Frederickstown hopefuls face public

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Candidates for Frederickstown Ward in the upcoming City of Albany local government election pleaded their cases and fielded an array of questions at a Meet the Candidates event at Middleton Beach Bowling Club on Monday night.

Candidates gave an opening speech followed by questions from the audience at the event, hosted by the Frederickstown Progress Association.

Rebecca Stephens, who works for the City, said she supported several projects, including the trails strategy, an artificial reef and the lower Great Southern economic alliance.

Ms Stephens also highlighted a desire to incorporate participatory budgeting into the City’s finance strategy.

“This method gives decision making back to the community and lets the people decide how to improve public spaces, identify needs and bring the benefit back to the local neighbourhood,” she said.

Peter Ratnik is an internationally recognised composer and conductor who has lived in Albany for the past four years.

A review of City rates is high on Mr Ratnik’s agenda, along with a proposed quarterly public forum to discuss local issues, and a reduction in airfares from Albany to Perth.

David Griffiths has been involved in the forestry industry for several years and is focused on accountable local government and supporting current industries while also facilitating new areas of growth.

Mr Griffiths also highlighted a desire to expand the University of WA Albany campus.

“I’m keen for Albany to grow as an academic hub,” he said.

Originally from Mt Barker, Graeme McBeath has extensive experience in Albany as a farmer, small business owner, public servant and community group participant.

Mr McBeath said if elected he would provide a strong voice for the community.

“I believe that’s the strongest claim that I’ve got to stand for council — to be able to listen to people and hear what they’re saying and communicate both ways,” he said.

Vicki Brown lived in Tambellup before moving to Albany and said she was against the privatisation of local amenities.

“One of the things I want to do is make sure that the cemetery and other amenities stay in the community’s hands and not be sold off to private hands for a short-term gain,” she said.

Incumbent Carolyn Dowling could not attend but said she had been involved with some key projects since 2012, including the development of the National Anzac Centre precinct and the establishment of Eyre Park and Ellen Cove Playgrounds.

Ms Dowling said she was focused on the development of cycle paths, expansions of renewable energy sources and the UWA-Albany campus among other things.

Residents raised questions on a number of issues in particular the Trails Hub Strategy.

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