Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Meeting the candidates

Some enthusiastic DCFGers went along to the 'meet the candidates Q&A' at the town hall last night. These candidates are folk who have nominated themselves for the next four-year term in local council. After compiling a list of concerns on behalf of community gardeners Patrick delivered the following set of questions.
Daylesford Community Food Gardeners would like to know where candidates stand on a number of important local environment issues.
We would like to know where candidates stand on:
1 Water Security.
(a) the misuse of the shire’s groundwater for polluting products such as bottled water.
(b) contamination of our waterways due to industry and mining.
(c) contamination of our waterways due to council pesticides.
2 Food Security.
The continued development of a community food system
(a) through community gardens, and
(b) through the strategic planting of public fruit and nut trees throughout our shire.
3 Chemical and Pollution Reduction Strategy.
(a) supporting the establishment of a chemical reduction strategy, beginning with an audit of council’s toxic chemical use and an up-to-date independent analysis of the harm herbicides such as Roundup cause to humans, nonhumans and the environment.
(b) a plastic bag free shire.
4 Affordable Housing, Ecological Building and Cooperative Living.
(a) housing for low-income families.
(b) energy efficient building practices, including solar accessible homes (ie north facing).
(c) composting toilets for domestic and public buildings.
(d) opportunities for residents to own land in cooperatives, especially younger people who have little chance to buy land.
The most outspoken on these issues was Jon Barrell, who was the only one to speak about the challenges of climate change and peak oil and how the above questions relate. Councillor Barrell has also already demonstrated his support of the community gardens and other such transitional activities such as public fruit and nut tree plantings. 

All the other candidates were supportive of these things, especially Brian Hawkes regarding composting toilets and affordable housing. It was however a little concerning that a number of the candidates were standing for council on an anti-streetscape ticket, which seemed a little tabloid to the those of us in attendance who believe there are much more important issues. 

One candidate, Chris Sedgman, was not in attendance so we emailed her our concerns. Her responses are posted as the third comment below.


  1. I found the evening most interesting and was reasonably impressed with the quality and diversity of the candidates, although I would add that I thought there was too much emphasis placed on the Vincent St Revitalisation and Shire rates.

    Jon Barrell came across pretty well overall and at least addressed the ecological crisis we are facing. Better the devil you know, than the one you don't:-)

    I thought Kate Redwood and Jade McCutcheon were both impressive and had some passion for the environment, arts, community and equality. Kate is also a Director of Hepburn Wind, which she did not mention.

    Brian would at least keeps things interesting and would uphold the ecological health of the Shire. He is openly against the wombat forest mines and I certainly enjoyed his passion and words of wisdom.

    Pierre did not grab me, and I unsure if his background in the petroleum industry would be benefical??????

    Overall, way too much chatter about roads and rubbish!

  2. Thanks Patrick for your interesting analysis. I agree that this election is about the immediate and long term health of the Shire and residents and its communities. This covers a beadth of topics with environment sustainability housing and jobs at the top of the list in my view. It should be so not about car parks, and pedestrians should at least be able to cross the roads safely. Thank you for your interest and passion. Jon Barrell

  3. Candidate Chris Sedgman's response:

    1 I am certainly against any mining in our area whether or not it
    affects the quality of our water & would certainly like to look into
    what current practices are carried out by council staff that may reduce
    the quality of the water.

    2 As you know I am in support of community gardens & consider the
    Kitchen garden program to be vital for young people to learn about
    plants, growing harvesting & cooking their own produce. Programs like
    these do more than just teach about plants & food. They unknowingly
    teach the students about math, through weighing & dividing products,
    reading & spelling via recipes as well as engaging the community. My
    hope is to have the KGP & CG to work parallel & in support of each other
    in the future.

    3 I believe that the reduction of toxic chemicals is an environmental goal
    that we should aim for & it would be desirable for the council to have a
    structured program to phase in the use of less toxic products.
    I love the idea of a plastic bag free shire.

    4 Some years ago I personally did some research, which was adopted
    by the then Ministry of Housing, to enable a single parent to remain in
    the family home after a divorce, rather than selling, moving losing all
    their & their children's support structures, friends and sometime family
    pets when having to move. I understand that the program is still
    running. I believe that thinking 'out of the box' can provide us with
    some innovative and sustainable structures that are of great benefit to
    our society. We have just built our home facing north (not the views) &
    it is a beautifully light sun filled home. I cannot think of why anyone
    would not do that. The idea of co-ops is a great way of providing homes
    for lower income families/singles especially if it can be arranged for
    the co-op to build the homes for themselves and each other. This
    increases the skill base & gives more ownership & engages the group into
    a community. This sort of project has been done before & I would be very
    interested in trying to get it to happen in our shire. Composting
    toilets are ideologically a great idea I'm just not sure about them
    being in town but would be happy to investigate it in more detail.

    Thanks for taking the time to ask me to respond to your questions.