Over the past four years I have enjoyed getting to know Maiden Gully better. I have enjoyed speaking at the Lions Club Australia Day Breakfast celebrations and, as Deputy Mayor, speaking at your Community Carols and also launching the Maiden Gully Community Plan. Weather hasn’t been kind to us at that time of the year, but hopefully COVID-19 restrictions will see some celebration this year, even in a modified form.
I have attended many MGPA meetings, including during the development of your Community Plan and as the idea for a Maiden Gully Autumn Festival developed. I have been an active participant in planning for the Festival. It is a shame that the inaugural Festival was cancelled this year due to COVID-19. Lets hope it can go ahead in 2021.
When Deputy Mayor I also chaired a large community meeting organised by MGPA at the stadium, discussing the ongoing process of preparation of the Maiden Gully Precinct Structure Plan and Developer Contribution Plan. I believe it is important to facilitate as much communication between Council and the community as possible.
Then there is The Footpath :) Following protracted community advocacy, led by Merv and Co. from the MGPA, the successful completion of the footpath between the shops was prioritised by Council and completed, something that all three of us ward councillors had worked to achieve for the community.
So many residents have spoken to me about what drew them to Maiden Gully, and the natural environment and landscape was a large part of their decision. We must ensure development that benefits our social and environmental values and creates the liveable resilient community residents want in a future faced with the challenges of a changing climate.
I have voiced many concerns over the style of some developments we have seen recently, including in Maiden Gully, echoing the concerns that many residents have conveyed to me. Outcomes that result in over clearing and poor landscape modifications that endanger our precious natural environment.
Real democratic community engagement will provide an opportunity for the nature of the community, some of which has been explored already in the Community Plan, to be acted upon. The Plan identifies a number of new planning priorities, local improvements and desired social activities. It seeks improvements to local infrastructure and for implementation of the Maiden Gully Structure Plan and completion and implementation of the Development Contributions Plan.
I believe that development brings with it an opportunity to contribute to the infrastructure needed for a growing population. The location and nature of facilities has been suggested, but there is still a lot of community consultation to be undertaken before it is built in the future. Community voices, supported by the MGPA, will need to be heard. Community matters and our future matters.
I have long advocated for the community garden the community wants, and believe that the ‘pandemic gardening’ interest in food growing sparked by COVI-19 reflects this community desire for social connection that at the same time improves community food security. I also believe it is an opportune time to expand all walking and cycling tracks infrastructure and to expand the draft Precinct Structure Plan to accommodate the locally produced map. I love the idea of incorporating students’ ideas for future bike paths throughout Maiden Gully.
I believe my experience as a councillor plus my Board and executive management experience and being a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors provide the governance skills that will be necessary in a challenging term for the next Council, post COVID-19. Postgraduate qualifications, including my Doctorate of Public Health and experience as Deputy Mayor will help making important decisions to benefit our community’s health and wellbeing. Our prosperity depends on how we can bring flexibility in assisting our businesses, our vulnerable community members and those doing it tough. Importantly, this needs to include maintaining Council’s in-home services, keeping older residents socially connected
In my four years on Council I have worked tirelessly for the community - in public and behind the scenes. It has involved constantly questioning processes and strategies and advocating for change. At a recent Council meeting I said: “I know that when community interest and social benefit comes up against ‘orderly planning outcomes’ my support usually lies with the community.
During my time as a councillor I have come to believe that true independence of Council and councillors is best for the community.
I am proud to be an Independent voice for our community and our future. No vested interests. No politics. I ask your support for me to continue to represent you on Council. Vote 1 Jennifer Alden.