‘I think I’ve done my apprenticeship,’ independent Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader says after seventeen years in the role and announcing her intention to run for mayor.
‘I stand on my experience, my apprenticeship, honesty, integrity and hard work,’ Cr Cadwallader continues, ‘people who know me know me well for that’.
The East Ballina-based civil celebrant, company director and member of ‘a plethora of committees’ has twice run for mayor and says when it comes to government, ‘the feds get all the money, the state gets all the power and local government gets all the problems’.
Councillor calls for Royal Commission into ‘housing crisis’
‘Take the coastline, for example,’ she says, ‘Crown Lands wants to hand coastal management back to the council but we can’t afford it’.
‘We need a national approach.’
Cr Cadwallader says the same can be said about housing affordability and availability.
‘I’d like to support a study by the University of NSW on having a royal commission into the housing crisis,’ Cr Cadwallader told The Echo on Wednesday, ‘ all our local providers are stretched to their armpits and businesses will tell you they can’t get staff due to a lack of affordability and availability’.
The independent councillor is moving for the council to support a royal commission in the next ordinary meeting.
Dunoon Dam supporter denies Nationals membership claims
Cr Cadwallader says one of her other key concerns as a mayoral candidate is the defeated proposal for a new dam in Dunoon.
‘I think something as basic as a water supply is so important,’ she says, ‘that’s our future, water is life’.
Cr Cadwallader says ‘all the technical advice over the last 25 years’ suggests Dunoon Dam is the ‘cheapest, most cost effective and safest’ water security option for the region and that more studies need to be done to show cultural significance.
‘Groundwater is not the cheapest or safest,’ she says, ‘when the pumps start up the farmers have to buy in water’.
One of the proposals in the Rous County Council Future Water Plan 2060 is to source groundwater from Tyagarah and/or Alstonville.
But Cr Cadwallader says Alstonville is surrounded by macadamia orchards and that there is a risk of contamination.
‘It costs around $39 million to clean the water,’ she says.
‘Desalination is ridiculous,’ Cr Cadwallader continues, ‘plant membranes have to be replaced constantly and desalination plants are rusting out all over the world’.
‘Toilet-to-tap water won’t get social licence,’ she says, ‘and will probably only get about 30% of the water’.
‘We need a secure water strategy moving to 2060 because we are going to run out of water by 2024 and the state government won’t let that happen, they’ll intervene,’ she says.
Cr Cadwallader denied recent comments on articles suggesting she was a member of The Nationals, saying she didn’t belong to any political party.