I’d like to begin my first Mayor’s Column paying tribute to the great work of my predecessor Brian Petschler.
Brian is deservedly recognised as setting a great standard as Mayor, Councillor and also General Manager in his time.
I’d also like to thank former Councillors Dennis Seage and Gavin McClure for their work on Council.
Finally I’d like to congratulate and welcome my fellow Councillors elected to serve with me on Council for the next four years.
I believe we have a great mix of experienced hands and new faces that will serve the community well.
For myself, it’s been a whirlwind few weeks since been elected Mayor. I’m pleased to have Councillor Kathy Rice as a Deputy Mayor and know we will work well together.
I appreciate the efforts of Council staff bringing myself and other Councillors up to speed as we embark on a new term together.
While the major challenge of amalgamation thankfully lies behind us, there is still much in front of us as a Council and a community.
The recent Kiama Council Community Survey provided interesting reading regards this. The survey also asked residents to list the top three issues facing Kiama in the next five to ten years. The most popular responses were road congestion and traffic management, development and town planning as well as tourist accommodation.
I certainly agree.
These are complex problems, but they are interrelated and I believe solvable. I’ve already begun discussing these matters with Council staff and am keen to have discussions with the wider community to seek their ideas for how we manage traffic and parking in particular.
Of course it’s important to remember that we are not doing too badly as a Council and community.
The IRIS Research survey showed 82.6 per cent of people were satisfied with the performance of the Council, and that Council exceeds comparable councils in 19 out of 24 services or facilities for which there is a benchmark.
Further, the survey confirmed our strong feeling of community, the vast majority saying they felt safe and a part of their neighbourhood. Indeed, nearly half of us are part of a community organisation.
For these reasons I know we are well placed to meet the challenges together.
- Cr Mark Honey