CR ADELIA BERRIDGE: THE COUNCILLOR WHO JUST DOESN’T GET IT! Redland City Councillor Adelia Berridge is on the warpath and has included our islands in her barrage of perceived council over-spending. She has been reaching out to various media outlets, including The Friendly Bay Islander, in an attempt to sell her message of ‘concern and overspending’ She recently said in a speech at council she attacked council’s growing capital works portfolio: “This is not sitting well with me especially when I see spending next year for more road sealing on the SMBI’s or half a million for Way finding signage. “I can’t explain our priority to spend $3M on a project for open space and more cycleways, when I can’t get basic essentials like toddler play equipment in a neighbourhood park for a day care mum.To mitigate the risk I need to see the number of projects scaled back and see a policy that ‘no new big projects ‘will be looked at”. In identifying our islands in her claims of ‘over spending’ she raised our hackles and those of plenty of others, including our Division 5 councillor, Mark Edwards. Cr Edwards told The Friendly Bay Islander: “Had Cr Berridge looked more closely at the budget she would have known that the popular and successful ‘green seal’ road program on the islands has been suspended in the 2022-23 council budget. “To mention it in her attack on the budget is an indication of her true level of understanding of the budget and how finance works.” Further Cr Berridge says council has a total budget of $400 million, with council borrowings to triple from around $32 million to over $70 million. She has also compared council’s interest on borrowings as a concern, noting interest rate rises of late by the Reserve Bank. And what concerns her the most is “we have 67 projects in our Corp Plan of which we have completed only two which means we still have 65 to go”. And, to top it off, she thinks council’s rate increase of 4.72% is too high, blaming it all on what she believes is council’s ‘over-spending ’budget’. When the Friendly Bay Islander tackled her on some of her issues, and particularly the island road sealing program, she amazingly revealed this: “ I lived on Coochie when it had no seals and was mostly dirt road. The difference is, I knew what it was like when I bought the house. It’s common to island living. Personally I loved Coochie the way it was because it reflected true island living and culture, but that’s just my opinion. Island living should remain unique and unspoilt. As it’s been said to me by real estate people on the SMBI and Coochie, they are jewels in the crown and I believe they are. Cr Berridge seemingly ignored our references to the health dangers and the silica in the dust on island roads, preferring all our islands to have ‘dirt roads’ to fit into her ‘picture’ of an ‘idyllic island lifestyle’. No matter that we have small 500m2 to 600m2 blocks of land and home building is going on everywhere on our islands and that home owners (new one’s in particular) expect and deserve better than the councillor’s perception.
CR ADELIA BERRIDGE