On 9 September, we go to the polls to elect our Council representatives for the next four years. With the changes in ward boundaries Pennant Hills residents are split between Ward B (the majority of Pennant Hills) and Ward C, so my comments apply to all candidates for these wards.
With the abandonment of Council amalgamations by the NSW Government we face the issue of convincing a financially-strapped Council to deal with issues important to Pennant Hills residents such as:
- keeping the Town Centre Masterplan high on the agenda
- developing the right compromise on increased living density along the Pennant Hills Road corridor while maintaining our environmental amenity and ensuring necessary social infrastructures are built in phase with increased density
- planning for improvements in local traffic movements and parking; access to the town centre and transport hub; and encouraging the success of local businesses throughout any developments.
Given these challenges, it’s pivotal to ask ourselves: “What type of Pennant Hills do we want to have to raise our children and grandchildren?”
Our elected Councillor will not only need to reflect Pennant Hills as a community but also lobby for our collective interests during their term. It’s important they represent us as a community first rather than sectional interests, lobby groups or political parties.
We will see some current Councillors, as well as many new faces standing for election. In a democracy, we have an obligation to cast our vote carefully and with an eye to the future. Responsibility cannot be shifted – if we don’t do this we have only ourselves to blame if we don’t like the way the Council behaves over the next four years.
Where current Councillors are offering themselves for re-election we should ask them what have they’ve done for our community during their current term of office to justify their re-election; what are their plans for the next term, and will they be advocates for Pennant Hills? We should ask aspiring candidates what their vision is for the future of Pennant Hills, what skills do they bring to council and are they truly community focused?
Having a free vote is a great gift and privilege. Let’s exercise it wisely in the interests of ourselves, our neighbors and our community.
The PHD Civic Trust is a not for profit volunteer community organization to preserve and enhance the residential amenity of Pennant Hills and West Pennant Hills.