community with a pulse.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? Comply with environmental concerns and regulations. Build on land that causes least disruption to catchment areas, forests and prime agricultural land.

5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about? Eco and sports tourism is a huge untapped source that would create jobs and boost the local economy. NO to enforced amalgamation.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? Little can be done. The Eco nets were doomed to fail. Monitoring is just exposing the shark numbers that have always been there. Greenpeace has information on the illegal longline fishing well out to sea that is taking mid size fish away from the sharks. Users have to apply commonsense to the times they go in the ocean but three recent attacks have occurred between 10 and 10-30am, a time that would be considered safe by some “experts”.

Ballina Council C Ward candidate Therese Crollick. Photo contributed
Ballina Council C Ward candidate Therese Crollick. Photo contributed

Therese Crollick

Number of years in Ballina Shire: 32

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: President Duck Creek Mtn Masters swimming club, Secretary FNC canoe club, Ballina Surf Life Saving club, Ballina Shire concert band, President Ballina Classic Vehicle club, Ballina Rotary club also like walking, gym, reading and travelling.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  We are a community ticket called “ A Strong Voice” because that is what we want for C ward on Ballina Council. The other two members are Elva Fitzell, who was born and has lived all her life in the Wollongbar area, and Michelle Lake, who has lived in Wardell for 15 years. Two of our members are financial members of two different political parties and one member is not a member of any party therefore we are not endorsed by any party and running together as 3 women who want the same outcomes for the community.

2 What has motivated you to stand? I have some experience in local government as a community member on various committees and have a real interest in local government issues and in getting the best outcomes for our town, there is going to be a lot happening in our Shire over the next few years and some big issues will need to be addressed and I really want to be part of that decision making process to get the best outcomes for everyone in our community and to make sure that everyone benefits.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? I want to see sustainable development where industry, small business and agriculture are supported. I’d like to see sport tourism developed and “start ups” encouraged and supported by Council, I’d like to see industry that value adds to agriculture supported and developed and I’d like to see alternate and high tech business encouraged to come to the Shire – jobs that are long term and permanent and I want a Shire that develops with respect to the environment to maintain our quality of life that we so enjoy here.

 

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? Make sure that there are green buffer zones between villages and estate development, allow some moderate “infilling” in existing villages and towns and perhaps in Ballina itself allow some more 3,4 perhaps 5 storey residential building away from the river but with appropriate regard to the surrounding area and with strict design controls and green areas as part of the development.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? In C ward: footpaths, the Boral asphalt plant, keeping the buffer zone and preserving as much agricultural land as possible plus making sure that any money spent means equity amongst the various communities.

For the shire: redevelopment of Pop Denison park, the proposed marina development, Burns Point ferry, waste management and flood mitigation.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? We think probably aerial patrols to continue and educating surfers and swimmers that there are certain times when an attack is more likely and you should not enter the water at those times.

Ben Smith – declined to participate

 

 


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