2020 Bayside Council Election - Boyd

Here are responses to our questions from candidates for the Boyd ward in the 2020 Bayside Council elections.

  Q1 Do you think it is important to maintain and increase the diversity and quantity of local fauna species within Bayside? Q2 Do you think that Bayside should do more to improve and encourage shared Open Space for all community uses, including sport, dog walking, picnicking and strolling, walking, provision of habitat for wildlife and active exercise? Q3 Do you strongly support Council incorporating more structurally and species diverse planting suitable for wildlife habitat in all open spaces where it does not compromise the primary purpose or historic significance of the space? For example, understorey planting around the edges of active recreation areas.
FRANCIS, Craig Yes I do. I'm not an expert in this area but would seek advice as to the challenges to this diversity and how it should be appropriately managed. I'm assuming the focus should be on 'native' rather than 'introduced' fauna species but again I would defer to the experts. Given we have finite open space then I would encourage that we appropriately share that space where possible for various purposes. Again I would need to draw on expert advice as to where and how that sharing can be best achieved. I would agree that a wholistic approach, undertaken by those with suitable expertise, be taken rather than simply counting numbers of trees which may or may not be the right mix of planting.
HARKIN, Colleen No response received No response received No response received
McINTOSH, Kylie Yes absolutely! Loss of biodiversity globally is an enormous challenge, and as such, important to do what we can at a local level. Yes. In the context of the COVID lockdowns this year, I think we all appreciate our local open green spaces even more. I would also love to see signage in wildlife habitat spaces describing and picturing our local flora (esp native birds - and is it time to update the 1995 Local Birds of Bayside guide??) and fauna to raise awareness in the local community. Yes.
NORRIS, Michael Absolutely. No – games already have more than their fair share. Completely agree. Resources to implement a number of reserve masterplans have been insufficient and the horticultural contract needs to emphasise local native plants.
PACKER, Evan Yes. Yes - we need a better balance with expenditure between 'sports grounds' and ‘open space'. Yes - less clinical landscaping and more natural plantings.
PATERSON, Jamie Yes, I have advocated at Council meetings and in the community across the last 5 years for greater enforcement of vegetation, especially large canopy trees and bushland in order to maintain habitat for wildlife. We do have finite land in Bayside and we have ever greater population pressure. Therefore it's vital that passive open space and conservation areas are afforded the same consideration as sporting facilities. I support diversity of species in replanting, but we also must change the mindset on retention of vegetation. Current Council assessment of trees is antiquated and doesn't reflect the amenity, shade and habitat value of trees that they classify as having poor structure or low amenity value.
RUSSELL, Olivia No response received No response received No response received
STITFOLD, Fiona I believe it is important to maintain and increase the diversity of local fauna with a particular focus on species indigenous to Bayside. Multipurpose open spaces will be increasingly important as population grows. Community consultation will be important to achieve cohesion and collaboration. Indigenous planting is compatible with maintaining primary purpose and cultural significance while supporting wildlife habitat.
  Q4 Do you support increased efforts to ensure the provision of water for wildlife in Bayside’s open spaces? Q5 Do you support more urgent action on lighting impacts and having an interim approach/policy which is based on the best available knowledge? Q6 Should Council be implementing more effective regulations applicable to domestic animals as identified in their strategies without delay?
FRANCIS, Craig Water management is clearly key across a range of areas, and should incorporate the needs of our local wildlife as well. Again, with no expertise in this area, I would rely on expert opinion as to the potential impacts and possible remediation. As with all of these areas I would go with the science. The current plan does seem too far off unless there is a good reason to be waiting that long. I must admit to not being familiar with Council's policies on domestic animals and as such I'm not qualified to comment on this question.
HARKIN, Colleen No response received No response received No response received
McINTOSH, Kylie Yes, I think this is an important and essential adaptive measure in response to climate change. Yes - 'possibly developing a policy for it by 2026/27' definitely sounds too slow! Yes. Feral cats and dogs sadly kill millions of native animals across Australia each year, and locally, domestic cats and dogs kill native birds, reptiles, possums and more. I note that Council has a cat curfew strategy, but am not sure how effective this is?
NORRIS, Michael Yes – if done with care. Absolutely - for instance lower lighting wavelengths could be a great help. Yes - in particular cats should be confined to the owner’s property.
PACKER, Evan Yes. Yes. Yes.
PATERSON, Jamie This is very important, especially as more yard space is covered by housing and hard surfacing. I support the FoNW water bowl project and Council could do much to remind residents to participate. Yes I support urgent action on lighting. This is a simple and achieveable way for Council to make a positive impact for wildlife and resident amenity. Yes, our cat and feral animal problems are amongst the biggest impactors on our local native wildlife, Much more can be done to protect native fauna and flora.
RUSSELL, Olivia No response received No response received No response received
STITFOLD, Fiona Respecting ecosystems, working to mitigate against Climate Change and fostering resilience is important. Action is appropriate on lighting and should be done collaboratively with all stakeholders in order to transfer knowledge and to create understanding. Respecting and protecting all life, sentient and non-sentient is important. If elected I will need to continue the rapid learning curve to better understand council policies and regulations.
  Q7 Should Council place greater importance on ensuring the successful protection of mature trees in considering and designing new development proposals on both private and public land? Q8 Should Council provide greater encouragement to Bayside residents to create wildlife-friendly gardens and resurrect the Gardens for Wildlife trial? Q9 Do you support Council providing the community with more detail as to the allocation of resources to, and an annual report on, implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan?
FRANCIS, Craig I believe the benefits of mature trees are well documented, and I would look to be preserving them where possible unless they are at a stage of being in danger of falling. This sounds like a positive idea. I would be wanting to understand if there were valid reasons why the trial was not pursued. Whilst I appreciate Council resources are finite, I would support information and transparency from Council on this and all matters.
HARKIN, Colleen No response received No response received No response received
McINTOSH, Kylie Yes absolutely. While planting 'replacement trees' is important, preserving and maintaining mature trees must be given greater priority, and given Council's recent declaration of a Climate Emergency, retaining as many trees as possible in addition to planting new trees, increasing street tree cover etc urgently considered. Yes. This is disappointing that the trial was never completed and no explanation given. Yes. I am supportive more broadly of greater transparency by council in all its communications with the local community, including a commitment to regularly report back on its activities and projects such as the Biodiversity Action Plan.
NORRIS, Michael Yes – while recognising that it is vital to plant, and provide room for, the next generation of large trees to thrive. Yes – with thorough evaluation of how/why such initiatives are not taken up. Yes - and, if elected, I would seek to rebalance Council staffing appropriately.
PACKER, Evan Yes - with significant penalties for breaches. Possibly - I would require more information. Yes - but not just limited to the Biodiversity Action Plan.
PATERSON, Jamie I have long been an advocate for retaining mature trees and have fought for their protection many times at Council and VCAT. With the growing impacts of climate change, it's vital we retain and expand our urban tree canopy. Planning controls need strengthening, but Council also need to better enforce the controls we currently have. This has to be a key tenet of Bayside's Climate Emergency action plan. I participated in this trial and was disappointed that it wasn't completed. Community education leads to community participation. Some co-ordination between Council and local community groups is all that's required to kick-start a great initiative like this. If Bayside Council are serious in implementing their Biodiversity and Climate Emergency action plans, then the level of transparency and accountability needs to be on par with other activities and projects.
RUSSELL, Olivia No response received No response received No response received
STITFOLD, Fiona Increasing and protecting the tree canopy is one of my concerns. The wildlife-friendly gardens is a great initiative and I would like to further explore the Gardens for Wildlife trial. I believe there should be transparency in all Council Action Plans.