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Blue Mountains
City Council Election
4 December 2021
an environmental perspective of the election

Questionnaire Response - Ward 2

There are four "lead" candidates in Ward 2. Of these four candidates, only Joanne Bromilow (Liberal) failed to respond.

The candidates' full response to our questionnaire is listed below. Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot paper.

Please note that personal identification has been redacted in the responses.
Preface

What follows is a tabulation of the candidate's responses to the questionnaire to allow a comparison.

Candidates were asked to answer each question with a "yes" or "no" - there being no assumed answer if left blank.

The last item in the questionnaire - a statement of personal conservation values - is provided first.


Personal conservation values
If elected, what will you do for the environment? Outline one or more projects/issues that you intend to work on. Limit 100 words.
Joanne Bromilow  (Liberal)
 
Chris Van der Kley  (Indep.)
I am committed to protecting the quality of life in the blue mountains and continue to support council stand on the environment, over development and also the 24 hour airport.
Continue to improve our infrastructure across the city like parks, roads and especially water run-off of roads into our creeks, also improve our waste and recycling services for the benefit of all and our environment.
Romola Hollywood  (Labor)
I will continue to advocate for action on climate change as our city is directly exposed to the impacts of increasingly extreme bushfires, floods and storms. I will support Council’s goal of Net Zero by 2025 and measures to reduce our carbon footprint. I will protect the character of our towns and villages from overdevelopment and our natural environment by maintaining the current provisions in our LEP. I will continue to work with our community, including the Traditional Owners, to manage the impacts of increased visitation to our natural areas and bushland reserves including upgrading trails and visitor amenities.
Brent Hoare  (Greens)
In Ward two we face a big challenge to defeat the proposed 'Croc Park' tourist hotel development, and I will continue to work collaboratively to protect this environmentally sensitive land between towns.
We will be working together as Greens Councillors to implement the council's commitment to the climate emergency declaration.
We will pursue the implementation of the Blue Mountains Greens climate action plan.
A key focus of mine will be promoting the rights of nature and understanding of this in the community by integrating this approach in the Community Strategic Plan.

Environment budget
Q.1 a)  Do you support increasing the Council’s natural environment budget to at least 5% of the Council’s overall budget in 21/22 and then ongoing?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.noSome years we spend more and some less depends on projects
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesI certainly agree that greater funding for the natural environment is of great importance, and is supported by recognition of the Rights of Nature in the Community Strategic Plan.
Preamble:  Council’s natural environment budget for 20/21 was 4% of Council’s overall budget (Blue Mountains Council Operational Plan 20-21 p69). Since 2018 the natural environment budget, as a percentage of Council’s overall budget, has remained at 4% and not increased. This is inadequate given the Blue Mountains is surrounded by World Heritage and the significant natural areas Council manage.

b)  Do you support reinstating transparent reporting of Council’s yearly natural environmental budget?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesI strongly support greater transparency of council expenditure.
Preamble:  Prior to 2013, Council provided much more detailed public reporting on the planned expenditure of the natural environment budget. This has been discontinued and Council currently only provide an overall budget figure under the heading “Natural Environment” in the yearly Operational Plan. Without this detail, budget changes cannot be compared from one year to the next.

c)  Will you advocate for the introduction of a new budget item within the Natural Area Visitor Facilities for maintenance?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryesHaving advocated with local residents for better infrastructure to manage the increased visitation to areas, such as Lincoln’s Rock and Paradise Pool, if re-elected, I would be prepared to take this proposal forward.
Brent HoareGreensyesMaintenance of council infrastructure is an ongoing challenge, and I am most supportive of any measures to generate improvements.
Preamble:  Maintenance of visitor facilities does not currently have a budget. This means that skilled Council staff from other areas are often deployed to do this work. A specific allocation for maintenance of walking tracks and lookouts, toilets etc would ensure that Council assets do not get run down and require a major overhaul.

Katoomba Airfield
Q.2 Will you actively support the Katoomba Airfield (located at Medlow Bath) being included in the Blue Mountains National Park and retained for emergency services?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryesI have supported Council’s current resolutions calling for the Katoomba Airfield to be included in the Blue Mountains National Park.
Brent HoareGreensyesAbsolutely, I commit to ensuring this is a key goal for the forthcoming council term.
Preamble:  On 22 October, Crown Lands announced that it had refused the proposed lease to operate a commercial airfield, but will continue to allow emergency operations. To ensure that there is never a commercial development on the site it needs to be incorporated into the surrounding national park.


Dual naming
Q.3 Do you support the promotion of dual current and Aboriginal naming of Council managed iconic sites throughout the Blue Mountains (e.g. Minnehaha Falls and lookouts along the southern escarpment) in consultation with the Darug and Gundungurra communities?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryesI would fully support a process led by the Traditional Owners to achieve this outcome.
Brent HoareGreensyesAdoption of the “Statement of Recognition and Commitment” in collaboration with Dharug and Gundungurra First Nations is one of the outstanding achievements of the current council, and I strongly support dual naming to continue affirming this commitment.
Preamble:  Many Councils are adopting a proactive program of dual naming sites owned and managed by local councils, in recognition of local First Nations people eg Newcastle City and Hornsby Shire Councils.


Encroachment policy
Q.4 Do you support the development and resourcing of a Council Land Encroachment Policy to address degradation of bushland reserves caused by the use of this land by neighbouring private landholders?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryesI have continued to make representations on the development of the encroachment policy. I have been advised the draft policy is being finalised and, if re-elected, I will pursue this.
Brent HoareGreensyesIf re-elected, I am very interested in pursuing an encroachment policy in collaboration with like minded Councillors.
Preamble:  The development of a Council Land Encroachment Policy has been included in past Council Operational Plans and has been raised by previous Councillors in Notice of Motions, but no policy has been finalised and adopted. Currently there are significant issues of residents degrading Council bushland reserves adjacent to their properties by using the land to park vehicles, stockpile materials, dispose of garden waste, or by mowing.


Climate change
Q.5 Do you support Council developing a policy of prohibiting gas appliances in all new residential developments in the Blue Mountains?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.I do not think council has the power to do this.
Romola HollywoodLaboryesSubject to community consultation and engagement on the issues and options, including whether prohibition is legally possible.
Brent HoareGreensyesResolutely. My partner and I have recently built a hempcrete house that is gas free, and uses two air sourced heatpumps to provide heating, and I support phasing out gas swiftly.
Preamble:  Prioritising removing gas appliances from households in NSW is the quickest and most effective way to reduce gas usage and therefore climate change-inducing pollutants from the gas industry. It also relieves our homes of airborne pollutants from gas appliances which increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Canterbury Bankstown Council has led the way by proposing a ban on gas connections in new developments, and making rooftop solar panels compulsory, as part of the Masterplans for Campsie and Bankstown Town Centres.


Planning and development
Q.6 Do you support Council’s current opposition to the proposed NSW Government’s state-wide ‘one size fits all’ planning reforms applying to the Blue Mountains? This includes opposing -
  • more development types being exempt from Council assessment and approval;
  • changes which will allow developers to contravene more development rules; and
  • allowing ‘big retail’ standalone developments or Penrith-style retail conglomerations outside established town centres.
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryesI have actively supported Council’s strong opposition to the raft of NSW Government-imposed planning reforms, which seek to override our Local Environment Plan, Local Strategic Planning Statement and our community’s voice. I will continue to fight for planning that protects the character of our towns and villages and our World Heritage environment.
Brent HoareGreensyesAbsolutely, with persistence and determination. In line with our principle of Grassroots Democracy, the Greens seek a decentralisation of planning powers.
Preamble:  The NSW Government is currently escalating reforms that will further centralise planning decisions and over-ride local planning controls. The Society believes these reforms will fast track inappropriate development in the Blue Mountains, exclude residents’ ability to have a say over how and where development will occur and will degrade the local environment and character of the Blue Mountains.

Q.7 Do you support Council’s current policy of low new housing targets for the Blue Mountains?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesI support the current policy and will continue to do so.
Preamble:  The Council is required to negotiate 5 to 10-year housing targets with the state government on an ongoing basis. Council’s new housing targets are based on land capability/availability, environmental constraints on development, and the Blue Mountains’ designation as a low-density Metropolitan Rural Area.

Q.8 Will you support Council leading a strategy to increase affordable housing in the Blue Mountains, working with the not-for-profit sector and the NSW Government?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesCertainly, provision of more diverse and affordable housing is a vital issue in the Blue Mountains, and I commit to working collaboratively with those seeking genuine solutions.
Preamble:  The Blue Mountains has a shortage of affordable rental properties. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has numerous expert reports which demonstrate that increasing housing supply does not necessarily lead to lower housing prices, or more properties available for affordable rents, in fact it can be the reverse. This is due to factors such as investor demand, the influence of negative gearing and other financial policies. The Society believes the provision of increased affordable housing in the Blue Mountains does not require an increase in the new housing target.

Q.9 Do you support Council’s continuing efforts to have the Blue Mountains Local Government Area excluded from the NSW Government’s Low Rise Housing Diversity Code?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesAbsolutely, and in addition the Greens will continue to campaign for the restoration of development approval powers to local councils.
Preamble:  This Code, now in force in the mountains despite Council’s efforts, allows fast-track approval for medium-density housing which meets state-wide ‘one size fits all’ development standards. Council assessment and approval is bypassed and neighbours have no say in these types of development.

Q.10 Do you support Council’s ongoing efforts to protect the large garden and bushland lots of the Blue Mountains townships from subdivision and intensive development?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesYes, strongly.
Preamble:  The Blue Mountains towns are famous for their large lot residential areas featuring older character housing, ‘leafy green streets’ and display gardens as well as natural bushland. The NSW Department of Planning did not support Council’s proposal for the inclusion of the R6 Residential Character Conservation zone in LEP 2015, which would have protected these areas from inappropriate development. Council continues to negotiate with the Department of Planning for the protection of these areas.

Q.11 Do you support Council’s current strong opposition to the proposed ‘Wildlife Park’ (zoo) at Bodington Hill, Wentworth Falls, now classified as a “State Significant Development”?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesI am proud to have provided a leading role in opposing this inappropriate tourist hotel development to date, and I pledge to continue to do so.
Preamble:  Although the Council is not the approval authority for this proposed development, its opposition will be crucial to the outcome.

Q.12 Do you support retaining the Katoomba Golf Course as a publicly owned community recreation area?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryesI support this land remaining in public hands.
Brent HoareGreensyesCertainly, it is wonderful to have this site back in public hands again, and essential to ensure that public access is guaranteed in perpetuity.
Preamble:  (The Katoomba Masterplanning process, presently under way, will determine the future of the old Katoomba Golf Course. Local tourist operators have publicly stated their interest in the Golf Course as a site for a large-scale hotel/resort/conference centre or tourist ‘hub’.


Great Western Highway
Q.13 Will you publicly and strongly support Council’s position of opposing the Great Western Highway duplication?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.I support council stand on the issue
Romola HollywoodLaboryesI support the positions I have voted for as a Councillor.
Brent HoareGreensyesAbsolutely, it is imperative to reduce the projected alarming increase in truck movements across the mountains, and to prevent the environmental harm posed by planned works.
Preamble:  The proposed duplicated Great Western Highway from Katoomba to Mount Victoria, including the proposal for tunnels, will


Western Sydney Airport (Nancy Bird Walton International Airport)
Q.14 Will you publicly and strongly support Council’s current advocacy for residents and the environment in regard to flight paths and the lack of a curfew in relation to the Western Sydney Airport?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesAbsolutely, as I have done for years, I will continue to campaign against the airport, and to work for strict controls on its use, and the promotion of high speed rail as a sustainable transport solution.
Preamble:  Flight paths for the new airport have not yet been publicly exhibited. The number, the elevation, the frequency and paths of flights from the new airport, as well as the lack of a curfew, will significantly impact residents, the Blue Mountains National Park and local fauna.


Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area
Q.15 Will you publicly and strongly support Council’s current opposition to raising the Warragamba Dam wall?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesCertainly, I have been a strong voice against plans to raise the Warragamba Dam wall, and I will continue to passionately support this campaign.
Preamble:  Raising the Warragamba Dam wall will damage Aboriginal cultural sites and heritage, the Blue Mountains National Park and world heritage values; and will destroy endangered flora and fauna.

Q.16 Will you support the protection of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area by opposing development on the escarpment?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryes
Brent HoareGreensyesI commit to strongly opposing inappropriate developments on the escarpment, and working closely with community groups to do so, and the Croc Park in particular.
Preamble:  Over 70% of the Blue Mountains Local Government Area is included in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Urban areas adjacent to the World Heritage area, and major new developments on/near the escarpment, have a significant impact on world heritage values. Although the Council is not the approval authority for major developments its opposition will be crucial to any outcomes.


Visitation impacts
Q.17 Will you support Council’s efforts to further raise revenue from visitors and tourists, such as parking fees in tourism areas, to minimise tourist and visitor impacts on council managed natural areas and enable council managed tourism infrastructure to be maintained and improved?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Joanne BromilowLiberal
Chris Van der KleyIndep.yes
Romola HollywoodLaboryesI would also like the State and Federal Governments to provide ongoing funding to upgrade and maintain tourism infrastructure in recognition of the Blue Mountains being a national and international tourist destination located within a World Heritage Area.
Brent HoareGreensyesRaising more money from visitors to the Blue Mountains is essential, as is continuing to seek further grant funding to support the maintenance and improvement of tourist infrastructure.
Preamble:  The Blue Mountains experienced a massive increase in tourism and visitation prior to the pandemic which is anticipated to continue to grow post pandemic. Before the pandemic Council predicted that visitation in 2036 would be 33% above 2018 levels (Local Planning Statement 2020 p105). These visitors use council owned and managed infrastructure such as walking tracks, toilets, lookouts and camp sites which currently are inadequate in light of increases in visitation. Council owned natural areas are also impacted from visitors (eg litter, erosion of walking tracks) and need to be proactively managed. Currently these costs are largely borne by local residents through council rates.



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We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land
– the Darug and Gundungurra people –
and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.
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