DIVISION 11 | Here are your council candidates

Gold Coast’s local council elections are coming up on the 28th of March, with over 50 people gunning for seats at chambers.

Early voting is now underway, with eleven places to vote open to locals from yesterday.

myGC is going through division by division, to give you a closer look at the candidates.


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Division 11 includes the suburbs of Burleigh Waters, Robina and Varsity Lakes.

It’s currently held by Hermann Vorster, who is running as a candidate this election.

He’s one of just two candidates for the seat, with Chantal Clarke also running.

myGC put some simple questions to both of the candidates, here’s how they responded.

Hermann Vorster

 

A few words about yourself.

I am a first-term councillor and long-time local with degrees in commerce and IT. I have a business background and helped establish our peak Neighbourhood Watch group.

Are you a member of/ or affiliated with a political party – if so, which one?

I am a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland.

Please list your top three policies for your division.

  • Easing congestion by: upgrading busy intersections around Robina Town Centre; securing better bus services that start earlier and finish later; building new footpaths and signalised
    crossings to improve pedestrian safety; and reforming the Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) to ensure developers pay their way.
  • Boosting community safety by: installing more CCTV cameras in more local parks; delivering more lighting around public transport and along popular recreational walks; renovating
    parks to deter drug use and anti-social behaviour; and funding community crimefighting initiatives through Neighbourhood Watch.
  • Delivering better community facilities by: upgrading and constructing more toilets near our busiest playgrounds; modernising Robina Library; renovating playgrounds with new
    equipment, added shade and water refill stations; delivering the $15 million Robina City Parklands; and making the most of the proposed 220ha ‘Green Heart’.

Why should locals vote for you?

I am dedicated to protecting the lifestyle locals in Robina, Varsity Lakes and Burleigh Waters expect — and deserve. My priorities *are* the community’s priorities and include tackling traffic
congestion, boosting community safety, and looking after the environment. For four years I have helped: rid the area of drug crime; expand CCTV; improve lighting; upgrade intersections; address neglect and maintenance issues; invest in parks and sporting facilities; plant thousands of trees; and look after our waterways. And as a community activist, I have fought to ensure growth is supported by better infrastructure, heftier developer contributions, and more car parking in new developments. My track record means locals can trust me to put them first!

In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue facing the whole of the Gold Coast? And what should Council as a whole be doing about it?
The reputation of the Gold Coast is at risk by a perceived surge in car theft, stabbings, armed holdups and youth crime. The issue seems to be spilling out of our tourism centres and into our otherwise quiet suburban streets. Like me, locals have had a gutful and worry what it means for their families. While Council ought to invest in more CCTV cameras and better lighting, it must more actively lobby the State Government to amend weak laws. There must be tougher penalties for vandals, tighter youth bail rules and public transport must be patrolled to stop fare evaders reaching the Gold Coast.

 

Chantal Clarke

A few words about yourself.

I’m a climate change scientist, author, political moderate, and owner of an adventure tour business. I have lived in Division 11 for 20 years.

Are you a member of/ or affiliated with a political party – if so, which one?

I joined the Queensland Greens in November 2019 and have attended just three of their meetings. However, am running as an independent as I do not believe political parties should be involved in local government and should I get elected, I shall withdraw from the party. I have received no support, funding or advice from the Greens and since nominating, have removed myself from all dialogue with the party.

Please list your top three policies for your division.

  • Reducing crime QPS crime statistics show that Robina’s crime rates have increased by approx. 25% in the past 5 years, Clearly, what we’ve been doing is not working!
  • Job creation The GC needs to diversify its economy and attract industries that offer permanent, well- paying career opportunities.
  • Transport Congestion is a major issue in parts of Robina and Varsity Lakes, thanks to poor planning when the area was built. We now live with the legacy of that and must improve public transport, parking and school/ M1 access to improve liability.

Why should locals vote for you?

I’m not a politician, I’m a climate change scientist who is concerned about the future of the Gold Coast. Our current Council has not made increasing the city’s resilience a priority and has instead taken a short-term approach. As an example, both Brisbane and the Gold Coast are now likely to be visited by cyclones of Category 4 and 5 strengths. Although Cairns and Townsville have building codes to ensure homes and built structures can withstand such a force. However, the building code for the Gold Coast still assumes we will not be contending with cyclones of this magnitude. As a result, the Gold Coast will likely experience widespread devastation. Council’s job is to protect people and property, yet I don’t see anyone at the table who has the knowledge of what that entails. We simply cannot continue to go about business as usual, when the world around us has changed and so too have the challenges will face. I want to be the moderate in the room who can ensure all decisions are made with the risks of extreme weather events in mind. To place critical infrastructure and residential developments in areas that will be exposed to flooding, erosion or storm surge, is not a wise investment or planning. That said, where there is challenge, there is also opportunity and we must take a fresh approach to diversifying the local economy. We must focus on attracting industries that offer residents high-paying career jobs that don’t require employees to waste 4 hours each day commuting to another city. Future growth could enable us to develop expertise in green building architecture and design, as well as foster the growth of smaller businesses that provides supporting services. We need only look to Singapore for examples of how urban forests and innovative technologies can reduce the urban heat island effect, generate energy and improve biodiversity in high-density mixed-use tourist hubs.
Artificial intelligence, gaming and bio-engineering are three more industries that we should be looking to attract to the GC. We have universities and hospitals that would benefit greatly and the number of permanent, well-paying jobs created, would help buoy the local economy. We also need to encourage State and Federal governments to reinstate satellite offices for major services. The Newman government centralised these jobs and the negative effect it had on the GC economy is still being felt in the SME sector. This Council has failed to diversify the economy or create permanent, well-paying career opportunities. Instead, we have seen the majority of residents fall further behind as housing affordability becomes out of their reach, the cost of living increases and wages stagnate with the local economy. It’s time to break the voting bloc, say NO to party politics, restore lost ecosystems and take a fresh approach to the future of our city

In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue facing the whole of the Gold Coast? And what should Council as a whole be doing about it?

There are two: housing affordability and life- threatening climate change. I’ve spoken at some length (above) about climate change and the need to increase resilience, but housing affordability is another issue and it’s a serious one in this city. There’s a growing global tend to create communities of tiny homes to address this issue to reduce the incidence of people slipping into homelessness, simply due to being a solo parent, mature-aged resident or person who chooses to live alone.

Tiny House villages are not slums; they can be built with character and charm, share community gardens and have lovely recreational spaces that help foster a strong sense of civic pride. Micro-grids could be employed to enable the sharing/ selling of excess solar energy between clusters of homes, to help keep one of the main costs of living low.

Clive Palmer’s old Aveca site in Merrimac is the ideal location for such a development as it’s surrounded by mature trees, close to a school, has a lake in the middle and already has some road infrastructure in place. What’s more, the larger building could be used as a retail precinct by the community. Council should secure the land and offer low-interest community loans to future residents who are in need and who can’t afford the minimum deposit required by banks.

Anything else you’d like to add?
My priorities for public transport on the Gold Coast:
1/ Extend the heavy gauge rail line from Varsity to the GC Airport, with future plans to join it with NSW services at the border.
2/ Extend light rail west from Broadbeach to Nerang (via the stadium), and Burleigh to Robina or Varsity Lakes stations (via Bond University & RTC).
3/ Provide electric bus services in the southern suburbs, with improved schedules and frequency for inland suburbs.
4/ Make public transport within the GC free for everyone; paid for by a nightly visitor bed tax.

 

**Note: the candidates have been listed in the order that they will appear on the ballot paper on March 28.

For more information about voting, click here.

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Chantal Clarke

#gcdivision11 Good morning, You may have read that I have cancelled all in-person participation in pre-polling and all Meet the Candidate events/ Forums. I did so on Monday for the following reason: We candidates are possibly among the most socially active community members during this critical stage of containment in the Coronavirus. Some candidates are about to catch flights from other States, which means they are more likely to have been exposed. They will be in that same room with us tonight. As Peter Dutton has shown, any one of us could be a carrier who transmits the virus unwittingly… Read more »