Meet your council candidates: Torquay Ward, Surf Coast Shire

October 8, 2020 BY
Maurice Cole.

Maurice Cole

Occupation: Surfboard surfer/designer/shaper

Where do you live?  Torquay/Bellbrae

How long have you lived in your ward? I first moved to Torquay in 1972, spent 12 years in France , so a total of about 30 years

What’s your involvement with the community? I am a founding member of the Greater Torquay Alliance , Currently President of the Bells Beach Preservation Society , and have helped fight for Saving Bells Beach from Development . Have always been a vocal community voice when confronted with unmitigated development.

What’s your political allegiance? I have none except in serving the community and being a Community first voice against the Political party’s lust for development

Who will you preference? Currently still working on finding out which candidates have no political  allegiances , but Liz Paterson with Rob Bullen are so far looking likely to be on a Independent Community alliance/collaboration ticket.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support?  I am self funded and have put aside $10,000

What are the most important issues in your ward? The most important issue I see , is the lack of trust in our current Council and Council officers.  I am a passionate advocate for no commercial development at Bells Beach. The current issue of the elevated walkway to be built at Winkipop as permanent Contest Infrastructure , has highlighted the fact that Developers lobby at a State level , are then sent to the Council officers who then help them through the local  administrative process’s , then they make recommendations to Council . Our current Council is completely dysfunctional , because of the various political allegiances who put their political party’s policy’s ahead of their community’s needs!…..A comprehensive  Impact study needs be done urgently on the future needs of the SCS community , enviroment/economic/lifestyle/culture to see the affects that they will have on 40000 residents in Torquay , and 65000 residents in Armstrong Creek who are part of our community as they will use our beaches and local Infrastructure. Council promised an impact statement , but now they are trying to stop an impact study being done……how do we cater for 100000 plus residents and do we need more development ? The creation of a group of Independent Community first Councilors  that will work with the  current community groups can be achieved , so we can take back control of OUR council.

Amber Potter.

Amber Potter

Occupation: Travel Consultant

Where do you live? Torquay

How long have you lived in your ward? 12 years

What’s your involvement with the community? Vice President at Surf Coast Suns, Committee Member Grovedale Little Athletics, Volunteer at Torquay Food Aid, previously School Council President at Torquay College

What’s your political allegiance? NA

Who will you preference? I will preference other candidates with similar values, people with strong connections to our community.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? I hosted an online Trivia night and also some friends ran a raffle.

What are the most important issues in your ward? After what has been a challenging year in the lives of many of us, I hope if elected I could encourage the council to focus on ways that support our community and to make the Surf Coast Shire residents feel heard and valued on a range of issues.
Looking at healthy ways to support social inclusion, people are my focus – we need to get this right.
Residents aged over 60 make up a large part of the community, this is close in comparison to people aged under 18 in the Torquay Ward.
I hope to explore ways we can mesh these age groups together and create great outcomes for both demographics.
One example has been boys from the local high school visiting the Torquay Men’s Shed weekly. These kinds of activities enhance valuable learning and build lasting relationships.
The support of The Arts is extremely important and local events need to be a key community focus. This allows businesses and artists to hopefully recover from this year.
I will continue to listen, educate and inform myself about the importance of our amazing coastline. I would like to work with you, not just for you.

Kate Gazzard.

Kate Gazzard

Occupation:  Paediatric doctor (advanced trainee working at Geelong and the Royal Children’s Hospitals)

Where do you live?  Jan Juc

How long have you lived in your ward? Two years – I grew up in Golden Plains Shire then moved to Melbourne for my medical training. I have always wanted to live on the coast and now my partner Ed and I are lucky enough to own a house here with our chooks, bees and veggie garden.

What’s your involvement with the community? I consider myself an activist, and have been involved in many of the climate action rallies, school strikes and the paddle out for Fight for the Bight. I help to clean up rubbish along our coastline including the recent #coronacleanup with A Cleaner Coast. I am a member of the Torquay District Landcare Group, Surfrider Foundation and Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment, and I am a committee member on medical and charity groups including Doctors for the Environment Australia (Barwon branch).

What’s your political allegiance? Australian Greens

Who will you preference? Liz Pattison, Maurice Cole, Rob Bullen

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? $3,725 from our Surf Coast  Greens branch and $1,650 from the Victorian Greens State Office to match our fundraising efforts, which is a total of $5,375. This has been used for corflutes, leaflets and digital advertising.

What are the most important issues in your ward? Climate change and government inaction on the climate crisis. Inappropriate development of Spring Creek and Bells Beach. Waste management: the need for more composting of organic waste and improvement to the existing recycling system and farming waste. Protecting our oceans from plastic pollution. Greater investment in arts and culture, supporting local businesses and artists

Martin Duke.

Martin Duke

Occupation: Councillor/Uni Tutor/Optical Dispenser

Where do you live? Torquay on the beautiful Surfcoast!

How long have you lived in your ward?  I’ve holidayed  since the 80’s and moved to Torquay 30yrs ago.

What’s your involvement with the community? For the last 4 years, my major involvement has been as a very active and passionate councillor for Torquay.
I am a Torquay CFA volunteer with 29 years service.
Operating our family business over 21 years (Surf Sight Optical) I established many strong community and business connections. Some of the main ones have been: 10 years on the Trader’s Committee
15 years with 1st Torquay Scout Group
Torquay Theatre Troop
School Boards
Relay for Life

What’s your political allegiance? I’m completely independent.  Local councillors should be there for the community, not for political agendas!

Who will you preference? At this stage I can’t say who I might preference until I know what they’re standing for. I’m a team player and will work co-operatively with all councillors

What’s your campaign budget?Are you receiving financial support? Hard to say, but around $1,400. No.  I am totally self-funded.

What are the most important issues in your ward? For me, everything is important but especially our health, our jobs, our environment!
A major priority I see this term will be helping our business & arts communities rebuild after  Covid-19.  It’s not going to be easy but with everyone working together, we can keep our Shire strong.  It is vital to keep local jobs going and growing!
Mental health facilities and social support services will need an extra boost as well.
I will continue working with our vibrant arts community to open their own local performing/creative space.
Population and development issues concern many of us.  I believe we can have sustainable development so long as we protect our farms and open spaces.
Because:   I Listen, I Care, I Act, voting 1 for Me will give you a truly representative voice on Council.

Paul Barker.

Paul Barker

Occupation: Truck driver, skydive instructor

Where do you live? Torquay

How long have you lived in your ward? Four years

What’s your involvement with the community? Trivia host, animal rescue volunteer

What’s your political allegiance? Classical liberal/libertarian, Liberal Democrats member

Who will you preference? No-one

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? $0, no financial support

What are the most important issues in your ward? Getting better value for rate charges, too little transparency, a perceived disconnect between council and residents and ratepayers

Rose Hodge.

Rose Hodge

Occupation: Carer, home duties

Where do you live?  Jan Juc

How long have you lived in your ward?  My parents built a holiday home in 1964  in Jan Juc and when I finished uni in 1979, I lived here full time since.

What’s your involvement with the community?  Torquay Netball Club life member, (15 years on committee) Past  committee member  and then president of the Jan Juc Kinder, Past-member on the committee of the Torquay Cricket Club, Torquay Community House and Barwon Valley School Parent Committee. Years of fundraising for community groups. Presently a Board Director of the Torquay Community enterprise for the last nine years. Supporter of  SCRAR (Surf coast Rural Australians for Refugees). Awarded Rotary Torquay the Paul Harris award  for Community Work and Lions award.  Member of the RSL.

What’s your political allegiance?  I vote for the community, I do support the ALP

Who will you preference? I will preference genuine  proven community people, not one issue candidates.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? Trying to keep it to below $1200 no financial support

What are the most important issues in your ward? Ensuring we support our local business and community members who are affected by co-vid, rejuvenating the community when this pandemic passes. Keeping the community projects moving, especially the Arts sector moving into Surf World. Working with the sports clubs to aid their ability to (when allowed) to restart competitions. Looking after our volunteers and community groups are supported. Capital works need to  continue, such as the basketball stadium, advocating for a new library/cultural centre. With $30 million available towards a pool work for extra grants or design changes. Need to look at strengthening our Planning Scheme, to ensure when our decisions are made, we have success at VCAT. We are awaiting the State government Distinctive Area and Landscape which will include Spring Creek.

Rob Bullen.

Rob Bullen

Occupation: Semi-Retired

Where do you live? I have raised my family in SurfCoast for 20+ years

How long have you lived in your ward? (as above)

What’s your involvement with the community? Over 20 years and still on the board of local Land Care groups; on board of nonprofit  Child Care Centre for 3 years, President of my daughter’s sporting club for 3 years, organised donation, collection and transport  of 200t of fodder into Western and Northern Victoria in January this year in response to calls for bush fire relief. A remarkable experience, gobsmacked by the generosity of serveral Melbourne Companies, Bendigo Bank, local transport businesses and farmers.

What’s your political allegiance? None

Who will you preference? The independent new councillors (Maurice, Liz, Amber, Paul, Kate, Monica)

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? Well under $500 so far. No

What are the most important issues in your ward?
Jobs and their reliance on tourism. I have 30+ years working in Melbourne’s large corporates. I have observed two things: Large corporates are beginning to question the business case of offshoring that was done on mass 10-20 years ago. The benefits aren’t as high as predicted, and they underestimated the costs (Cust Satisfaction). Secondly Covid has decentralised the workforce already, so it won’t take much to provide small amounts of infrastructure to lure knowledge based workers to this lovely region, provided we vigourously preserve the character and amenity remaining, which attract people here.
Council tranparency, consistency and engagement of the community through the decision making process is key to democracy and good decisions. This seems to have been lost recently with the council tending to supress good debate in the chamber, forbidding questions directed to councillors, and now forbidding questions about developments. Robust discussion especially between councillors and with the community is a good thing and should be encouraged. Debate and information is at the heart of democracy.
The power of a supported and encouraged community is huge. This is small budget stuff. Torquay Parkrun costs around $2,000 a year, and look at the physical and mental health benefits for the 100+ people that run, chat and have a coffee after.  I have seen this in many years of landcare, bushfire relief, childcare, sporting associations. Community is important beyond crises like Covid and Bushfires.

Monica Winston.

Monica Winston

Occupation: Co-ordinator Transition Streets Geelong, Owner and partner of Sanglen Urban Edible Farm in Belmont

Where do you live? Torquay

How long have you lived in your ward? 1.5 years

What’s your involvement with the community? Ive been nurturing the beginnings of Transition Streets Surf Coast, been a part of Transition Grandview Ave, spent some time on the Surf Coast Energy Group (SCEG) committee, attended a Torquay Coast Action event, partnered in organising a Heritage Fruit Tree community bulk buy, attended Torquay Repair Cafe

What’s your political allegiance? None

Who will you preference?

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? $1,000.  No financial support

What are the most important issues in your ward? Climate Safety ie zero emissions by 2030 for everyone in the Shire (not just council operations), ensuring and creating local jobs and businesses which help us transition away from fossil fuels and other greenhouse gas emitting sources, preserving town boundaries, preserving and regenerating ecosystems for biodiversity, protecting the coastline from mining, removing obstacles to localising goods and services and especially food sovereignty as a way of increasing resilience, reducing waste in all areas, sustainable transport, enabling smaller dwelling for more efficient and affordible living especially for locals, aiming to ensure infrastructure and population are compatible, creating a citizens democracy.

Liz Pattison.

Liz Pattison

Occupation: I’m an engineer, with over 15 years experience providing essential services to communities around Australia. Equally important, I’m a mother of 4 boys!

Where do you live? Jan Juc, with my husband and four boys in kinder and primary school, and we love raising our family here.

How long have you lived in your ward? 4 years

What’s your involvement with the community? I’m a community leader and volunteer at Jan Juc Preshchool (current President) and we are very proud of our annual Kite Festival event. I’m the Treasurer at Jan Juc Playgroup and a P&F committee member at St Therese PS. I also love Saturday morning runs at ParkRun prior to COVID!

What’s your political allegiance? As an independent candidate, I’ll represent you on Council in a considered, enthusiastic and respectful way.

Who will you preference? I want to be part of a team that shares my values and has fresh ideas for the future.
Vote [1] Liz Pattison, [2]Rob Bullen [3]Kate Gazzard [4]Maurice Cole

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? I am fundraising by providing events focused on community wellness. I’ll self-fund the balance of my $3,000 campaign budget.

What are the most important issues in your ward? As the Surf Coast and surrounding areas grow in population we need to build a healthy connected community, conserve our unique coastal township and environment and accelerate our recovery from COVID.
I’ll focus on: more engaging community spaces that work for families, the young and the aged
more Council support for our community groups
connected bike paths linking our schools, parks, and town centres
working to fix our broken planning processes in line with community views and values
a town boundary at Duffields Road.
Open air dining in public spaces and a hop on hop off shuttle to activate our community and support our local traders

David Bell.

David Bell

Occupation: Proprietor Torquay Farmers Market, Organic Grower.

Where do you live? Bellbrae

How long have you lived in your ward? Lived in the Surf Coast for 17 years, holidayed since 1962 when I was 6

What’s your involvement with the community? Councillor for 8 years Run the market for nearly 12 years been a member of many school bodies and community groups.

What’s your political allegiance? No formal connection to any party.

Who will you preference? I hope that Rose Hodge will be returned and that people make informed decisions about their votes.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support? Under $500.00. No, Totally self funded

What are the most important issues in your ward? Growth and development, Social Infrastructure.