22 C
Byron Shire
December 3, 2021

The nitty-gritty with the Lismore Mayoral candidates

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Last month The Echo asked the Lismore Mayoral candidates 20 questions* about their thoughts, ideas and pizza, and as we approach voting day, we asked each candidate questions about their party, their preparation and their process.

Each candidate was given a week to respond and the answers to the first question are in the order they responded.

Steve Krieg is yet to respond (this page will be updated if he does)

The Questions:

Are you excited or nervous about the election?
Do you feel prepared?
If you don’t win, who do you think will win and why?
Where are your preferences going?
Can you name the people funding you and advising you?
If standing as an independent, do you have any affiliation with any political party, religious organisation or community group?
There is a great saying – ‘Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.’ Are you good at admitting when you are wrong and changing your thoughts and actions?
What will be the first thing you will do when you are Mayor?

The Answers:

Darlene Cook – Photo Tree Faerie.

Are you excited or nervous about the election?

Darlene Cook
Yes, very excited to put my ideas and hopes for the future of this city, to the community for their consideration.

Big Rob
Fake news, no comment

Vanessa Ekins
Both. I am excited by a new term of Council and implementing the strategies we have worked hard on, financial sustainability, waste management, road funding and affordable housing.

I also admit to being nervous about the big responsibility of representing our community and planning for our future in a challenging climate.

Patrick Healey
I’m both nervous and excited. The other candidates have lots of resources and volunteers, so getting our message out isn’t easy. I’m sure when we do get our message out there it does persuade people. 

Elly Bird
I am excited. With two postponements it has been a very long journey to get here. Serving my community as a Councillor is very important to me, I feel confident that I will be re-elected and I am looking forward to working with the new Council, whoever they may be. 


 

Patrick Healey – Photo Tree Faerie.

Do you feel prepared?

Patrick Healey
Yes. I have been observing Council and working with them for a long time. That’s what inspired me to run, the council’s slow approach to development applications and managing a contract with them was a very difficult experience.  

Vanessa Ekins
I am very prepared with 16 years as a Lismore City Councillor and this year as Lismore’s Mayor, I understand Council processes and the constraints of the State government planning legislation and the pressing issues of our community, affordable housing, waste management and road maintenance.

Elly Bird
Yes. I have been working towards this election for nearly two years, and after my five years on Council so far I feel comfortable in the role of Councillor. I am ready to step up to being the Mayor if I am elected. And most importantly I am ready to get on with the important work that is ahead of us and to continue the work we have underway. 

Darlene Cook
My team and I have worked hard to prepare and present our plan for rebuilding Lismore’s economy in our community. We’re well prepared to take that next step and lead this city into the future.

Big Rob
Fake news, no comment


 

Big Rob doesn’t feel The Echo takes nice photos of him to we have this placeholder.

If you don’t win, who do you think will win and why?

Big Rob
Fake news, no comment

Elly Bird
It is possible that Steve Krieg might become the new Mayor based on voter percentages and analysis of previous elections. That will be an interesting outcome if it does happen especially because he has no Council experience at all.

If our community wants to ensure strong progressive representation is retained on Council it is absolutely critical to use your preferences and number at least three boxes, including myself and Our Sustainable Future, Darlene Cook and Labor and Vanessa Ekins and the Greens.

On the Councillor ballot we also recommend including Ally Waters and the Animal Justice Party. Preferences really do matter because they determine the final positions that are elected to Council. 

Patrick Healey
I think there is a mood for change, so Steve Krieg would be my tip. The council has been run very poorly and Steve appears to be capitalising on that.

The left doesn’t want development and the right doesn’t believe in climate change or community consultation.

We are in the middle suggesting that sustainable development is very possible and so is population growth. 

Darlene Cook
If I don’t win then I hope either Elly Bird or Vanessa Ekins becomes Mayor to retain a progressive council for the next term.

Vanessa Ekins
I have been actively involved in local, state and federal elections in Lismore since 1999 and this has been a traditional National Party seat for generations, so the Kreig ticket could perform well, however, I am hoping for a tree change.


 

Elly Bird – Photo Tree Faerie.

Where are your preferences going?

Elly Bird
Preference allocation is a matter for the individual voter. We have suggested to our voters that they choose to preference Vanessa Ekins and then Darlene Cook for Mayor and to preference Labor, then the Greens and then the Animal Justice Party for Councillor.

Our Sustainable Future values working with the other progressive teams on Council and our preferences reflect that. 

Darlene Cook
First to Our Sustainable Future, then to The Greens

Vanessa Ekins
Voters have a choice to allocate their own preferences and I urge them to support the three progressive women candidates who are also experienced councillors, and we are the Greens Vanessa Ekins for Mayor, Our Sustainable Future Elly Bird, Labor Darlene Cook and Animal Justice Alison Waters for Council.

Patrick Healey
We are not preferencing anyone and will be asking our voters to decide for themselves.


 

Vanessa Ekins – Photo Tree Faerie.

Can you please name the people funding you and advising you?

Vanessa Ekins
The Greens rely on fundraising and donations from local families, we are opposed to big donations from vested interest groups so donations are capped at $1,000 and are openly declared.

Darlene Cook
My friends, my team and I are mainly funding this campaign; we’ve held a couple of fundraising events that have been well attended and added funds to help pay the bills.

Advising me are my team, several former councillors, and friends with experience in media or campaigning.

Big Rob
Fake news, no comment

Patrick Healey
Well, mostly myself and Dr Andrew Binns. We have received many smaller donations from some very generous individuals. We are not well funded and have no corporate or organisational money. We are our own advisors and work well together.

Nora Vidler-Blanksby is good at fundraising, Dr Andrew Binns at health care, me with money and policy, Georgina Cohen sports and Indigenous advice and Geof Webb is great at marketing. 

Elly Bird
Our ticket is our campaign team which includes myself, Gwen Trimble, Carlos Vieira-Silva, Deb Ray, Jyllie Jackson and Simon Clough. Diana Roberts and Trish Clough are also part of our team.

Our campaign has been funded by donations from candidates and from our families, donations from community supporters and from two community fundraising events. Our thanks to everyone who has supported us. 


My how things have changed: The Councillors who were voted in at the last election. Photo supplied.

If standing as an independent, do you have any affiliation with any political party, religious organisation or community group?

Patrick Healey
I am not religious and no one on my team is, except Geof Webb who is Uniting. We do not belong to any particular party or group.

Many of us are members of Tropical Fruits and I also sit on the board of Seed Arts, with Georgina Cohen, and the NORPA Foundation. Dr Binns belongs to many groups primarily health-related and especially in the Indigenous space. 

Elly Bird
Our Sustainable Future is a Northern Rivers based, totally grassroots, local government only micro-party and as such we are totally independent of big party politics. 

Vanessa Ekins
Standing as a Green with the 4 principles of grassroots democracy, ecological sustainability, social equity and peace and disarmament.

Big Rob
Fake news, no comment

Darlene Cook
N/A


 

The new mayor’s ‘home’ for the next two and a half years. Lismore City Council chambers in Goonellabah.

There is a great saying – ‘Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time
making it’ Are you good at admitting when you are wrong and changing your thoughts and
actions?

Vanessa Ekins
Council decisions are not made lightly and Councillors need to spend a minimum of 15 hours a week responding to our community and reading and understanding the serious documentation associated with government planning and policy.

A lot of work goes into preparing for Council meetings and we need to be open to different points of view, I have been wrong and changed my attitude to strategies such as recycled water and road maintenance.

Elly Bird
Yes. It can be challenging to admit when you are wrong but I am very willing to do so when I need to and I am able to move on from those mistakes 

Patrick Healey
Yes. I am very evidence-based in my decision making. When the evidence suggests you are wrong, it is time to follow that evidence rather than wasting money and effort trying to prop up a bad decision. 

Darlene Cook
Yes; while I will do a lot of research on a matter to inform my opinion, there have been a number of occasions when persuasive argument or provision of new evidence by others, led me to change my mind on an issue.

I am always happy to learn something new which adds to my life’s experiences.

Big Rob
Fake news, no comment


 

Current Mayor, Vanessa Ekins. ‘It’s very important to treat fellow councillors with respect, we all want the best for Lismore’.

What will be the first thing you will do when you are Mayor?

Darlene Cook
I’d like to bring all the newly elected councillors together in an informal setting, and speak
with them about how we can work together to improve the lives of our residents, support our business people, and revitalise our city and villages during our term of council.

I want us to work collaboratively to make our city a better place for us all to live and work.

Vanessa Ekins
Meet with all the Councillors and build relationships around what outcomes we want to achieve for our community and our mutual love of Lismore.

Patrick Healey
The mayor works with and through the general manager. So, I will meet with him for two main reasons. 1. To outline my policies and discuss the implementation of them. 2. To learn and hear from him the unique protocols of the role and getting myself up to speed. 

Elly Bird
Support newly elected Councillors to find their feet so that we can work well together and govern effectively for the benefit of our whole community.

There is a steep learning curve ahead of them and we will have at least seven new Councillors elected.

It’s very important that we establish good working relationships early so that we can shape our term to be productive and so that we can work together to strengthen the organisation and our community.  

Big Rob
Fake news, no comment

 

The responses to last month’s 20 Questions are below


Patrick Healey: ‘I’m independent of party politics and ideologies’

The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Candidates have until noon on Wednesday, November 3 to register with the NSW Electoral Commission. The Echo invited all of the Lismore mayoral candidates to a...

5

Cr Elly Bird: ‘I am so grateful that I am part...

Cr Elly Bird is running for Mayor on the Our Sustainable Future ticket and he has already served on Council for 5 years.

1

Steve Krieg: ‘I believe that there must be change’

The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Restaurateur Steve Krieg is running in the hopes of being Lismore's next Mayor.

11

Cr Darlene Cook: ‘working to restore accountability and trust in our...

Current Lismore Councillor Darlene Cook has served one term on Lismore Council and at the December LGA election, she plans to run for Mayor.

6

Big Rob: ‘no comment’

The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Candidates have until noon on Wednesday, November 3 to register with the NSW Electoral Commission.

6

Cr Vanessa Ekins: ‘I am loving being your Mayor’

The current Mayor of Lismore, Councillor Vanessa Ekins was elected as Lismore’s Mayor at a Lismore City Council meeting in February.

13


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Sadly only one councillor is standing against the north Lismore plateau development,

    The proposed 2000 lot developments which council is borrowing 30 million for the supporting infrastructure is estimated to pour 15000 car movements per day onto Dunoon road, north Lismore and the cbd

    Not sustainable especially when you do the sums that north Lismore plateau, invercauld road, cumbulam in ballina with Lennox head West Byron will need be serviced by a new dam in Dunoon,

    Finally to all these people who bang on about housing ra ra, is that at invercauld road and north Lismore plateau there is no provision, zilch for social housing while the development crew are standing to make hundreds of millions of dollars profit,

    Well maybe Ellie and Darlene will change their mind when they see the true cost of this stupidity and greed,

    Notwithstanding the destruction of a precious cultural and environmental place within 2ks from Lismore city

  2. Big Rob is an absolute embarrassment full stop. Doubt his bully followers are enough to build his numbers. Dismiss!!
    Don’t trust any of them without adequate experience and have to 100% agree with Al’s comment – there IS only one and she’s proven her worth

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