Mark Honey to re-contest mayoral seat

Cr Mark Honey.
Cr Mark Honey.

Councillor Mark Honey has confirmed he will re-contest his position as Kiama mayor at the September 18 general meeting.   

He said while he had achieved many of goals in his first term as mayor, there was more he wanted to do for the community.

“During my last term I am pleased that after many years of planning, the funding from the state and federal governments was finalised for the commencement of Bonaira Blue Haven with construction now well under way with completion due by the end of 2019,” he said.

“Kiama Tourism has also been restructured, with the formation of an advisory committee and appointment of our new tourism officer, Karen Ronning, who works directly for council to promote our municipality as a destination to bring tourists and events to this area, particularly in the off season.”

Cr Honey said it was disappointing however, the Akuna Street development had not been resolved.

“It is also disappointing that the redevelopment of Kevin Walsh oval in Jamberoo has been delayed as council has been unable to secure funding for the project,” he said.

“However, a further grant application has been submitted and we should know in the next few months if this has been successful.

“Similarly the development of the arts precinct in Hindmarsh Park that has been on the drawing board for some time is awaiting the results of grant funding from the state government.”  

Cr Honey said one of the big challenges he had faced as mayor was the state government’s planning changes that local governments were forced to adhere to.

“Lack of infrastructure funding from the state and federal government to deal with the pressures of increasing population, for example roads, amenities, parking, open spaces was a continuing challenge,” he said.

“In the last few months a local working group of mayors from Sydney Metropolitan areas, south west Sydney, Illawarra and the Blue Mountains was formed to develop strategies to deal with the expected population growth and pressures we are all experiencing.

“Another challenge is dealing with the various and sometimes conflicting expectations of some residents – especially in relation to developments and growth of our communities.

“I did state when I was first elected that some decisions would not please everybody, but all decisions will be made for the benefit of the community as a whole.”

If re-elected, Cr Honey would like to see a number of projects in the works get off the ground.

“I want to work with the owners of Bombo Quarry to further develop a future plan and timeline for redevelopment of this amazing site for housing, businesses and open space,” he said.

“I also want to work with the Gerringong business community to promote the area as a destination for holiday makers and encourage those travelling up and down the coast to spend some time (and money) in the town.

“I would like to see the commencement of the Gerringong Library and Museum and hope it is completed in a timely manner.

“The upgrading of the Werri Beach Holiday Park with new cabins and facilities should commence in 2020 and this will attract out of season holiday makers, bringing business into the area.”

Other projects Cr Honey made mention of include the the completion and implementation of the Kiama Town Centre Study; Completion and commissioning of Blue Haven Bonaira; Review future development of the Akuna Street site with consultation from the community; Promote and encourage agricultural diversity and viability.

The term of office for a mayor or deputy mayor elected by councillors is two years.

Deputy mayor Cr Kathy Rice is also up for re-election. She was contacted for an interview but declined to comment.