THE Port News’ COUNCILLOR CANDIDATEQuestion Time starts todayand willuntil the electionon September 8.
How our Question Time will work:
After asking for feedback from the public,we have narrowed down the three mainissues to get the candidates to respond on.
This weekeach councillor and mayoral candidate hasthe opportunity to outline their stance (in
100 words or less) on roads and potholes.
We will run the responses from each of thecandidates over our three editions onMonday, Wednesday and Friday.
Next week (Week 2) we will run the candidatesresponses to the issue of TheGlasshouse and general council spendingpolicy.
In Week 3, we will gather their insights onbusiness and jobs.
All of their responses will also appear in ourprint editions.
The Vision Test:As aseparate exercise along a similarlythemed idea, the Port News has devised aseries of questions after our public consultation.
We have come up with 22 questions fromthe public feedback aimed at providing abroader insight into each candidate.
Candidates have the option of respondingwith 150 words to each question: we willthen publish those responses online in full.
The aim of the exercise is to provide everycandidate equal opportunity to respondwith their personal insights.
We have asked each candidate to ensureeach response is kept to a maximum of 100
words. Any answers beyond the 100-wordlimit will be cut from the bottom.
We are running the answers in the orderthat they have been returned to us at thenewspaper.
The online responses will begin next week.
You, the voting public, will be able tomake comments online to continue to haveyour say and let the council candidatesknow what you think.
Our upcoming election coverage over thenext three weeks will include how to voteinformation, press releases from candidates,plus the expert coverage of LISA TISDELLon all the latest breaking news.
You also have the option of writing LettersTo The Editor to help keep the feedbackgoing in the run-up to this crucial election.
First up we askedcouncil candidates for their stance on "roads and potholes" in 100 words or less. The first 11 responses of the 32 candidates are as follows:
Where there are roads then there will be potholes, a fact of life.
The busiest roads are the first priority to be maintained. There will always be a backlog of maintenance because no regional council has enough money in the budget.
For the future it will be important to have a better public transport system - more frequent, dependable, subsidised - and good cycleways. Both of these will ease pressure on the road system. I know that these ideas also use money. However public transport and cycling will become one of the 21st century's trends.
There needs to be a better process on prioritising the roads in the Greater Port Macquarie area.
Council at the moment is overwhelmed by the amount of repairs needed and can not cope.
There is a need for council to acquire funding from State and Federal Governments to meet the immediate needs to catch up.
I would push for sub-contractors to be involved in the large jobs and this in it self would cut costs.
This would alleviate the problem of council resources being spread too short that require attention yesterday.
(Mayoral and councillor candidate)
Keith Wilkinson said our roads are in an appalling state of disrepair and as a high priority has vowed to fix the situation.
"These roads are dangers and the holes are quite deep and someone is going to get hurt or worse".
The council's model for funding is broken.
We all need to start thinking strategically and laterally.
Therefore, I intend to work cooperatively and closely with Federal and State Government representatives and the Mid North Coast Group of Councils to source alternative funding e.g: secure a greater share of the State Government's GST.
There is no easy solution to this issue which affects the entire community.
It is not just the inconvenience they are dangerous.
It will take a lot of time and money and many councils to come to solve this problem.
We need a strategy to systematically replace or properly repair the roads beginning with the worst and working through them until they are all of an acceptable standard or better.
All available funding needs to be directed towards this problem.
The poor attempts at patching potholes is both costly and pointless.
As I am sure many would agree, our road network is in a sad and sorry state. How we address the issue of road maintenance needs to fit into an overall theme of efficiency in how Council carries out its day-to-day operations. I believe Council will need to reassess how it tackles the upkeep of our roads - our next councillors will need to ask the following questions:
* How efficiently are staff, resources and time being used?
* Are we consulting the community effectively on how road repairs are being handled?
* Are ratepayers getting good value for money?
I, like many residents in our region, am concerned with the current state of our roads which not only includes the disrepair but the lack of quality repair and resurfacing of our local roads.
If elected, I intend to seek a comparative review involving the construction and maintenance cost undertaken by council staff and that of contractors including the quality of such work and whether ratepayers are obtaining best value for money and the work meets Australian standards.
Furthermore I also await the outcome of the NSW Government's green paper which includes infrastructure planning and costs for local government areas.
(Mayoral and councillorcandidate)
The decline must stop.
This is the mostcomplained about issuewhich I hear aboutevery day. It isconcerning that amotorist would choosean upgraded dirt road inpreference to ourbitumen.
The previousadministrator did somequick fixes.
One of the roads Idrive on was resurfacedand within a couple ofmonths the road had
sheered through,meaning the road has tobe done again.
This becomes a highcost to council andprevents more workbeing done and work
should be done as amatter of safety.
A councillor's jobis to instruct the highlyqualified staff toallocate funding tograde roads and fillevery potholeimmediately to stop thefurther destruction ofthe road infrastructure.
Then the resurfacingrepairs will account forabout 30 per cent of thecouncil funds for thenext 10 years to returnroads to a goodcondition.
Serious questionsregarding council’sability to continueborrowing millions ofdollars to repairinfrastructure when thestate’s funding onlypays the first 4 per centof the infrastructure butleaves a growing debt.
More rate rises areunacceptable and nocost grants from state
and federal are unlikely.
(Mayoral and councillorcandidate)
I’d audit the roads andprioritise the need forattention. Fill the mostdangerous potholes asa stop-gap safetymeasure and grade thedirt roads in theHastings.
Budget to tear up andreseal bad roads one byone.
All roads which aretorn up and resealedwould be done with aview to getting at least20 years service fromthem.
This would probablymean concrete for hightraffic volume roadswhich is expensive, butwould work out cheaperdue to the longevity ofconcrete construction.
It would take time,but would be worth it inthe long run.
My platformemphasises a re-focusby council on the threeR’s - roads, rates andrubbish.
I cannot praise highlyenough the state of theart waste managementfacility operated by
However the roadsare obviously anotherstory altogether.
The number onerequirement whenaddressing the localroads issue is that we
have to be realistic.
Council has over1300km of roadsdispersed over a largegeographic area.
Because of council’scurrent financialpredicament, we can’texpect miracles but
council will need toprioritise roads overother grandioseschemes and growthfor its own sake.
This is the No 1 issuefor most councilresidents.
■Worsened by ourweather patternreturning to a muchwetter environment.
(i) immediate - a coordinatedrepairprogram compiled withreference to council’srecent audit of its roadsnetwork maximisingbest use of the limitedfinances available;
(ii) mid term - use bestavailable alternativesand advice tocompetently completeplanned projects.
Would involveoutsourcing to externalproven contractorsusing proper
(iii) long term - breakthe current fundingdisaster and proactivelypursue a better fundingmodel.
■ The over-archinggoal is to get ahead ofthe problem.
Potholes are a common sight on roads in the Hastings.
Local Government elections will be held on September 8.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.