City of Vincent 2017 local government election candidates

City of Vincent 2017 local government election candidates

Below are the background profiles of candidates for this local government authority. Candidates running in the election authorised and provided their background profiles to Community Newspaper Group for publication. Candidate contact details are included in each profile.

MORE: Women outnumber men on City of Vincent council after election

North

Name: Alex Castle
Ward: North Ward, City of Vincent
Phone: 0401 549 051
Email: alexcastlevincent@gmail.com
Suburb of residence: Mt Hawthorn

Are you a member of a political party? If yes, which party? No

About me:
I am a long term Mt Hawthorn resident, small business owner, Mum of two daughters and am passionate about being active in the community. I have been a member of the Mt Hawthorn Primary School P&C and school board for many years, and have been a community representative for the City of Vincent’s Children and Young People Advisory Group since 2014, consulting with Council on the Braithwaite Park Nature Playground, and advocating to Government for better bus services for our students to local high schools. I am Vice Chair of the Mt Hawthorn Hub and have worked closely on the last two Streets & Lanes Festivals, championing the marketing committee to support our local businesses and residents, and working on our community consultation program to determine the needs of Mt Hawthorn residents, including our recent pop-up skate park event.

Why I’m running for council:
I believe that Vincent Council’s innovative and progressive approach has led the way in developing strong communities in Perth, and set the benchmark for transparency and activations. Our community is uniquely connected and supportive. Our wonderful neighbourhoods and town centres bring us together in a fantastic way. I am running to work more closely within Council to improve our town centres and green spaces, to provide better facilities for our booming youth population, for more support for seniors and to improve processes in Council to make it easier to activate and energise our neighbourhoods. Through my work on Mt Hawthorn Hub, I have sought ways to support our local businesses and advocate for improvements to processes and facilities. I believe Council’s role should be to facilitate and encourage innovation for our local businesses, so that the great ideas of our community don’t get tied up in red tape.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Improve our Town Centres and parks
  • Provide better facilities for our booming youth population,
  • Fresh ideas to support small business

Name: Ryan Dawson
Ward: North Ward – City of Vincent
Phone: 0406 536 654
Email: ryanforvincent@gmail.com
Suburb of residence: Leederville

Are you a member of a political party? If yes, which party? No

About me:
I was born and raised in Perth and have been a member of the City of Vincent community since 2014. I’m a family man with a loving wife and two dachshunds. I love nothing more than wandering down Oxford Street for a coffee or taking the dogs for a walk through the neighbourhood. I’m a keen cyclist and want to see the continuation of supporting the development of cycle routes to make getting around on bike safer and more accessible for everyone. I have a background in public service having been employed in Federal and State public sector. I’m currently working in approvals in the private sector and have developed a range of skills to that will make me an effective representative for the people of Vincent. I want to act as an advocate for the people of Vincent and ensure they are getting value for money for their council.

Why I’m running for council:
I’m running for council to give back to a community that has been so fantastic for me and my family. Council should be careful with your money and respect it in the same way we all treat our budgets. Cost of living pressures are impacting families and local government need not add to the stress by continually increasing rates; engaging in inappropriate spending like on new parking machines that make it harder, not easier to park or charging above market interest rates for choosing to pay your rates in instalments. We have great parklands but pressure for land to develop is increasing. We need to ensure that development happens in a way that is sympathetic to the existing residents. I want to ensure that spaces like Britannia Reserve remain the wonderful mixed use facility that we have come to know and love.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Undertake a rate review in an effort to stabilise rates to growth below the State average
  • Review meeting fees and allowances for council to bring back to pre 2013/14 levels.
  • Bring forward the master planning process for Britannia Reserve to remove uncertainty about its future.

 

Name: Aaron Olszewski
Ward: Vincent, North Ward
Phone: 0400 233 024
Email: aaronforvincent@gmail.com
Suburb of residence: North Perth

Are you a member of a political party? If yes, which party? Yes, Greens.

About me:
I am the proud father of an 18-month-old boy, the inspired partner of a primary school teacher, and a grateful resident of Vincent with the passion, expertise, and resolve to make a real contribution to the quality of life here in our city. I bring to bear a Masters in Politics together with over a decade of public sector management experience and achievement that will make a distinctive addition to Council. I will apply this experience in advancing an agenda of public participation and community-driven innovation. My years of experience in strategic planning and enterprise risk management means I know how to maintain community confidence and accountability while we work out how to serve you better. Already a strong council, Vincent is primed for bolder initiatives and bigger thinking – I’m your candidate to lead that change.

Why I’m running for council:
Democracy has been my passion for over 20 years. I want to live my passion on council by inspiring greater levels of participation in local democracy. The primary ‘vehicle’ for this mission is my permanent participatory budgeting proposal, where every one or two years, Vincent residents come together to determine which community-driven projects should be implemented using a small but dedicated percentage of the City’s budget. This kind of initiative is not designed simply to support the delivery of better community services, but also to provide an ongoing forum for the identification and discussion of ideas and encourage people to participate in local democracy. Only about a quarter of us ever vote in council elections, and for as long as this low participation rate remains, local government will always be perceived as a subsidiary – as subordinate – to state government, despite having greater democratic legitimacy.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Implementing a permanent system of participatory budgeting that is focussed on delivering meaningful services to the community by the community
  • Ensuring the final design for the North Perth Common is as large, multi-faceted, and accommodating as possible, possibly including an open air amphitheatre in which to support the participatory budgeting process and bring democracy to the people (not expect them to come to stuffy council chambers for annual AGM’s!)
  • Lobbying hard to push back on the discretionary power of unelected Development Assessment Panels to ensure our town planning meets with community expectations.

 

Name: Joanne Fotakis
Ward: North Ward, City of Vincent
Phone: 0413 100 883
Email: joanneforvincent@gmail.com
Suburb of residence: West Leederville

Are you a member of a political party? If so, which one? Not provided

About me:
As Chair of Leederville Connect’s Activation Committee, I’ve worked closely with local businesses and residents, helping deliver festivals and arts events including the Light Up Leederville Carnival, Leedy Open Streets last March and the new Leederville Fringe Festival. These major events bring our community together, promote our independent small businesses and help establish Vincent as a creative arts destination. I am sincerely passionate about community service and believe community involvement is key to making positive change happen and ensuring the right decisions are made on behalf of our community. I have a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector as a board member, committee chair, paid servant and volunteer. I’ve worked in the corporate sector for over 30 years and as a small business owner I understand firsthand the challenges faced by local businesses and the importance of sensible governance, genuine consultation and keeping our town centres thriving and prosperous.

Why I’m running for council:
I love the strong sense of community we have in Vincent and genuinely enjoy connecting with people, discussing local issues and finding ways to make action happen on the ground. I am passionate about helping make our unique communities even more connected and inclusive. We need to ensure our town centres remain vibrant, accessible and people friendly, improve the connections between our neighbourhoods and make our streets safer for pedestrians and kids; expand our greening programs to create more inviting, accessible and family friendly open spaces and parks; and develop smart programs to build community safety. I will champion higher quality developments and stronger community engagement during the development process. I will continue to support independent local business, which is critical to protecting our community’s unique village identity, and will always back continuing reforms which improve accountability, transparency and how the Council serves our community, engages and responds to issues.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Building strong community connections and improvements in community safety.
  • Supporting local independent small business to keep our town centers vibrant, accessible and people friendly.
  • Promoting widespread community consultation and participation in decision making and improving how the Council engages and responds to local issues.

 

South

Name: Joshua O’Keefe
Ward: City of Vincent, South Ward
Phone: 0403034504
Email: mrjoshuaokeefe@hotmail.com
Suburb of residence: Highgate

Are you a member of a political party? If yes, which party? No

About me:
My name is Joshua O’Keefe and I’m seeking election this October. A qualified town planner, I’m passionate about people being connected with their local community creating a sense of belonging. It’s the most important thing we need as humans. You might not know it but your Council must help you connect with your world by creating rich street environments and buildings for everyone to use, promoting a thriving economy by supporting local businesses and maintaining our open spaces as urban getaways. I’ve been lucky enough in my decade long local government career to contribute in providing these opportunities for residents, most recently at Vincent. After enjoying great achievement in the industry, I made a decision in early 2017 to follow another calling and retrain as a primary school teacher but I have plenty more to give back as one of your representatives, armed with passion and experience in the area.

Why I’m running for council:
I’m running this election because I believe my town planning background and experience working at Vincent places me as an ideal candidate. I know that our community expects more than the business as usual approach to Council operations and decision-making so I am prepared to advocate for ensuring we never settle for mediocrity. I’m community focused and have a proven track record of delivering key projects ranging from local area visioning and long term strategic planning to town centre enhancements, developing character protection policies and facilitating key council initiatives such as a review of car parking in town centres. I also believe it should be easier for you to get in touch with Council in person and online so will work to explore how we can improve this but in the meantime I am ready to listen to your views to help shape our future.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Sophisticated car parking solutions and to address ongoing traffic issues
  • Sensible planning decisions that protects our streets
  • To create a thriving economy by continuing to support our town teams and local businesses

 

Name: Mai Nguyen
Ward: South Ward
Phone: 0402223894
Email: maiforvincent@gmail.com
Suburb of residence: Northbridge

Are you a member of a political party? If yes, which party? No

About me:
As a young refugee boat person who arrived in Perth in 1982 with my parents, I grew up and lived much of my life in and around Highgate and Northbridge. I am passionate in supporting small businesses, having worked in my parents’ Vietnamese restaurant (the Dakao) for 20 years and having also operated my own restaurant business (Nahm Thai), for a further seven years. I was also a former spokesperson for the Vietnamese Community in WA and Project Leader for the Vietnamese Refugee Boat People Monument at Wade Street Reserve. I have worked with other community groups, small businesses and organisations within the City of Vincent to make Perth a better place to live, work and play. I strongly believe and value the importance of both family and community.

Why I’m running for council:
Our location offers a fantastic lifestyle with a real sense of community, vibrancy and diversity. But there are also plenty of challenges like parking, traffic and increasing infill. I want to offer a new energy and perspective in how Council can work better for our community.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Support small businesses
  • Promote safety within Vincent
  • Encourage sustainability and development of food verges and community gardens

 

Name: Jonathan Hallett
Ward: South Ward, City of Vincent
Phone: 0401 750 973
Email: jonathanhallett.au@gmail.com
Suburb of residence: Perth

Are you a member of a political party? Yes, The Greens (WA)

About me:
I’m a long-term resident of South Ward and a Senior Lecturer at Curtin University teaching public health and social policy. I was elected to Council in the February by-election and it would be a privilege to continue representing the South Ward community. As a Councillor, I’m committed to being responsive, transparent and accountable, and ensuring residents and small business are at the centre of our decision-making. I’m currently a Council representative on the City’s Road Safety Advisory Group, Pedestrian & Cycling Advisory Group and the Swan River Trust. Through my work in health and education and on the boards of community organisations, I’ve seen how the local environment and community services impact people’s quality of life. I offer skills in policy, community engagement and strategic governance and hope to use them to make Vincent an even more sustainable and liveable City.

Why I’m running for council:
I’m running for City of Vincent because I’ve seen the many ways that local government can influence our community for the better. Local government affects us every day in so many ways; the streetscapes outside our front doors, our local parks and amenities, our vibrant village hubs and the cultural and creative events that connect us and contribute to our diversity. I’m eager to continue my work on: dealing with parking and traffic flow issues; connecting public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure; making it easier to deal with the council; ensuring that development respects our local heritage; and ensuring people of all ages and abilities can participate fully in our community. I want Vincent to be a City where everyone is made to feel welcome, where local businesses thrive, and where our environment and community services are protected.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Driving down the cost of energy for the council and our ratepayers by harnessing local government’s ability to bulk-buy solar panels for Vincent businesses and buildings.
  • Pursuing opportunities for activating empty shops and increasing shared working spaces and affordable office and creative space in our town centres.
  • Continuing to promote urban greening by expanding access to local community gardens and establishing edible verges, alongside large-scale composting facilities to reduce waste and council landfill costs.

 

Name: Josh Topelberg
Ward: South Ward (City of Vincent)
Phone: 0403 454 114
Email: josh4vincent2017@gmail.com
Suburb of residence: North Perth

Are you a member of a political party? If yes, which party?: No.

About me:
I am a local resident with over 100 years of family history in this area. I live locally and operate a small business in Vincent, supplying products to the furniture and design industry. I am married to a public school teacher and have two young children – one attends North Perth Primary School and the other attends daycare in Vincent. My parents, in-laws and grandparents all live within the City and my daily routine is very much focused on Vincent life. I have always had a passion and dedication to community and have loved the challenge and opportunities of being an elected member. I have always made myself available for my community and take great pride in my open and transparent approach on council. I am very much an independent candidate and have a proven record of considered decision making with community interest at heart.

Why I’m running for council:
Being an elected member is a genuine privilege. Local government plays a critical role in how we experience our everyday life – from our streets and parks, to public art and design outcomes, from carparking and waste management to community and sporting facilities, we interact with local government in many different ways. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving my community for the last eight years and I feel passionately that there is still a lot more I can give to improve people’s experience of Vincent. There is no such thing as small matters in local government, as most often we are dealing with people’s homes, businesses or tangible experience of their everyday life. I believe that I have proven my willingness to do the work required and have demonstrated my commitment to the local community. I am excited to be a part of Vincent’s future.

My top three priorities if elected:

  • Continue to lead the sector in community building and engagement so that people are connected through the great opportunities that local government can offer
  • Build on the ongoing work in planning policy reform to remove ambiguity and conflicting outcomes from our framework. People have a right to have clear expectations and the community has a right to expect outstanding quality from developments of any scale in their neighbourhood
  • Help to develop a more integrated sustainability agenda in line with community expectations for us to be leaders in this field on a global scale