2022 candidate for Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council.
Heritage survey responses.
Do you think that Councils and community members need to have a greater voice in planning and development decisions affecting their local area?
YES. We are still learning the full implications of the new Development Code as opposed to the previous system of Council-specific Development Plans. With these, it was easy to see what was and wasn't possible, and how far a heritage listing would protect a property.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Councils should be 1. Aware to the possibility and keep alert to planned changes. 2. Ensure that all legislation is used appropriately to protect properties. 3. Explore what properties should be heritage-listed but aren't.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
As a historian and former developer, I am aware of all the heritage-listed properties in our Council area. I assisted with research when the Heritage Survey of Eight Lower North Towns was conducted in the early 1990s. I think the key is building community awareness, so that there is genuine pride and concern in the community of our heritage properties. An example in our Council area is the Manoora Institute - it is the only State Heritage-listed property owned by Council and yet it has been badly in need of a new roof for at least 20 years.
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
In the 1980s and 1990s there was a genuine appetite for heritage and listings. This has completely dropped out of view - community awareness, professional interest or whatever. It is crucial that properties that reflect our history are maintained and protected. But the majority of significant 19th Century properties have been identified. To add to listings now means a shift in what is perceived as heritage. In the 1990s it was difficult to have 1940s Art Deco houses "taken seriously". This also comes back to community awareness and education. Councils, heritage bodies can play a part in rectifying this.
How has the Planning and Design Code impacted on the heritage, amenity, and environment of your area? What changes would you seek to the Code?
I am still trying to understand the implications of the Code. In our area, unfortunately it is only when development of a heritage-listed property is proposed that we start to see what effect the Code has, and what can now be done.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
Infill in country areas is very different to cities. We are seeing many of our empty blocks being built on and in many cases the allotments are smaller, but there is still little appetite for extremely small blocks. In fill has to be managed carefully - many of our towns are flood prone and the general rule is that if a block has not been built on, there is often a very good reason - elevation, flooding, slope, shape.
Construction of new housing typically uses 30% labour and 70% materials. Renovation of existing housing stock typically uses 70% labour and 30% materials. What policy changes would you like to see made to encourage people to renovate, rather than demolish and build anew?
It's a great idea - and this is a statistic that helps influence such decisions. Again, I think community education plays a big role. Incentives to renovate would assist. There is a huge need for financial assistance to maintain heritage-listed properties.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
Signs on proposed sites. Advertisements and notifications.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
It is better than many more urban areas, but needs more.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
There is no protection for significant trees in regional areas, in my understanding. This should be changed.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
Council can't be involved if the regulations do not extend to regional areas.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
Grow more trees - our Council might need to investigate having its own nursery as there is currently no tree stock available. Incentives to residents to plant appropriately and designated public planting areas where everyone can get involved.
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
The main place where there are parlking and traffic problems is in the township of Clare as it has a bigger population. It is sited in a narrow valley and there is not enough level land - for houses, streets, parking, commercial and industrial development or a by-pass.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
We have almost no public transport. If the population continues to grow, this will improve, but unfortunately the option of a rail service has been removed. At least we have supported a consistent taxi service for the last 20 years. A heavy vehicle bypass is needed to improve the amenity of the main street but this is difficult to achieve.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
Public information sessions to educate people about the Planning Code. I have already broached this as a possibility for the residents of Mintaro, one of our heritage towns.
Increasing public awareness of our heritage properties so that people care more and have a greater sense of pride and ownership.
To develop a Climate Sustainability Plan as a Council document, within my first year in office.