Meet the Brownbill ward candidates

A satellite photo of Brownbill ward. (Google Maps)

Ahead of this month’s council election, the Independent asked Brownbill ward candidates why residents should vote for them.

Sarah Mansfield

I’m a current Geelong councillor, a GP and a senior lecturer at Deakin University. I believe that local government should put caring for people and the environment at the heart of its decisions. In my first term, I worked with the community to push for action on climate change, a social and affordable housing strategy, safer cycling infrastructure including the Green Spine and fewer poker machines.

If re-elected, my priorities will be:

• stronger action on climate change and environmental protection;

• improving public transport, cycling and walking options;

• increasing the availability of affordable and social housing;

• increasing local employment opportunities and greater support for local business and arts;

• improving community sports facilities to grow female participation.

Jose Rodriguez

Geelong has been my home for over 30 years. I arrived with my family who had fled a war-torn country in pursuit of a new life. Over the past decade, I have been vocal about my support for a design-led city. I proposed plans to overhaul the CBD’s ailing mall and petitioned to save the Geelong Cement Silos. I was motivated to stand as a councillor because I was greatly discouraged, and baffled, by the decision to tear up the Green Spine in Geelong’s CBD for a cost of $2 million. The state government had to intervene to stop the council from destroying the award-winning Green Spine. I believe Geelong has an exciting future; it will be clever, creative and courageous.

Melissa Cadwell

I’m a resident and ratepayer in St Albans Park where I grew up. It’s time people like us from the outer suburbs got a fair go for a change on council. Our current councillors only care about Geelong CBD and that’s not good enough. I’ll never vote to cut, privatise or contract out council jobs or the services they provide. I’ll oppose increased costs for critical services like kindergarten, childcare, leisure centres, homecare and meals on wheels. I’ll support projects providing good, secure local jobs, delivering real benefits for our community, like facilities upgrades for local sporting clubs.

Bernie Franke

I’m having a go for council mainly because of the lack of orderly local planning. No more green spines, closed roads and loss of parking until council resolves the east-west traffic issue. Council builds itself a castle in the sky. The aged and disabled now wait months for necessary council home care service. There are more and more unaffordable tip fees. The council never enacted its resolution on the Fyansford tip. Residents ask: what now? Why has a forest of trees been planted on the protective clay capping of the old tip at Newtown? Who will foot the bill when water penetrates and increases the toxic leachate?

Dean Hope

I have lived in Geelong West for the past 15 years and have a human resources background. I believe we need to take immediate action to reduce unemployment and improve opportunities, reduce crime, and enhance economic development. We must support and protect our neighbourhoods and businesses. We can no longer tolerate a divided council; we need fresh eyes, new ideas, with better communication and collaboration between council, our neighbourhoods and businesses. My style in working to solve problems through a respectful, collaborative effort with a common-sense approach has been key to my success in life. We need to find ways to bring more business and job opportunities back to Geelong.

Alex Csar

My family and I have lived within the ward for nine years. There is a perception amongst the people of Brownbill that City Hall cares only for central Geelong. Its councillors should represent the entire municipality. I will be that councillor. I want to see a strong network of protected cycling routes to encourage more people within the ward out of their cars. Council should have a clearer strategy for pet owners, such as properly built dog-friendly parks. I want buses to continue to be useful for all people by keeping them in Moorabool Street, and I want the Green Spine to not only survive but thrive and extend across the CBD.

Stretch Kontelj

After five years living and working in the UK and Europe, I have returned to Geelong and feel impassioned to return to council to help our city revive and thrive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. I have an extensive set of skills and leadership experience that would be of significant value to council as Geelong looks for options and solutions to tackle the most challenging period in our living memory. Before going overseas, I was a councillor for 17 years including a term as mayor. I believe I am uniquely placed to help steer the city through these challenging times.

Sandi Dwyer

I’m running for council out of conviction that it is imperative to put climate first now. The disregard for the environment revealed by some of the decisions made last year compelled me to take action even though it’s against my nature to go public in this way. That is how important climate is. It’s imperative to cease funding and developing fossil fuel companies and replace them with sustainable energy sources. The future of our home, our Earth, depends on it. Bring your creative sustainable business ideas forward. Together we’ve got this!

Peter Murrihy

I’m standing for council again as I believe I can make a positive difference. People expect a common-sense approach in council when deciding on issues and that’s what I offer. Geelong residents love the lifestyle here and I will work hard to further improve all aspects of that. I will continue to commit time and energy into our local sporting and community groups for council to be able to provide the best possible infrastructure. I’m passionate about improving the Eastern Beach and Kardinia Park precincts, and I believe Landy Field needs some immediate attention.

Eddy Kontelj

Geelong has so much potential and we need capable people with vision and passion to lead it. If re-elected to represent the Brownbill ward, I will advocate for free CBD parking, particularly around city hospitals, and hard waste collection to become permanent. I will also focus on navigating Geelong, including small business, through COVID-19 and beyond. I’ll push for capital investment in drainage, footpaths, roads, playgrounds, community and sporting facility upgrades and much-needed transport and fishing infrastructure. I’ll fight for the delivery of efficient and effective services to minimise rate increases and financial burden. I’ll lobby for better public transport and increased police presence to reduce violence, theft, graffiti, vandalism and hoon driving.

Gabriel Wenyika

I moved to Geelong from Zimbabwe in 2006 to study law and international relations at Deakin University. I am proud to call Geelong home. I serve as a board member of community outreach organisation OneCare Geelong and I volunteer for Red Frogs Australia.

As a councillor I will:

• seek to give voice to the concerns of the community as a whole.

• encourage a multicultural viewpoint on all council matters

• ensure that young people are represented in decision making.

• increase the awareness of and expand hard waste collection to reduce the dumping of white goods and other hard waste

• seek to increase support for the arts and for local businesses

• evoke strong action on climate change.

Louis Hehir

It’s time for a fresh voice on Geelong council. I strongly believe our region should be more accessible and inclusive. For too long the council has not listened to people outside the 3220 postcode. The city’s lack of action on climate change deeply concerns me and its sustainability framework is tokenistic. Council should aim for zero carbon emissions by 2030. I have seen the impact of youth suicide on our community and I have experienced my battles with mental health. This year several youths have taken their own lives and I want to stop this happening. If elected, I will rewrite the council’s mental health strategy and expand peer-led support programs across the city. Geelong can do better.

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