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Blue Mountains City Council Election - Questionnaire Response

WARD 4


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There are 4 "lead" candidates in Ward 4. The candidates' full response to our questionnaire is listed below. Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot paper.

Note: Kate McConville appears as Kate Mathews-McConville on the ballot paper.

PREFACE

What follows is a tabulation of the candidate's responses to the questionnaire to allow a comparison. Each question, except Question 13 and “Personal conservation goals”, has an implicit preface of  "As a BMCC Councillor I will".

Candidates were asked to answer each question with a "yes" or "no" - there being no assumed answer if left blank. The last item on the questionnaire - a statement of personal conservation values - is provided first.

Personal conservation values

If elected, what will you do for the environment? Outline one or more projects/issues that you intend to work on ? – limit 100 words. 

Brendan Christie  (Liberal)

no response

Matt Hodgson  (Australia First)

Scrap the green bins, encourage backyard composting.

Kate McConville The (Greens)

The Blue Mountains and its green leafy streetscapes and villages, faces environmental and direct threats from climate change, successive state governments seeking to implement planning law reforms that are pro-developer and erode environmental protections and community consultation, population growth targets and the proposed Western Sydney Airport. 

I'm a grassroots greeny and good at getting people to work together on the big issues as well as acting locally (encouraging composting, water saving, bushcare and energy efficiencies in homes). 

The council needs to be a role model, not just having renewable energy targets, but having the infrastructure in place that reflects this direction, ie facilitating residents using public transport, all council buildings using renewable energy (for example) and support for the community to follow suit. 

We need to be having discussions about minimising the impact of climate change on our picturesque but vulnerable landscape with initiatives and maintenance that will ensure the protection and conservation of the Blue Mountains World Heritage listed area so it will be around for future generations. 

Think Global act Local

Mark Greenhill  (Labor)

I will continue what I have done as Mayor.
I will continue to oppose an airport at Badgery’s Creek.
I will continue to fight for our Local Environment Plan.
I will continue to support character housing.
I will oppose state government policies that encourage sprawl.
I will oppose increased densities.
I will support measures that protect our bushland.
I will support measures that aim to maintain world heritage listing.
I will support measures that aid in keeping our waterways clean.
I will continue the policy introduced under my term as Mayor that is cutting landfill by a third.
I will support a ban on coal seam gas mining anywhere in the Blue Mountains.

Natural areas - Bushland protection and restoration

1. Support Council's current funding to Bushcare and Bush regeneration activities:

a) being maintained

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First  
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes, but I would prefer to increase the budget

b) being increased

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes, subject to considering officer’s advice

Postamble:  The 2016-17 budget for bushcare funds 1 full time and 6 part time positions and the bush regeneration budget supports 6 full time positions.

2. Support an increase in the Noxious Weeds program by extending the number of catchments targeted each year, and by providing more private property weed education and advice.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes, subject to considering advice

3. Support Council maintaining its budget for bushwalking track maintenance and development, using Nature Based Recreation Licence Fees for additional work and actively pursuing opportunities for additional Commonwealth and State funding.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes

 

Enforcement of Environmental Regulations

4. Support Council taking a strong and consistent approach to enforcement of breaches of environmental regulations:

a) by taking legal action against illegal clearing of natural bushland

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes

b) by initiating the establishment of a specialist environmental enforcement unit of suitably trained staff

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal No – through training of staff
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes, I would support this, subject to considering advice

 

5. Support the development and implementation of a Council Land Encroachment Policy to address degradation of bushland reserves caused by the use of this land by neighbouring private landholders.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes. Very much so.

Postamble:  Currently there are issues of residents degrading Council bushland reserves adjacent to their properties by using the land to park vehicles, stockpile materials, locate trampolines, dispose of garden waste, or mowing etc.

Waste

6. Support

a) the introduction of a financial incentive for residents to compost their own waste

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal No
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes subject to a state or federal grant

b) the re-introduction of Council educational programs to encourage a range of waste minimisation practices

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes

 

7. Promote change to the waste collection systems for businesses in order to encourage reuse and re-cycling.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes, subject to a state or federal grant

Postamble:  Commercial properties are not provided with the same recycling services as residents, and there is no incentive for businesses to recycle waste.

 

Planning and development

a) all existing provisions aimed at minimising environmental impacts of new development

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes

b) all areas currently mapped as Protected Areas.

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes

 

c) all areas currently zoned environmental protection (E2).
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes
Postamble:  The LEP 2015 governs how and where new development can proceed, and what environmental standards new developments must meet. This LEP must be reviewed and updated in the next few years.)

9. Oppose the State Government imposing a new housing target on the Blue Mountains, designed to increase the housing stock in order to accommodate Sydney’s growing population.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes. I will oppose this state government plan as I have throughout my Mayoralty

10. Oppose any future re-zoning of land aimed at increasing the areas available for medium density housing development.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes. I support Conservation Society in this matter entirely.
Postamble:  Some submissions during the development of LEP 2015, mainly from developers, advocated extending the medium density housing zone, R3, by rezoning land adjacent to the village centres. This is despite the Council Residential Strategy 2010 concluding that there is adequate vacant residential lots to meet expected population forecasts, and that current opportunities for medium density development are under-utilised.)

11. Protect the built heritage and large garden and bushland lots of the Blue Mountains townships by supporting the village precinct objectives and proposed R6 Residential Character Conservation Zone in LEP 2015.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes. As Mayor, I lead the delegations to see the Minister and lock this zoning in.
Postamble:  The Blue Mountains towns are famous for their large lot residential areas featuring older character housing, 'leafy green streets' and display gardens as well as natural bushland. Some submissions during the development of LEP 2015 opposed the introduction of R6.)

12. Oppose the introduction of the SP3 Tourism Zone which will increase the opportunities for large-scale, resort-style tourism development
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal No
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor I do not support further, large scale development in the Blue Mountains.
Postamble:  Tourism in the Blue Mountains is currently characterised by locally owned and operated small-scale accommodation and nature and heritage-based activities. This ensures that visual and natural amenity, environmental protection and World Heritage values are preserved, and that the tourist dollar stays in the local community.

13. Will you publicly and strongly support Council’s current position opposing:

a) Coal Seam Gas exploration and extraction in the Local Government Area.

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes. As Mayor I have advocated a No Coal Seam Gas policy.

b) The transport of nuclear waste through the Blue Mountains.

Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes. As Mayor I renewed our status as a nuke free zone that reinforced our opposition to the transport of nuclear material through the Mountains.

 

c) The building of an airport at Badgerys Creek in Western Sydney.
Candidate Party Response
Brendan Christie Liberal Yes
Matt Hodgson Aust. First Yes
Kate McConville Greens Yes
Mark Greenhill Labor Yes. As Mayor, I have led the Council’s fight against the airport. The motions opposing it were from my Mayoral Min