Published on 10 March 2023
Meet Your Council - Southern Vales Ward
Are you an Onkaparinga resident that lives in Hackham/Hackham West, Huntfield Heights, Kangarilla, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, Tatachilla, McLaren Flat, parts of Aldinga, Whites Valley, Willunga/Willunga South, Sellicks Hill, Kuitpo or The Range?
If so, you’re represented by City of Onkaparinga Southern Vales Ward councillors, Marisa Bell and Jordan Pritchard, who are ready to listen and advocate on your behalf on the local issues important to you.
Onkaparinga Now has launched a series of articles to help you to better get to know your new elected members, and Southern Vales is the first ward to feature, following our recent interview with Mayor Moira Were.
Stay tuned for more Meet Your Council articles soon as we delve into the rest of City of Onkaparinga wards’ elected members.
ONKAPARINGA NOW (O NOW): What made you want to become an elected member and what do you bring to the role?
MARISA: I’ve advocated and represented the broader community from the frontline as a health professional for 35 years and had desire to also serve the community in a different space. I want to make a difference to people’s lives and play a part in initiatives to improve quality of life for all in our community. I’m committed and passionate about protecting, promoting, and progressing public health. I care equally about our environment, and the sustainability of our agricultural and tourism industry. I’d like to see increased education and employment options and more local opportunities for our young people.
JORDAN: We’ve been living in the McLaren Vale community for 17 years since my wife became a teacher in the area. In that time, I’ve engaged with the community through the CFS (into my 15th year), and committees and coaching at McLaren Vale Tennis Club, McLaren Districts Soccer Club, and Southern Tigers Basketball Club. The opportunity to apply as a councillor came at a fortunate time with my career because I was available to take on extra commitments and I had great support from friends and family. I’m a qualified engineer with several years of operational, business development and project management experience, so I felt these skills may offer a different background to others.
O NOW: What are your key priorities and things you want to achieve as a councillor?
MARISA: Advocacy and representation of our community, ensuring their voices and concerns are heard on Council. To work collaboratively with elected members, the mayor and council staff in problem solving and communicating the needs of the community to the state and federal government. I’m passionate about the progressing of public health policy, education, and the promotion of preventative public health measures to reduce the burden on the community and our health system.
JORDAN: My priority was to try and connect more of the community to council services. I was convinced there’d be residents that don’t know about all the services council offers and how to engage with them. I’ve been amazed at the more than 200 services council offers! My priorities have also extended to trying to improve education to residents about how council goes about its business. I’ve been so impressed by the professional documents and processes in the council, and the dedication of staff. The council has a plan for just about everything, from footpaths to roads, to playground equipment, and these are consistent and transparent. Hopefully I can use them to try and return some trust in the council and its role in our community, as I’ve definitely felt this is also needed.
O NOW: Tell us a bit about yourself, your connection to the region, and your passions outside of work.
MARISA: I’m a local, having lived in Kangarilla for 26 years. I’ve been an active volunteer, a long-term member of Trees for Life, and have grown many thousands of trees for the Fleurieu and Adelaide Hills. I’m a member of Landcare and environment groups. I’m a former Kangarilla CFS volunteer firefighter/cadet educator, and former ambulance volunteer. I’m married, am a long-term stepmum, and have a delightful grandchild. I have cultural and linguistically diverse roots, I’m proudly bilingual and love sharing family stories, Italian recipes, growing and preserving food. I also enjoy playing my guitar, gardening, bush walking and bird watching.
JORDAN: I’m originally from Moonta, and love that the region we live in now has a country feel too. We have three children, Henry, Oscar and George, and they play lots of local sport in the area, which is fantastic. They all went to the local childcare, Montessori, kindergarten, primary school and now high school. I’m a lieutenant in the CFS brigade. It’s amazing to be associated with all the other volunteers, interacting regularly with SA Ambulance, police and MFS, and seeing their incredible work. I still play tennis at and am about to do my ninth year of soccer coaching. I have a boat at mum’s house in Moonta that I don’t use often enough, and we have a tent that also hasn’t been used in a while!
O NOW: What do you want to hear about from local residents?
MARISA: I’d like to hear how I can improve and make a difference to their lives and the environment they live in. I want to hear about the issues they care about, what they value most, or what matters to them most. I’d like to hear how I can be a vehicle to address inequality, promote fairness and safety, empower, provide hope, and build resilience in our community. I’d like for them to communicate, engage, and participate more in the decision-making processes available through council.
JORDAN: We hear a lot about the things we don’t do well, but I’d love to hear more good news stories from residents about services we offer that people feel could get more use. It might be the free outdoor personal training classes or attendance at a council-run or supported event that they want to provide feedback on. Council supports festivals, businesses, sporting clubs, community clubs and provides lots of facilities—an aquatic centre, golf course, tourist park, libraries, dog parks, skate parks, gardens, etc., and I’d love to hear from the community about what they love about these things so we can keep doing the good things well.