Response from Justine Langford (Greens)

Justine was the first candidate to respond with answers to our questions.  Here is her reply in full & unedited:

1. The Greens believe that the decision making process around the
artificial-turfing of Arlington Reserve was extremely poor. Council
decisions should never be made in this way. The Greens on council
worked actively with residents to highlight the extremely poor way
this project was approved and to expose its true cost. We repeatedly
raised the risk of the massive cost blow-out of the project – which of
course occurred. There should have been a more thorough investigation
of the costs before the council voted. The escalating costs will
result in the oval having to be used more often which will further
impinge on the amenity of local residents.

2. The Greens support prioritising residents and not-for-profit
sporting clubs when using local fields. With the Arlington project we
were extremely concerned that the Council risked effectively
privatising the site by making a multi-million dollar update for the
primary benefit of for-profit (professional) sporting clubs. Whenever
a development proposal of sporting space occurs it is important that
all affected members of the local community are consulted regardless
of their financial clout and network of influence. When a development
of a sporting field in a densely populated area is proposed it is
critical that a thorough examination of the competing needs of all
local residents occurs and that proper environmental and social impact
studies are completed and there should be clear caveats that any
negative impacts be addressed. I believe that if elected as a Greens
councillor I have a responsibility to ensure that council activities
have positive impacts on the environment.

3. The Greens support sustainable infill development. This means
development near public transport, for example, but {within reasonable
limits} (that does not exceed the Local Environment Plan). It also
means that infrastructure needs to keep pace with development and
developers need to be charged proper fees to fund things like extra
green space needed to serve larger populations. For example The Greens
on council voted against the current LEP (Local Environment Plan)
because of concerns that the new height limits on buildings were too
high and that heritage worthy buildings were not protected. Since
these new height limits were allowed the Greens on Council have
struggled to ensure that even these height limits (are maintained) and
the often inadequate rules in the LEP are complied with. Unfortunately
the Labor and Liberal candidates on the current council are in my
view, uncritically pro-development. The Arlington Reserve is an
example of a development that exceeded a number of important
restrictions in the LEP.

4. The environmental impact of any proposed development needs to be
seriously considered by Council. The Greens believe that green space
and public amenity needs to be prioritised. Clearly the negative
environmental impacts of laying artificial turf on Arlington Reserve
were not prioritised by the non-Green Councillors when they supported
this proposal.

5. I do not believe it is appropriate for a group of councillors to
vote together in a block, especially when what they are voting on
contravenes their own party policy. I also note that binding caucus
voting is not allowed by the Local Government Act, and strongly
support that provision of the Act.

6. Councillors are elected to represent the community – so they must
be available to residents through various communication channels. I
believe councillors should be accessible via email, phone and social
media. Councillors should make judgements based on the information
provided, including Council policy and recommendations, resident views
and representations – not just on their party affiliation.

7. The Greens councillors all have Facebook accounts and their emails
and phone numbers are publicly available. Unfortunately councillors
are not very well resourced and nearly all have full time jobs outside
of Council. Councillors receive vast numbers of resident requests and
do not have access to paid staff, so some don’t reply to all
residents. If elected I would make myself available to residents and
would aim to respond to any contact within 24 hours.

8. The primary role of Councillors is to represent all residents. Any
correspondence with residents should be party-neutral. Councillors
have a responsibility to respond equally and fairly to all residents,
no matter who they voted for in the local election. If elected I would
liaise with local residents and keep them informed of any issues. The
process and decision-making that we saw around Arlington Reserve
should never again be repeated.

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