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 Sean Weatherly, Candidate for South Coast Ward.
- Where do you live? What attracted you to where you live?
I currently reside in Seaford Heights. I grew up in the southern area attending Wirreanda High School and graduating from Flinders University. I have family in Morphett Vale, Hackham West, Huntfield Heights, Seaford Rise and Aldinga. I moved further south to the Seaford area because I love our beautiful beaches, our open spaces and to be close to family. The current housing shortage also played a role in where I currently live because there were 50-100 applicants for rentals and I had to take the first place offered. I am very happy where I currently reside.
- What’s your political background?
I recently ran as a candidate for the Australian Greens SA for the seat of Kaurna at the last state election. I am a currently member of the Greens SA. My political allegiances changed after Kevin ’07 because I was unhappy with the current state of politics and the lack of care for our environment and the need to address biodiversity loss, land clearing and the climate emergency.
- To which community groups or associations do you belong?
As an actor/performer I have previously performed with Noarlunga Theatre Company and years ago with Backstares Theatre Company who rehearsed at the Pt Noarlunga Arts Centre and performed at the Hopgood (Noarlunga College Theatre). I currently run a small business as a children’s entertainer and have worked with Make-a-Wish Foundation, Women’s Cancer Foundation and many other charities. I have also produced and performed shows for the Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Feast Festival and attended clean-ups for Adopt a Spot with the Kingston Greens.
- If elected, what will be your priorities?
If elected to council I will advocate for:
– Council to declare a climate emergency
– Improving access to electric vehicle infrastructure
– Improving recycling rates & reduce waste going into landfill
– Increase tree canopy cover to reduce the effect of heat islands
– Expanding arts festivals to drive tourism & hospitality; and
– Protecting our environment, wildlife and beautiful coastline
- What are your policies regarding the environment and biodiversity?
I would like to see more conservation parks and the re-vegetation of cleared areas to increase habitat for our wildlife
I would like to see more trees planted across our council area to reduce the effect of heat islands
I would like to see the rubbish traps in our waterways upgraded – we currently have infrastructure that is very old and built for a smaller population. This would see a reduction of rubbish in our waterways and oceans.
I would like to see more eco-tourism in our area
I would like to see a greater investment in energy efficiency which would see a financial dividend for rate payers for the future
I would like to see an increase in recycling rates and a reduction of waste going into landfill
I would like to see council adopt steam weeding to reduce the amount of herbicides going into our waterways and aquifers
I don’t support the sale of our water assets
- Do you think the City of Onkaparinga should re-visit declaring a Climate Emergency?
Absolutely 100%. All council decisions should take into account future generations and should not negatively impact our environment.
- How can Council accelerate de-carbonisation within the community?
Investing in electric vehicle infrastructure
Investing in solar power and promoting energy efficiency
Greening our community by planting more trees
Promoting community gardens
Rezoning more land to be classified as Conservation and Scenic Protection
By declaring a climate emergency future Council infrastructure projects must be carbon neutral or require offsetting carbon emissions
- How would you make Onkaparinga a better place to live with less resource consumption?
Promoting the arts to drive tourism and hospitality
Promote and support better public transport services
Invest in more bicycle paths and upgrade high usage lanes to be safer for riders
Push for the extension of the train line to Aldinga
Add soft plastic recycling to our current recycling collection scheme
- How would you, as Mayor, aim to influence Elected Members to be effective decision makers?
I’m not running for mayor but if I was I would keep communication open and work in a collaborative and consensus driven manner to achieve outcomes.
- Do you have ideas for championing improvements in the energy efficiency and lower resource footprints of new and retrofit development, both domestic and commercial?
Installing electric vehicle charging points at council venues for locals to use until they are adopted and rolled out commercially to help the transition to a clean economy
Convert council’s fleet to electric vehicles which will contribute stock to a 2nd hand electric vehicle market in the future. Convert our waste trucks to electric.
Council has done some education on how our community can be great recyclers but we really need better policies to encourage residents who are not acting in the community’s interest
Support local businesses that want to turn our waste and recycled materials into useful products
Expand our storm water harvesting program for recycled water providing cheaper water costs for our community and greening our community without depleting our reservoirs, underground aquifers and water storages
Improve planning regulations to make houses more energy efficient
Make our city a solar powerhouse with micro-grids and battery storage
In 2018 Happy Valley saw a trial of recycled materials to build local roads. I would like to see this rolled out and become common practice.