How our councillors rate their progress - Daryl Dodt, Divison 4
LAST week we reminded Gympie region councillors, along with ourselves and our readers, what our representatives told us before we voted them in just over a year ago.
Now we publish what they say now about the ideals and values they expressed then.
Of 30 eager candidates who faced voters at the last Gympie Regional Council poll, there were only places for nine in the chamber (eight divisional councillors and the mayor).
They were answering questions which seemed at the time to sum up what people were asking us and which we had heard raised from the floor at candidates' forums.
The questions which we think retain the most continuing importance are:
1. What do you rate as the three top priorities for the current Gympie Regional Council?
2. What facilities and services does the Gympie region need more of?
3. What is your position on rates?
Their earlier answers told us what kind of candidates they were and what they stood for. One year on, their comments tell us how they think they and the council are going in achieving their objectives.
We continue now with the response of Daryl Dodt. Division 4
The three top priorities for the current Regional Council are to provide the community the natural place to 1. Live, 2. Work, and 3. Play.
Projects such as the Aquatic Centre, Mary Valley Rattler returning to service as at 1 December 2017, the continuing work on the rejuvenation of Mary St and other town, parklands, the Transit Center, the Youth Precinct, River and Rail walks, Heritage Trails, Canoe and Kayak strategy, the Solar Farm to name but a few are well known.
These projects directly pertain to my Environmental Sustainability and Special Projects portfolios and as such span all council portfolios, benefit all divisions, and were part of my election platform 12 months ago.
As the population, demographics and times change, more of the services and facilities I noted last year would be needed.
My perspective has gained a much clearer shape and richer content in the course of my first year of council experience. I am convinced that 'good councilor's performance' is not about working blindly through a personal 'Christmas list' of promises, but about contributing to good governance.
Firstly; good governance deals with relentless care for the daily services needed by the community to support a decent life. Not a spectacular program, but a demanding collective agenda that requires personal intelligence and commitment, a council agenda that can count on my day-to-day contribution.
Secondly; good governance implies the continuation of initiatives taken by previous councils: no half work, no abandoned investment. As such I am grateful and proud to have contributed at the finishing and inauguration of the Aquatic Center, the Lady Mary artwork etc - as good governance practice.
Thirdly: much more than by individual performances, good governance is fuelled by cooperation between all actors involved: the mayor and all councilors, the CEO and the team of civil servants, relevant stakeholders, interested community groups. If personal 'promises' are requested: to promote such cooperation in all my coming council work is my overarching promise.
Cooperation is an absolute necessity to realize a fourth aspect of good governance: transcending day-to-day concerns, investing in the future of our region. 'Special Projects'; think about the Mary Valley Rattler project which is at the same time promoting heritage revitalization, the upgrade of local centers and economies, sustainable tourism, renovation of an obsolete urban quarter, design of quality places, the programming of all kinds of large and small community events etc.
The same applies to several initiatives on their way in the CBD: Mary street plaza, Transit Center, Youth Precinct, Mary River Walk, etc.
Again, the formulation and realization of such convergent projects is not a matter of political 'promises'. It is a matter of collective engagement, cooperative efforts, commercial and community support.
My position on rates has not changed. I expect rates to be affordable, but to provide the funds needed for the bread and butter of local government.
We have an area about 3 times and a population about 1/6 that of the Sunshine Coast Region, yet our rates are not 18 times that of the Sunshine Coast.
Considering the population and area we need to service, our rates are very affordable, and we get to live in an uncrowded, beautiful environment with services unrivalled by neighbouring councils. We get 400 MW of service from a few AAA batteries of rates.
For a full outline of my 'promises' and personal commitments, please refer to www.facebook.com/dd4d4/