City of Greater Geraldton council hopefuls face up to pressing issues ahead of local government election

Staff ReportersGeraldton Guardian
Cr Jerry Clune (rear left), Mike Reymond, Ron Bertelsen, Derek Goforth, Cr Victor Tanti (front left), Cr Natasha Colliver and Michael Librizzi are among the City of Greater Geraldton 2021 election candidates.
Camera IconCr Jerry Clune (rear left), Mike Reymond, Ron Bertelsen, Derek Goforth, Cr Victor Tanti (front left), Cr Natasha Colliver and Michael Librizzi are among the City of Greater Geraldton 2021 election candidates. Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

Tomorrow is the last day to cast your vote for who you want to represent you on the City of Greater Geraldton council. We quizzed the 13 candidates on hot issues for residents and ratepayers across Geraldton, Mullewa, Greenough and Walkaway.

1 What would your top three priorities for Geraldton be if elected?

2 How should Geraldton sell itself to the world?

3 Are rates too high?

4 What is something people might not know about you?

5 What is your COVID-19 vaccination status, and should the City take more of a role promoting vaccinations?

6 Chapman Road’s “tactical urbanisation pilot project” — success or failure?

7 Will you be supporting or opposing some of the projects coming to council soon, namely the Rollerdrome redevelopment and microbrewery on Fitzgerald Street?

8 What tune will always get you up on the dance floor?

Natasha Colliver
Camera IconNatasha Colliver Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Natasha Colliver

1 Liveability and visitability — continuing to shape Geraldton as a great place to live, work and invest, and a great place to visit. Net zero carbon emissions by 2030 — great opportunities to be had in a net zero economy and being infrastructure-ready to attract new industries

2 Its liveability — big enough to have a good range of services and still small enough to be able to have the beach to yourself, great cafe and beach culture, beautiful natural assets, and it only takes 10 minutes to get from one side of town to the other and it’s the tourism gateway to all on offer north, south, east and west of us.

3 No.

4 I was a Los Amigos girl in the late 80s early 90s, and I have great “loss a memories” from those days.

5 I am fully vaccinated. Vaccination promotion is already a crowded space and having one reliable and science-based source of information for promoting vaccinations is key to its success, so I don’t think that local government has a greater role to play.

6 We are like three weeks into a 12-month trial ... give it a chance.

7 Planning decisions are governed by legislation, therefore there is not a lot of scope to be subjective with decision making. So what decision you would like to make and what decision you can make are often two different things. Council is yet to see all the information on both of these proposals so until they actually come before council, it is impossible to say.

8 Blister in the Sun — Violent Femmes.

Zain Laudehr
Camera IconZain Laudehr Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Zain Laudehr

1 Housing: We need to work with our government departments to fast-track the revitalisation of empty public housing or provide support for our local community dealing with housing issues. Youth: Rock-throwing and issues in the city with young people. Provide a safe space for young people to attend and to work with the local police and youth services and more support and program for our rural communities such as Mullewa. A town revitalisation project to get the community involved in the beautification of their town.

2 Our beautiful coastline, wildflowers, mountain ranges, include not just the city of Geraldton but our surrounding small towns such as the railway museum at Nanson, art gallery in Mullewa, wildflowers etc. Take a fresh look.

3 Yes, I do believe our rates are too high but with the growing economy and our community wanting more out of our City, I do see why they have been raised. But firstly I would say they are too high and we need to find another way to gain funds for community projects and infrastructure rather than heavily relying on rate increases to cover the market gap.

4 I am engaged and soon to be married to my forever partner Hayden May in less than six weeks.

5 I am currently half-vaccinated and a week after the elections will be fully vaccinated. I believe the City can provide support to those already lobbying for vaccinations but also believe in human rights and I do not think vaccinations should be mandatory.

6 Failure for sure. As a person who travels through the area regularly, I can see what the idea was but it was definitely proposed for the wrong area of road. The traffic being backed up every day and lack of space to await changing traffic lights and access in and out of buildings in the area is now more difficult. Great concept, wrong space.

7 Rollerdrome: I will be supporting this project although we still need to listen to the concerns of those opposing it and work with consultants to help create a plan that will work for all.

Microbrewery: I think the concept of a microbrewery in Geraldton is great and fully support this. I just think the proposed site for this is not the right space. If I were to attend a microbrewery, I think a more central location is needed. Although it is within the CBD area it is still amongst residential housing and across from a school.

8 This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan, my absolute dance anthem since a teen.

Michael Librizzi
Camera IconMichael Librizzi Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

Michael Librizzi

1 Continued support of community organisations through grant assistance or other means, continued focus to press government to fast-track tourism at the Abrolhos, and a continued push and council support for innovation and renewable initiatives that provide employment and training opportunities.

2 A great place to invest, work, live and play.

3 Rates are a necessary evil. Ratepayers want to see improved infrastructure, services and facilities, and rates is where most of the money comes from to deliver on this. Rates should be set at a level that covers this, and not to put the council into a profit situation.

4 I haven’t grown since year 10 — got a bit wider, just not taller!

5 I’m fully vaccinated and whilst I appreciate there is choice whether to get the jab, I would like to see more promotion and more people vaccinated so when COVID does get here the hospitals aren’t over run by patients that had the opportunity to be vaccinated and that are absorbing our limited intensive care beds.

6 Part of the trial was aimed at improving pedestrian and cyclist safety. I see several hazards that have been introduced. Based on these observations then it is a F (at this stage of the trial).

7 If elected, what I will be doing is a lot of reading and getting all the information to make an objective decision. I am sure there is a mechanism in council to postpone making decisions on these projects considering that potentially seven new councillors may come on board and have not been privy to all the discussions. This way all can cast an informed vote.

8 Anything from Cold Chisel gets the blood running!

Eva Svanberg
Camera IconEva Svanberg Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

Eva Svanberg

1 Environment, youth engagement and CBD vibrancy.

2 The natural attractions are fantastic — beaches, wildflowers, the islands — but we also have great local food, and I’d love to see more promotion of the arts.

3 They are very high in comparison to other towns and cities.

4 I have a delightful puppy called Margot.

5 I’ve had both doses of Pfizer. I don’t think it’s really the City’s role to promote vaccinations but it couldn’t hurt.

6 My office is on this part of Chapman Road. I like the art and plants but while I haven’t personally had any issues driving on it, I’m not sure how it goes for caravans and larger vehicles.

7 The Rollerdome I support. I have reservations about the location with respect to the microbrewery. I think it would be better somewhere like the old Radio Theatre.

8 I Will Survive!

Mal Kelly
Camera IconMal Kelly Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

Mal Kelly

1 The eradication and control of invasive weeds in our city. Community involvement in projects that enhance the city’s appeal as both a place to live and visit and worthwhile projects for youth development. Projects that simply take our youth off the streets just don’t cut it.

2 Before we can capture the world we need to capture WA and the rest of Australia. There are undoubtedly historic aspects of the

area that need to be promoted.

3 Of course we will always consider rates to be too high. However, considering the increasing cost of the services the City provides we are probably doing OK in this area.

4 I have four adult children who I love and support very much. They have been a great boon to me since my wife (their mother) passed away suddenly earlier this year. Family will always come first.

5 I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The City should always do all it can to enhance public health within the parameters of its power; this is particularly true in

the current COVID-19 pandemic.

6 Considering all the comments I have heard and read, the resounding impression is that it is a failure. I have also come to the conclusion from the comments that the project itself is not necessarily a failure but that the design is a failure.

7 I will support any project that has a positive effect for the City and its people. Any project I support will need to be well presented and defensible under all aspects of town planning, environment and the effect on local residents and business.

8 I have a swag of medals in ballroom, old-time and Latin so there is a lot that got me up to dance in the past. I love all forms of music, except maybe hip-hop and the real heavy metal.

Ron Bertelsen
Camera IconRon Bertelsen Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Ron Bertelsen

1 Helping the City devise and implement a homelessness strategy, helping the City achieve a zero carbon footprint, and tourism at the Abrolhos Islands.

2 Geraldton should use its natural beauty and resources (sun, surf, wind, fishing) to attract people from around the world. It is a great family place to be.

3 Simple answer is yes. A complicated question is how we might be able to lower them and maintain and improve the city.

4 I love playing competition pool on Monday nights.

5 I am fully vaccinated. I think we need to follow the Federal and State governments on this as they are setting the benchmarks

6 At this stage, failure.

7 Personally, I am in favour of both these projects, although there may have to be some alterations and further investigations into the proposals prior to approval.

8 Only time I have been on the dance floor is with my wife for our wedding waltz.

Victor Tanti
Camera IconVictor Tanti Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

Victor Tanti

1 Push for mainstream and managed tourism on the Abrolhos which must include a longer hard airstrip on East Wallabi Island and ecologically friendly accommodation in at least two locations, getting the budget into surplus as soon as possible, and convincing Main Roads the Geraldton bypass would be best routed along the former railway corridor/Webberton Road rather than through Moonyoonooka.

2 As a high-class tourist destination with the Abrolhos as the hook. We have everything else — great beaches, history, wildflowers, lovely climate and hinterland.

3 People cannot compare Geraldton with anywhere in or near Perth. Almost all our roads are local so must be maintained by the City and people want services such as the pool and Queens Park Theatre. We can’t say “we don’t have a pool but the next town does” when the next town is Perth.

4 I have a Footrot Flats collection.

5 Haven’t had the jab yet but will, and not the City’s job to promote a medical/health issue.

6 Year-long trial so too early to say. Everything in place now can be removed and

it’s basically funded by an RAC grant. I think it will be a success with some tweaking.

7 No to the Rollerdrome as it’s now a solidly residential area — there’s better locations. Emphatic yes to the microbrewery.

8 It never gets played, but Private Idaho by The B-52’s.

Derek Goforth
Camera IconDerek Goforth Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Derek Goforth

1 Improve and add to our cycle path network and our mountain bike tracks, improve our infrastructure for our youth in our region — PCYC is great but is too small — and build on our current infrastructure to provide facilities for families to enjoy our foreshore and suburbs.

2 Geraldton is perfectly situated to be the renewable energy capital of the world — wind, solar, geothermal are all at our fingertips.

The Mid West is also in prime position to be a tourist mecca. We can utilise our unique weather and market ourselves as the perfect sport and recreation holiday destination in WA. Geraldton needs a jetty to rival Busselton’s.

3 Our rates are high, no doubt, but there have been several legitimate reasons for this. We need to focus on managing our spending and being fiscally responsible to keep the rates manageable.

4 I once worked as a festival steward back in the UK. I had the pleasure of working backstage, and handed a bottle of water to none other than the great Johnny Cash.

5 I’m fully jabbed but I don’t think we need to do anything to promote. There is enough pressure to make a decision as it is, let’s leave this up to the Health Department.

6 I do like the idea but I don’t think its been executed properly. I like the quirkiness of it and the fact it promotes local art, but its positioning is off.

7 There needs to be much more thought and planning going into the Rollerdrome/ youth development — its complicated and I don't think the current location is ideal. More community consultation is needed.

The microbrewery is a great idea, as long as it is done properly and safely.

8 YMCA ... every time!

Steve Cooper
Camera IconSteve Cooper Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Steve Cooper

1 Support initiatives to grow tourism in the city and region, build the bike path from Drummond Cove to Greenough, and build a small marina and boat ramp north of the city at Whitehill Road in Drummonds.

2 As the gateway to the exciting Abrolhos Islands tourism experiences on offer, soon to increase in a managed, eco-friendly and inclusive manner. The Abrolhos Islands have an international story to tell.

3 No I don’t believe so, as long as gouging doesn’t occur. If we want to maintain and grow our facilities, services and infrastructure, then reasonable rate rises are inevitable.

4 I’m currently doing some business development work for Access to Leisure and Sport, particularly around access and inclusion to tourism experiences for people with disabilities.

5 I’m double-vaccinated and I believe any communication about vaccination is the responsibility of the State Government.

6 We have to remember this is a pilot project, early in its implementation. People are rightly having their say and the City will make decisions based on this feedback. For me it’s important we give new ideas an opportunity and work from there.

7 I’m not privy to the applications made to council and therefore can’t comment.

8 Anything by Fleetwood Mac or The Rolling Stones.

Peter Morton
Camera IconPeter Morton Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Peter Morton

1 Community, lifestyle and the economy.

2 The Geraldton region could sell itself firstly on a tourism front as “the ocean meets the bush” with its pristine coastline, and the bush and wildflowers just a drive away.

Promote it as a lifestyle location for FIFO workers, families and retirees. It’s a Mid West hub on the rise with a growing economy and great facilities.

3 There is a perception that rates revenue is not evenly spread through the community and the foreshore gets all the attention. I think rates should at least flatline and some regional concerns need to be addressed. Maybe some system of value-adding to rate revenue could be explored to take the burden off ratepayers.

4 I laugh when I hear about the refugee boat people because I came here on a boat 55 years ago and now have a diploma in the region.

5 I’m fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca. Yes, what they can do is to help vulnerable people in our community and get people who want to get vaccinated done and move on. It’s a community issue.

6 It’s a fixable failure — good concept, wrong road.

7 Support the Rollerdrome because anything that helps keep our youth off the streets and into jobs is good for the community. As for the microbrewery, I would support it with guidelines to protect the school concerns.

8 Nutbush City Limits and Honky Tonk Women, among many.

Jerry Clune
Camera IconJerry Clune Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

Jerry Clune

1 Recycling, roads, responsible management.

2 Sshh, it’s a secret!

3 Of course they are.

4 I do like a good joke.

5 Had my two Astra jabs. Don’t duplicate the role of State Government responsibilities.

6 Give it time, please.

7 Those decisions will be made following the reports presented to councillors during normal council meetings.

8 Joy to the World by Three Dog Night (the opening line has a bullfrog with my name!)

Jennifer Critch was unable to return her questionnaire at this time. Mike Reymond declined to participate.

HOW TO VOTE

Election packages have been posted to all enrolled electors, with the deadline for completed packages 6.00pm tomorrow.

Ballots not already mailed can be hand delivered to the City of Greater Geraldton Administration Building on Cathedral Avenue, Geraldton, or to the Mullewa District Office on the corner of Thomas and Padbury Street, Mullewa, during business hours today prior to election day or to the Geraldton office on Election Day prior to the close of poll.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails