Elections can be a daunting process for voters – especially when it comes to figuring out which candidates best aligns with your views.
Here at MyGC we’ve tried our best to make sure the task of picking the next Mayor of the Gold Coast is a little easier.
We have spoken to each of the mayoral candidates and asked them all the same questions, which were sent in by readers, about the main issues affecting our region so you can compare them side by side.
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First up is John Abbott, who also ran for Mayor back in the 2012 local elections.
NB: Links to the other candidates can be found at the bottom of the story.
MyGC: If elected Mayor, what would you say is your number one policy? Or number one issue to fix?
The first thing I would do is get to know the staff and other councillors to try and become a team to properly serve the community with the goal for better service them. Get to know the staff, work as a team with them, try and find out what the like, dislike, ask them what they would change and how they would go about out and try and learn from them and basically benefit from their experience.
It’s also important we pay out the $700 million debt that we have at present and which we are paying $35 million per annum. I think instead of paying it in interest rates, which is down the chute as far as I’m concerned, I think that money could be better used to discount or bring down rates charges or water charges.
MyGC: In your opinion, what aspect of the Council is most in need of change and reform, and how will you address this?
I have a very personal opinion on this one. That opinion is that council is a council. It is not a local government. It is not a third tier of taxation. It is a ‘Body Corporate’ for the interest of the community. A body corporate in a high rise or any scheme like I am in at the moment in Coomera Waters, of which I am a member and also the Treasurer, it is there to serve the community, try and get the services as trim as possible in relation to what the community expects and within the budget that we can afford. And I think councils are exactly that and no more.
MyGC: The new City Plan unveiled by the government focused on a ‘BUILDING UP, NOT OUT’ philosophy, with an unlimited height restriction. How do you feel about that plan?
Building up when you have very little room on the ground is sensible. However, we must bear in mind that each tower that goes up generally expresses into about 200 cars on the ground. We all now know what congestion means and this is almost something new on the Gold Coast.
We’ve always enjoyed open spaces. We’ve enjoyed freedom of movement. Now all of a sudden we’re becoming part of a gridlock. I believe that a sensible expansion is the only way to go. [It’s important to] try and keep the buildings to a reasonable level with the thought in mind that each one represents more and more cars on our roads and this is something we need to address. We need to have better public transport. We need to try and entice our self out of the continence of our cars into public transport. We can only do that with common sense and with intelligent organisation and foresight.
MyGC: Well that flows nicely on to my next question. The truck crash on the M1 earlier this year brought chaos and major disruption to our city streets. I’m aware this is a state road but what is your plan for improving traffic on the Gold Coast so we can avoid major issues like this in the future?
Well, yes, it is mostly a state government issue. As a councillor, as a representative of the community, I would strong recommend to the Minister for Transport that he may want to consider marking each laneway on the M1. We have four lanes, and I’ve noted that you may have trucks and slow drivers in the outer lanes, therefore enticing other drivers to go around as slower driver, thus causing congestion.
I’m sure we’ve all noticed that most of the gridlock seems to be for no reason whatsoever. Well, that reason as I understand it or view it, is because drivers having to choose a lane that is of their own chose whereby they can choose whatever speed they want to go to, as long as it’s not over 110 which is the speed limit, then causes other drivers to go around them which then causes a certain amount of that gridlock. I would suggest to the Minister – let’s make the inner lanes, where the ramps are to go on and off, at 80km/h, the next one is 90km/h, the next one if 100km/h and the next is 110 and once you’ve chosen that lane – stay there. That way the people who want to go a little slower are not impinged by drivers who are impatient and try and get around them and toot them and road rage and the rest of it. Those who want to go at a greater speed may chose a lane of their choice and speed and drive with the drivers who are more to their way of thinking. I believe it can unlock a lot of the gridlock that we are suffering on the M1.
MyGC: That is an interesting idea – do you know if it has been done anywhere else?
Not to my knowledge. But I think it’s a simple one to do. I mean how much does a can of paint cost?
I would think that police or cameras can be put up in relation to policing that speed limit so that if you’re in an 80km/h laneway you do not go over that. Also, I think the Minister would be well advised to consider that the police also have power for those who want to dawdle in lanes that are, say, 90km/h or 100km/h and go at 80km/h. Therefore going back to the way we are now, impinging on drivers and creating some sort of road rage and blockages.
MyGC: The Light Rail is obviously a pretty contentious issue for some people – What would you like to see happen with the Light Rail in the future?
I’m one of those people who absolutely loathes and hates the Light Rail. I think it’s the greatest mistake the Gold Coast has ever made. In my view, common sense will tell us that we have nine times more waterways on the Gold Coast than Venice has. With that, there is a down side. The down side is there’s not much room on the ground. Therefore if you want to have an efficient public transport system you need to go up. That’s the one thing I agree with Tom Tate on and that is we need to build up because we don’t have much room on the ground but I’m referring it to public transport.
I’m very attracted to the monorail system that can go over waterways, roads, bridges, whatever and that in itself is a big plus because people can use it without having to work about traffic gridlock. If it’s designed properly it can become a huge tourist attraction. The monorail can take you to beaches to in buildings, for example The Oasis. That is a brilliant conception, you get into the monorail and you go shopping and get back in the monorail and go wherever you’re going. To me, that’s the transport of the future and to me, the Gold Coast should be treated a city of the future with all the tourist attractions. You could even look at having a moving restaurant.
MyGC: What is your preference for transport to Gold Coast Airport?
A – Buses, B- Light Rail, C- Heavy Rail
(I just want a simple A, B or C answer – anything longer than one letter will be ignored and you will lose four votes) NB: Yes, this is exactly how the question was worded.
MyGC: There seems to be a lot of questions about JOBS on the Gold Coast. What’s your plan to make sure that jobs continue to grow here on the Coast as the population continues to increase?
The Gold Coast is a tourist mecca and should be promoted accordingly. We should take a leaf from what Las Vegas did and have more entertainment; more tourism and concentrate at that level which will automatically boost the job situation. I think we have all the measures that we need right now. All we need to do is use them intelligently.
To find out what all the candidates have to say – click on their names below: