THERE was a lot of information to take in at the 2022 Mayoral Candidates forum, on Monday, with five prospective Mayors addressing a packed room of about 80 people.
Residents, business owners, lobby groups and fellow councillors flooded into the Reef Gateway Hotel conference room, keen to hear what the mayoral candidates thought on a range of topics, from building heights to parks and gardens’ plant choices.
Five mayoral candidates were present at the forum – facilitated by Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce – including Cr Mike Brunker, Cr Jan Clifford, Phil Batty, Peter Hood and Julie Hall.
There was a late apology from Cr Allan Grundy, due to illness, and his responses to the questions will now be recorded and posted on the chamber’s website, along with the recording of the forum.
Each of the candidates had three minutes to introduce themselves and put across their main arguments as to why residents and ratepayers should vote for them.
Facilitator Annette Neil, from the chamber, then read out pre-submitted questions, taking it in turns to start with different candidates.
Candidates’ responses were timed, to make it fair for everyone, before they then had the opportunity to do a wrap-up.
The written questions covered a multitude of topics including the current housing shortage, short-term holiday lets and their impact on nearby residents, town planning and building height issues, the Shute Harbour Marina Resort proposal, environmental issues and recycling, local laws and traffic issues.
Questions were then taken from the floor, which included an array of different concerns on a variety of topics – from blocked culverts to the issue of why council does not advise neighbouring properties of development applications – with the over-riding communication from the public being that their concerns were not being listened to by council.
Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce president Allan Milostic said the evening showed there were some ‘some high-quality, yet very diverse candidates’ to choose from in the upcoming election.
“And in a region as diverse as the Whitsundays, each candidate will appeal to voters in all parts of the shire,” he said.
Mr Milostic urged voters to number every box in the Mayoral election.
“As this is an optional preferential election, just voting 1 won’t give us the most preferred candidate,” he said.
“I strongly encourage all voters to number every box.”
See ‘Chamber Chat’ column on page 8 for more.