Published on 19 October 2021

In Focus - South Coast Ward

Do you live in Seaford, Seaford Rise, Moana, Maslin Beach, Port Willunga, parts of Aldinga, Aldinga Beach or Sellicks Beach?

If you answered yes, you’re represented by City of Onkaparinga South Coast Ward councillors, Richard Peat and Simon McMahon (also Deputy Mayor), who are ready to listen and advocate on your behalf on the local issues important to you.

Onkaparinga Now is shining a spotlight on Council’s elected members, as the three-quarter mark of their four-year term approaches, for a series of articles called In Focus, and South Coast is the final ward to feature, following recent Mid CoastSouthern ValesKnoxPimpala and Thalassa Ward interviews.

We spoke with Councillor Peat about who he is and what he's passionate about. Dive in to learn more and don’t hesitate to reach out to your councillors using the contact details below.

ONKAPARINGA NOW (O NOW): Why did you want to become an elected member?

RICHARD: I was previously elected as a councillor in the year of the amalgamation of City of Noarlunga, District Council of Willunga and Happy Valley Council back in 1997. I served 13 years up until 2010, at which time I relocated to Melbourne due to business. I returned to Adelaide in 2016 and retired from full-time employment in 2018. It was at that time I was approached by a number of community stalwarts that were concerned about the direction and leadership of the City of Onkaparinga in reference to council’s debt level and wasteful spending. They believed that with my previous experience both on council and in business that I had something to offer ratepayers in tackling debt and wasteful spending. Consequently, I ran for council as a member of the “Onkaparinga Reform Group” committing to reduce debt, eliminate wasteful spending and to cap council rate increases to CPI. Subsequently, we have capped rate increase to CPI and implemented a Long Term Financial Plan that will see council achieve a balanced budget in three years, seen a reduction in the use of council’s credit cards, and have a transparent auditing process with an empowered Audit, Risk, Value and Efficiency Committee.

O NOW: What local issues are you most passionate about?

RICHARD: I've worked tirelessly towards the upgrading of the Aldinga Sports Park, which will shortly include new soccer/hockey and netball clubrooms, floodlit soccer pitches, and a football oval along with female changerooms.

The providing of safe shared cycle/pedestrian trails is high on my agenda and I'm working to establish trails connecting Sellicks Beach to Aldinga so residents can safely ride or walk from Sellicks to the Aldinga Shopping Centre, Recreation Centre, Aldinga Library, Aldinga Payinthi College and the Aldinga Sports Park and vice versa, along with the Aldinga to Willunga shared trail whereby cyclists and walkers will be able to safely connect to Willunga and the Shiraz Trail.

The relocation of the Aldinga War Memorial from its current location adjacent St Anne’s Anglican Church on Main South Road, Aldinga, to the Aldinga Sport Park, to enable residents of Sellicks Beach, Aldinga and Port Willunga to attend Anzac Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies in a safe environment within the Aldinga Sports Park – War Memorial Gardens is another passionate project of mine.

I'm also working on the “Route 31 - Coastal Drive” project which will promote a driving route along our 31 kilometres of scenic coastline from Sellicks Beach to Christies Beach to showcase to visitors and tourists all our city has to offer.

I have a passion to connect our younger generation with Kaurna cultural history. I'm a member of council’s First Nation People Advisory Group, working with Kaurna representatives to create a working-together relationship that introduces the views, and opinions of Kaurna people into council’s decision-making. Consequently, this educates our community on Aboriginal heritage and the importance of the land.

With the world’s changing climate, I'm passionate about biodiversity and the environment, and I strongly support projects and volunteer groups that work to improve our living environment and wellbeing.

As such, I'm the City of Onkaparinga board member on the Southern Regional Waste Resource Authority (SRWRA) and approved the financial expenditure for the building of the Seaford Heights solar farm. Along with the capturing of methane gas from landfill to fuel the turbines onsite, this hub collectively generates enough megawatts of electricity back into the national grid to power more than 4000 homes. We also approved the building of the new Southern Materials Recovery Facility (SMRF), which allows the sorting of more than 31,000 tonnes per annum of recyclable material from your recycling bins to, in turn, manufacture commercial products out of recycled materials.

O NOW: What do you want to hear about from local residents?

RICHARD: Ratepayers and residents need a voice on Council that represents their views and opinion. I attend numerous community and business association meetings to gather a genuine opinion from the community regarding council’s service and infrastructure delivery, which in turn enables me to make balanced decisions on your behalf. I also conduct “Councillor Listening Posts” and receive many emails and phone calls from residents. I encourage you to continue bringing your opinions and concerns to my attention as I'm an elected member who treats and manages your concerns as if they were my own.

O NOW: What’s the best thing about the Onkaparinga region?

RICHARD: With the City of Onkaparinga offering beautiful rural landscapes, pristine coastline, unique townships, wine production, cultural heritage, excellent eateries, open space and walking and cycling trails connecting communities with a lovely community feel, what’s there not to like? I shouldn't be, but I'm continually surprised and impressed with the number of volunteers that work in our community, for the benefit of our community, and I wish to take this opportunity to sincerely express my sincere thanks to all of you.

CONTACT DETAILS

Richard Peat - phone 0438 597 599, email [email protected]

Simon McMahon - phone 0431 532 257, email [email protected]

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Smiling portrait photos of South Coast Ward councillors Richard Peat and Simon McMahon.