Roads and telecoms focus for Kirby
ALTHOUGH it’s not her first time holding the office, with just over three months in Cr Helena Kirby’s current mayoral experience under her belt, she said this term has already proved to be one like no other.
In addition to dealing with the trials of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cr Kirby said it’s been challenging to take on the role at the start of a new council term.
“This time around being the mayor in the first term of a new council is difficult because many councilors are new and learning, so you’re there to provide guidance and help them,” she said.
“They’re all picking it up really quickly, which is good because there’s so much involved with local government, we’ve already had a couple of Zoom meetings but it’s a challenge making sure you’ve got the internet connection right.
“Although, we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had a long total lockdown like we did last year, but it’s important we continue with our social distancing and protocols to keep it that way.”
Taking into account her previous experience, and current time, as mayor, Cr Kirby said the best part of the job is being able to meet and listen to the people of the Shire.
“If it’s a small issue or if it’s a large issue, being able to take that on board and coming to a good solution between that person or party and council is really satisfying,” she said.
“We’re voted in by our ratepayers, so we have to make sure we’re listening to them and weigh up what’s right and what’s manageable for the Shire.
“It’s really interesting to listen to everyone’s different challenges particularly at the moment talking to them about the council plan for the next four years.”
With the start of a new council term comes a new council plan that for the first time will include feedback and suggestions from the community.
Cr Kirby said she’s excited to hit the ground running with the key directional document and start working on some of the big issues around the Shire.
“It’s going to be great to hear what expectations the residents are going to be asking of us and what we can put into the plan for them,” she said.
“We do get the same issues around the Shire, I’ve been hearing them for a long time, a lot of them are transport, roads, basic infrastructure like drainage and we have been working really hard as a council to try and change some of the ways we do things for the better.
“There’s so many issues out there that we as a Shire have to deal with moving forward because we have so many new residents moving to our Shire and we have to lift our game.”
In addition to issues of basic infrastructure, Cr Kirby said after 2020, she’s keen to flag improvement for telecommunications services for residents around the Shire.
“A lot of people now are working from home and are advocating for better services and infrastructure for their mobile phones, computers and broadband,” she said.
“We need to let the State and Federal Governments know where we’re lacking and put one foot in front of the other.
“I’ll be working hard for the next twelve months and see to some of the challenges that the community raised, and I will put my hand up and rally for residents.”