Q AND A with Mark Edwards
Cr Mark Edwards was recently elected in a landslide as the councillor for Division 5, which takes in the Bay Islands and Redland Bay. He has a considerable agenda for the islands in this, his second term.
Q1: Were you pleased to be re-elected as councillor for Division 5 on Redland City Council in such a strong manner?
A1: I was humbled at the support and with that trust there comes a responsibility to continue to do the best I can to improve this Division and the whole of the city.
Q2: In your first term we saw some pretty interesting initiatives, particularly in relation to the sealing of roads, footpath installation and island parking, were you happy with your first term?
A2:The first term was a real challenge and I was starting from scratch. I was pleased to have been able to achieve some successes and I am eager to resolve the big outstanding issues we still face.
Q3: There is a new look about this Redland City Council. It seems more cohesive. Is that the case?
A3:I think every Council term is different as new Councillors bring in different perspectives. There certainly is the desire to work closer together and I have made a personal commitment to that cohesion.
Q4: You clearly have some objectives for the islands. What are these based upon?
A4: It is based around building stronger and happier communities, where people are satisfied with where they live. I know it sounds simple; but getting the basics right is important.
Q5: And what would you like to see tackled first and foremost in this your second term?
A5:There are two huge issues that must be addressed. They are sealing the roads and provision of adequate parking. There are other issues of course, however, roads and parking are the biggest challenges and the most expensive to deal with. Fix those two and then everything else becomes easier to manage. I didn’t mention transport because that falls in with Translink and the State and will be reviewed along the way.
Q6: Where would you like to see the islands positioned at the end of this term in 2020?
A6:The best outcome would be for equity with the mainland in terms of services and infrastructure.
Q7: Funding and fellow councillor support are necessary to achieve your goals, how confident are you of achieving both?
A7: For all Councillors, it is important to have the support of most of the other Councillors otherwise it is a hard road to get things done. Support, however, does not always translate into dollars unless the investment is important to the community. As investing in the islands is critically important, I believe that Councillors will understand the need to provide funds.
Q8: And what of planning for the future, what issues do you believe we should be looking at?
A8: I believe the low real estate values have resulted in a lack of confidence for larger scale private investment in the islands. Low real estate values also impacts on existing home owners where they don't have an option to sell their homes for comparative mainland values. Whilst this is not a council responsibility, it is an issue of importance for the islands community that I believe needs to be resolved.
Q9: Can you see the day when Division 5 will encompass all the Islands of Southern Moreton Bay including Coochiemudlo and North Stradbroke Island?
A9: Probably not unless the marine infrastructure is improved so it is easier for a councillor to visit each island directly by private boat. The time to travel from Point Lookout to Macleay Island would take hours and Stradbroke does not have the evening ferries like SMBI has.