We sent a questionnaire to every candidate for the 2020 Bayside Council election who provided contact details to the Victorian Electoral Commission (61 out of 66). We asked about issues we think are important for our community. It is not our intention to dictate to anyone how they should vote in the Council election, and we will not be endorsing any candidates. Rather, we want you to be well informed when you exercise your vote.
To find your ward and other voting details, see the Victorian Electoral Commission website.
Candidate Responses By Ward
Bayside’s natural environment contributes to our community’s heritage and local identity; mental and physical wellbeing; and education, knowledge, research and science (including databases and medical research). Our native fauna also help maintain our ecosystem, for example through pollination, pest control and improving soil condition.
Question 1 - Do you think it is important to maintain and increase the diversity and quantity of local fauna species within Bayside?
Demand for open space is at a premium. Where the primary purpose of a reserve is conservation then other uses are necessarily limited however reserves that are designed or managed for other purposes could encourage a range of uses.
Question 2 - 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?
The number of trees planted may be reasonable as a performance indicator for Council’s habitat improvements but simply planting trees does not help Bayside's native wildlife species which also need understorey vegetation for food and for shelter from predatory and more aggressive species.
Question 3 - 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.
Bayside’s environment is forecast to become hotter and drier with more extreme and fluctuating heat events. FoNW has run a coastal water bowl project for many years. During the millennial drought of nearly ten years, and low rainfall in 2019, we witnessed the positive effects it had on local wildlife populations.
Question 4 – Do you support increased efforts to ensure the provision of water for wildlife in Bayside’s open spaces?
There is scientific evidence that artificial lighting significantly affects wildlife and humans. Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan 2018-2027 proposes to undertake an investigation before possibly developing a policy for it by 2026/27. In the meantime, significant proposals for lighting are being made and not simply street lighting e.g. Sandringham Secondary College sports fields.
Question 5 – Do you support more urgent action on lighting impacts and having an interim approach/policy which is based on the best available knowledge?
Council’s environmental strategies acknowledge the need to provide more effective regulations to protect native fauna and flora from domestic animals.
Question 6 - Should Council be implementing more effective regulations applicable to domestic animals as identified in their strategies without delay?
Mature trees are important habitat for native wildlife and have beneficial effects on summer energy savings and the mental health of the users and occupiers of private and public developments.
Question 7 - 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?
Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan 2018-2027 identified the “Gardens for Wildlife” Program as a “High” Priority. The “Gardens for Wildlife” program has been successfully implemented in other municipalities and Bayside commenced a small trial. Community sign up was greater than available places. The trial was never completed and no explanation was provided to the community.
Question 8 - Should Council provide greater encouragement to Bayside residents to create wildlife-friendly gardens and resurrect the Gardens for Wildlife trial?
Council staff allocated to environmental actions are often lost and projects lapse. The Annual Budget, Council Plan and Annual Report do not provide enough detail to enable the community to identify what resources are being allocated to, and what progress is being made on implementing Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan 2018-2027.
Question 9 - 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?