Local government plays a huge role in protecting and preserving the environment, and The City of Onkaparinga has a strong tradition of introducing positive measures and initiatives based on environmental and sustainability issues.
For that reason, a number of local environmental and community groups have contacted all the candidates standing for Mayor of Onkaparinga City, as well as those standing in the Southern Vales and South Coast Wards, to offer them the opportunity to introduce themselves to our collective membership, and to let us know where they stand on a number of key environmental issues in the City of Onkaparinga.
Each candidate was given the same ten questions to answer. Here are the responses of Paul Yeomans, Candidate for the South Coast Ward.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity of introducing myself and addressing the environmental issues below. By way of introduction, my name is Paul Yeomans, a local resident for over 20 years. I served the community for 42 years as a police officer, recently retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent where I gained significant experience in managing resources, finances and staff, in both metropolitan and regional areas. I have nominated as a candidate for the South Coast Ward as I now have the capacity and capability to become more involved in local issues and if elected, I look forward to having an influence on decisions made in the best interest of the local community.
In relation to the 10 questions posed:
- Where do you live? What attracted you to where you live?
I have lived in Maslin Beach for 20 years. What attracted me to the area were the clean beaches, open spaces, numerous reserves and spectacular, panoramic cliff faces. This area is also off the main road, is very quiet and peaceful and has a heightened sense of ‘real community’. Despite having a fair commute to work on occasions, it was worth the drive knowing what enjoyment I received from being home.
- What’s your political background?
I have never been aligned with or a member of, a political party.
- To which community groups or associations do you belong?
I am a member of the Maslin Beach Community Association.
- If elected, what will be your priorities?
I obviously care for the environment which is one of the reasons I nominated as a candidate for this Ward, which represents many areas that share similar attractions to where I live. The sheer size of the Council presents opportunities to contribute to and have an impact on energy reduction. Policy relating to future planning, developments, building upgrades and the like need to be inclusive of this. Other priorities include capping rates, reducing debt, public ownership of public assets and genuine community consultation.
- What are your policies regarding the environment and biodiversity?
To enhance my comments above, in regards to any developments, I would be encouraging and promoting genuine consultation with no only the immediate community affected, but with representatives of relevant environmental groups who as subject matter experts, would be in a position to offer sound advice and recommendations on any potential environmental impact. I believe it is necessary to seek, consider and respect all of the available opinions and information prior to being able to make well-informed decisions in the best interest of the community.
- Do you think the City of Onkaparinga should re-visit declaring a Climate Emergency?
It would be challenging to find any rational argument that human intervention is not contributing to changes in our climate. But I would need to be satisfied such a declaration actually meant something, as opposed to just words. We already live in a world where there is a lot of talk and not enough action and I would be keen to know what action was actually being taken by Council to back up the words.
- How can Council accelerate decarbonisation within the community?
I think Council need to take a strategic position on this. Reviewing the current Council Business Plan, I note several key highlights that focus on a better environment are forecast for 22/23. These highlights are only meaningful if they eventuate and to that end, appropriate funding needs to be allocated and actually spent on these initiatives to make these environmental highlights a reality. This is one way Council can contribute. It is also important Council keeps up to date with contemporary findings and recommendations from experts and appropriate committees to assist in formulating policies, strategies and priorities moving forward.
- How would you make Onkaparinga a better place to live with less resource consumption?
This is something I am conscious of. I installed a 6,000 gallon (approx. 22,000 litre) rain water tank 20 years ago, water that I am able to use throughout my house. I am a frequent user of the local recycling depot and when I could afford them, I also installed a number of solar panels. These are examples of initiatives that should be encouraged in future building proposals. I also think that Council can play their part by focussing on buying products and materials from suppliers who practice Corporate social responsibility in manufacturing and distributing their products. Using ecofriendly products should be a priority and as alluded to previously, strategic planning and engagement with subject matter experts can assist in outlining and developing policy that focus on promoting cleaner living and the protection of our environment.
- How would you aim to influence Elected Members to be effective decision makers?
I have not nominated as Mayor but in regards to being an effective decision maker, I am a retired Senior Manager in SAPOL (Superintendent) and making effective decisions whether it be on resource allocation, expenditure (I had to manage my own budgets), strategic or operational, was part of my daily life.
- Do you have ideas for championing improvements in the energy efficiency and lower resource footprints of new and retrofit development, both domestic and commercial?
I don’t like wasting energy and resources and reducing waste is something I would champion. Renovating existing buildings represents an opportunity to not only improve the energy performance, particularly by optimising the performance of heating, lighting and ventilation, but also reducing on going operational costs, that in our current economic environment should also be a priority. Upgrading light fittings from fluorescent tubes to more efficient, longer lasting LEDs should be a priority in all building upgrades. From a Corporate perspective, developing and implementing training programs for employees and seeking their ideas of increasing efficiency, reducing energy use and waste reduction strategies should also be considered.
As mentioned above, Council can play their part by focussing on buying products and materials from suppliers who practice Corporate social responsibility in manufacturing and distributing their products. I accept this may at times be cost prohibitive – you only need to look at clothing products in stores and see where they are manufactured to appreciate this – but this does need to be considered in context for the greater good. The installation of water tanks and solar panels are initiatives that should also be encouraged in future building proposals (new and renovations) in my view.
Authorised by P.Yeomans, PO Box 396 Seaford 5169.