CHONTELLE STONE is running on the line that following the state inquiry, it’s time for a generational change at the top of the council.
“Logan has been there for a very long time and from what I am hearing in the community, people are ready for a change and want a change,” Cr Stone said.
“I am presenting as someone young with fresh ideas, but I also had a term on council so I know what we are doing and I used that term to listen to residents about what they need.”
Cr Stone recently completed a diploma of local government and said the experience highlighted the diversity
of services offered by local government, but was also important for its networking with others in local government.
She’s also running on a crime and safety platform; although the city’s crime stats aren’t that bad, it’s been at the top of ratepayers’ list of concerns for the last couple of years.
Cr Stone says she doesn’t believe that campaigning on the issue would create unnecessary fear in the community, as the council’s surveys already showed it was on people’s minds.
“I’m the chair of the Neighbourhood Watch committee and we have been active, being more visible and going out to community groups – trying to empower prevention.”
Among a “bunch of ideas” she’ll bring to the table are solar bollards to illuminate footpaths in the city’s parks, saying better lighting would discourage crime, particularly as it would make the city’s network of CCTV cameras more effective.
She also wants to review the city’s planning scheme to push developments back from wetlands, saying recent heavy rains have left too many residents struggling with flooding.
“You have development around Thompson Lake that’s getting very close, and we many need to look at pulling that back,” she said.
She’d also like to see some solar benches installed in popular gathering areas like Bibra Lake so residents can charge their mobile devices while enjoying the surrounds.
Cr Stone acknowledges the city has gone through a rough time.
“As a leader the mayor needs to take an active role in ensuring councillors do not engage in poor behaviour,” she said, adding she didn’t believe Mr Howlett had done that successfully.
“It was a very difficult time and there were strong personalities,” she said.
“I have a different set of skills, including confidence – as anyone on council could attest to – and I don’t have a tolerance for bullying. I call it out.”
Cr Stone said she “accepted” criticism from the state inquirers that she’d showed poor judgement by forwarding a confidential email to former CEO Stephen Cain after he took sick leave and told the council it wasn’t providing him with
a safe workplace. It contained criticisms of him by fellow councillors. But she denied sending him a confidential agenda for a meeting called to discuss his employment.
“The questions that were asked in the email were concerning to me,” she said.
Cr Stone said she returned from a “dream holiday” in Europe after getting engaged, to a “shitstorm” at the council and was trying to work out what was going on.
She said at the time a directive hadn’t been issued prohibiting councillors from contacting Mr Cain, as he was only on sick leave at the time.
by STEVE GRANT