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

Questionnaire Response - Ward 3

There are four "lead" candidates in Ward 3. Of these four candidates, Daniel Myles (Indep.) and Roza Sage (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.
Kingsley Liu  (Greens)
I would work on 1) developing ordinance ( low level legal framework ) to incorporate alternate legal mechanism to protect ecosystems, waterways and natural habitat. This builds a Rights of Nature approach to strengthen current EPA

2) limit property development by installing more conditions to be satisfied at local government level
Mick Fell  (Labor)
I have been deeply involved in bringing the Planetary Health Initiative into Council and will continue to pursue the development of it. I am particularly keen to see the Council continue to work closely with the local community, the world heritage Institute and education institutes at all levels to keep the Blue Mountains at the forefront of environmental awareness and to highlight the leadership role that local government can play in this space.
Daniel Myles  (Indep.)
 
Roza Sage  (Liberal)
 

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
Kingsley LiuGreensyesYes and review possible increase in further years
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyesI note DA 21/15298 Helipad at Penrith with alarm. Sydney Helicopters is the applicant. We need to advocate the Minister again.
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyesI live at Minnihaha Road
Mick FellLaboryesWith adequate consultation with traditional owners.
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryesProviding that the power to do this lies with Council and in conjunction with the local community.
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyesEssential
Mick FellLaboryesI will continue opposing the imposition of ‘one size fits all planning regulation as I have for the last 9 years.
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryesI am committed to ensuring that the site stays in public hands and is never sold.
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryesI will continue to strongly support the Council position.
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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
Kingsley LiuGreensyes
Mick FellLaboryes
Daniel MylesIndep.
Roza SageLiberal
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.



© 2021  Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc.
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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