Wednesday 27 February 2008

Yorkeys Porkys Pie

Nearly 100 residents crammed into the small under-funded Wattle Street community hall last evening in the beachside suburb of Yorkeys Knob.

It was an opportunity to see and hear their local Division 8 candidates along with those vying for the mayoralty.

This was the first time that all mayoral candidates have joined together for a debate in this election race that is now only 18 days away from the finish line.
Selwyn Johnston, Kevin Byrne, Peter Sandercock, and Val Schier gave their rendition of life under their leadership, which was followed by several questions from the floor.
Johnston spoke of a fairer rate system, and told the audience that Cairns was one of the highest taxed local authorities in the country. "More than Watson Bay in Sydney," he exclaimed. "Rubbish!" Mayor Byrne interjected.
Sandercock trumped out his reform agenda of chain gangs, death penalty and harder sentences because of the "terrible crime in this city."
Val Schier said it was about time that we had buildings that reflected the tropical environment. "Old Queenslanders embrace the climate, with large shade areas, natural ventilation, with no air conditioners. We could look at mandating this," she said. Mayor Byrne's response was swift. "We can't tell people how to live. We are a council all about choice."

Selwyn Johnston suggested that Schier’s team was Green, to which she responded: "I think we're all green now. Everyone has realised over the last few years how important it is that we look after the environment," she said. Schier said that there was evidence people were willing to pay more for property if they were energy efficient and better in tune with the environment. There was confusion about the amount. Schier said a survey stated that buyers would pay up to 15% more for a energy efficient home.

"Would you be willing to do this for some environmental sustainability issue?" asked Mayor Byrne. "I mean, on a $40,000 home, that's another $60,000 [sic]," he stated. "Now let’s be serious about this. This is not voodoo economics. We all have to be careful about the environment and all those sorts of things. Let's get the science and facts right and not go around throwing things in the air," said Byrne. "On $100,000, that's an extra $15,000," he concluded.

Schier explained how the real estate survey was conducted about paying more for a energy efficient house. This mirrrors a recent demonstration house that was opened in Redlynch Valley last month. The cost was an additional 11% more to include numerous features to keep electricity bills lower and embrace the natural environment and climate conditions.
Selwyn Johnston jumped into the discussion to say that rates are for the supply of services only. "Your rates are not to subsidise houses. That's a ridiculous suggestion to come out with. House affordability has nothing to do with local government," Johnston said.
Unfortunately, local Division 8 candidates were buried behind a barrage of questions aimed at the mayoral contenders.

Incumbent councillor Margaret Cochrane parted ways with the Mayor's Unity party sine the 2004 election to run as an independent, Dr Paul Matthews of Cairns 1st, and Denis Keffee of Byrne's Unity all had a few minutes to share their passions and beliefs.

Keffee, an Esplanade resident of Yorkeys Knob and proud apartment dweller, had not been along to the residents' association previously. He was invited to become a member by president Pam Bigelow and duly completed his form with $5 annual fee before leaving.

This is in contrast to local developer Julian Sutherland. The Yorkeys Knob Residents' Association wrote and invited the York 43 and Majestic Palms developer to join the residents' association at a meeting last year. He was offered a cuppa afterwards and encouraged to join the Association with the $5 annual membership fee, but rushed off, never to be seen again.

Amongst those gathered at the Yorkeys forum was Councillor Alan Blake; ABC personality and Yorkeys resident, Pat Morrish; Cairns Historian Dr Timothy Bottoms; Cairns 1st candidates Richie Bates and Janine Aitken, and former Cairns City Councillor, Ross Parisi.

The Yorkeys Knob forum concluded with social drinks and food. Lori's chocolate cake was to die for.

(NB: I'll load the YouTube video of this debate online later today.)


Anonymous said...

Nice to see the people of Yorkeys Knob understand the fundamentals of DEMOCRACY in that they invited all mayoral candidates to talk.
Not so, the fascists in the Cairns Chamber of Commerce and the Cairns Businesswomens Club who wouldn't allow the Independent Mayoral Candidates to talk.

Anonymous said...

I have checked out all the Web Sites of the Candidates standing for the Cairns Regional Council.
Not one of the Candidates said they had a policy on the water problem in Cairns.
We should not have any water rationing in Cairns,we have ample rainfall to service our city,it just has to be harnessed,also Tinaroo Dam is also available if required.Instead we have this current council setting uo a bogus
water entity in order to charge residents excess water charges.
Candidates for the new council should be prepared to promise that they will take steps to abolish exess water charges,this of course will not happen if Byrne and his gang get re-elected,it is to be hoped this does not happen,
Councillors should not be allowed to stand for more than two terms on any council.