Daniel was the close second respondent to our questions. His reply follows here in full and unedited:
Thank you for your questions. I understand the strong views on all sides of these discussions and I respect the different perspectives that everyone brought to the decision-making process at the time.
Although I was not on Council at the time of these discussions and the decision regarding Arlington Reserve, I understand this was a significant decision that was not taken lightly. Some of the questions you have asked are highly specific and I do not know if I can give you an informed opinion without the full information that was available to the Councillors at the time the decision was made.
Council has an important role in the community to provide facilities and services to local residents and users of council facilities.
As mentioned, this includes school students as well – in fact, I was a frequent user of Arlington Reserve when I was a student at Christian Brothers Lewisham, for sport and for play. Arlington was the local park that we would play sport in, and I remember the injuries I would sustain as a kid, because of the uneven and sub-standard playing surface.
I think Council has to work in consultation with local residents and community groups, clubs and schools in order to decide the best use of our facilities. Consultation is an important part of this process, and I know that not everyone may agree with the decisions made, but that does not mean that you discount their views and suggestions because they do not agree with you.
Planning for our community needs to be appropriate and sustainable, and development needs to be situated close to transport hubs. Affordable housing, well-planned urban renewal and environmentally sustainable development are strong Labor principles and I support them wholeheartedly.
So far, the biggest development issue raised with me by local residents in West Ward – Burraga has been the provision of appropriate parking within any new development. I understand these concerns and if elected, will work to ensure we do not clog local streets when considering these proposals.
I also recently I signed the Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW and I endorse the principles of the charter. Many of these principles relate to the matters you have raised, including:
- The well-being of the whole community, the environment and future generations across regional, rural and urban NSW.
- Effective and genuine public participation in strategic planning and development decisions.
- An open, accessible, transparent and accountable, corruption-free planning system.
- The integration of land use planning with the provision of infrastructure and the conservation of our natural, built and cultural environment.
- Objective, evidence-based assessment of strategic planning and development proposals.
With regard to your final questions, all elected representatives should be accountable to their local communities. I understand that contact details are publicly available for all Councillors on the Council’s website (as they should be). Social media is both an innovative and challenging medium to communicate with constituents. I do not see an issue with communicating on new mediums – I guess it should be a matter of what is the most appropriate avenue for what is being raised.
Further, I understand that there are differing views in the community about many matters. You may not agree with my opinions, and I may not agree with yours, but as long as we can have a respectful conversation that is the most effective way of ensuring that any final decisions made will be for the benefit of our local communities.
I love the Marrickville area – it’s the place where I was born and where I have lived my whole life – and I think that working together is the way that we can make it even better.
Labor Candidate, West Ward – Burraga