Council elections 2023: Who has put their hand up to be a City of Bunbury councillor? - Part Two

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenBunbury Herald
There are eight candidates vying for four spots on the City of Bunbury council at this year’s elections.
Camera IconThere are eight candidates vying for four spots on the City of Bunbury council at this year’s elections. Credit: RegionalHUB

On October 21, residents in the City of Bunbury will find out who will serve on their council for the next four years.

Eight candidates have put their hands up for the four spots available on the council, setting up a strong contest for the positions.

Further tightening the race is the City’s loss of two councillor positions at this year’s vote due to local government reforms.

There will be at least one new face on the council, with Betty McCleary and Amanda Yip not recontesting their positions.

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In the final instalment in a two-part series, we have asked the candidates about their run for a spot on the City of Bunbury council.

Wendy Giles

Why are you running for council?

City of Bunbury council candidate Wendy Giles.
Camera IconCity of Bunbury council candidate Wendy Giles. Credit: Supplied

Bunbury is in the middle of some exciting developments which I would like to see finished, or at least progressed. I have been embedded in various community organisations for many years, and am passionate about achieving the best outcomes for the City and its ratepayers. I pride myself on being responsive to ratepayers, and I listen to all points of view. But I am an independent decision-maker who is enthusiastic about doing the best I can for all of Bunbury and its future prosperity.

What experience do you bring to council?

Over my time on the council, I have served on nearly every formal committee. I have also chaired the local emergency management committee, been a council representative on the Managing Committee of the South West Women’s Health Information Centre and Morrissey House. My experience in research (Associate Professor) and executive roles (Associate Dean) have equipped me with invaluable skills for digesting huge agendas, seeking out and analysing large amounts of material, and making decisions based on data and the available information.

What will be your priorities if elected to the council for the next four years?

Housing issues are at the forefront of most people’s minds. It will be important to engage with the State and Federal governments, as well as private developers, in order to maximise the outcomes for those coming to Bunbury for work as well as those being squeezed out of rental properties. We are already working on this. Tourism, economic development, community facilities, accessibility and inclusion, and caring for the environment are also very important to me and the community.

Karen Turner

Why are you running for council?

City of Bunbury council candidate Karen Turner.
Camera IconCity of Bunbury council candidate Karen Turner. Credit: City of Bunbury

I’m re-running for council because I’m passionate about positively impacting my community. As a long-time resident of this area, I see the challenges and opportunities firsthand. I believe that I have the skills, experience, and dedication needed to help address these issues and ensure that our community continues to thrive. From improving public safety to promoting economic development, I’m committed to working collaboratively with community groups, residents, businesses and stakeholders to identify and implement effective solutions. I believe that my experience in local government and my strong networking skills make me well-suited to represent the interests of our community on the City of Bunbury council.

What experience do you bring to council?

With four years of experience as a current councillor, I bring a wealth of knowledge and skills I’ve developed over those years on the council. During this time, I have served on various challenging committees and panels, including the CEO’s selection panel and the Bunbury Harvey Regional Council. As a councillor, I’m empathetic but also strong enough to make those tough decisions, and I remain grounded, open-minded and receptive to the opinions and needs of my constituents. My experience and qualities make me effective and persuasive in serving the council and the community.

What will be your priorities if elected to the council for the next four years?

If re-elected to the council for another four years, my priority is to continue being committed to enhancing the quality of life for all community members. My platform promotes sustainable development, ensures equal access to opportunities, improves infrastructure, supports small businesses, advocates for better public transportation, and fosters diversity and inclusion. Above all, I am dedicated to making our neighbourhoods safer and more secure. With your support, I can bring about positive change and build a brighter future for the City of Bunbury.

Rod Cutler

Why are you running for council?

City of Bunbury council candidate Rod Cutler.
Camera IconCity of Bunbury council candidate Rod Cutler. Credit: Supplied

As newer residents of Bunbury we’ve moved down here from Perth because of the fantastic lifestyle Bunbury offers and we will be retiring here (not just yet though). I can see some great things happening and I’d like to be a part of Bunbury’s next stage of growth – something that I believe I have a lot to contribute to. I want to revitalise Bunbury and make it the best place to live in WA. I will bring a fresh, enthusiastic and energetic approach to the council as I do with my own day-to-day life.

What experience do you bring to council?

As a professional project manager I bring skills and experience delivering projects and change while balancing the priorities within available budget. It is not easy and requires a great deal of consultation, communication and negotiation with many stakeholders. I have the experience of getting things done and I will deliver for the community. I’m on the board of the Bunbury Golf Club so I will bring administrative and governance experience to the council.

What will be your priorities if elected to the council for the next four years?

My priorities are efficient and effective management of council funding — looking for new ways to obtain funds (not the ratepayer) and spend what we have wisely; parks and recreation — upgrading and improving the facilities at parks, playgrounds and recreational spaces; town planning — reviewing utilisation of city assets, developing plans and implementing positive improvements; CBD — revitalising and injecting new life into the CBD to attract community and tourists; culture and the arts — protecting, revitalising and promoting the unique arts and culture that is Bunbury; local business growth opportunities; improved services for families and the elderly; and tourism — exploring and delivering new ways to attract more tourists to our wonderful part of the State.

David Bailey

Why are you running for council?

City of Bunbury council candidate David Bailey.
Camera IconCity of Bunbury council candidate David Bailey. Credit: Supplied

I am passionate about community and want everyone to have a say in how the council formulates plans and the projects it chooses to act on. Residents and ratepayers are the building blocks of a community. I will do my utmost to see that the public has a say in the council and that the things we choose are correctly researched and have adequate funding for building and associated costs that those projects require. For too long, we have sold this place short; we are overlooked as businesses and tourists have headed further south. We are in a perfect position on the coast and possess tremendous potential for development. Bunbury is at a crossroads; we have unique opportunities in front of us and must act to regenerate the city centre as part of a long-term plan to make the city the focus of trade and commerce in the South West and a world-class tourist destination. Together, let us bring back community to the centre of the city.

What experience do you bring to council?

I have worked in the media for more than 30 years and believe my background in that industry has allowed me to ask questions and research what is essential. I have lived in Bunbury for more than 25 years and have seen the successes and failures that the City has experienced. I have participated in many charity events and supported community groups. I am honoured and privileged to be chairman of the board of the Intown Lunch Centre, which, on limited funding, continues to be a great success for people in the Bunbury Community. In my role at the centre, for more than 14 years, I have dealt with all levels of government to seek consensus and formulate strategies that benefit all stakeholders.

What will be your priorities if elected to the council for the next four years?

The council must seek consultation across all community sectors for consensus about what is needed and what will benefit the city and the people of Bunbury. The city faces issues that must be addressed urgently, including the regeneration of the CBD, perhaps beginning with the old train station in the city centre. We must carefully and intelligently plan to select “icon” projects, including an ocean pool, perhaps the return of train services to the city centre, or something we have yet to envision, projects that will attract visitors. We must do better with events; we have lost so many over the years, including sporting and music festivals that could have reaped benefits for the city. We must look beyond our borders, I have been working with the council to establish links to France, which would provide tourism and cultural benefits.

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