If you answered yes, you’re represented by City of Onkaparinga Knox Ward councillors, Alayna de Graaf and Heidi Greaves, 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 Knox is the third ward to feature, following our recent Pimpala and Thalassa Ward interviews.
We spoke with Councillor de Graaf about who she is and what she’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?
ALAYNA: I wanted to be an effective voice for the people, to listen and advocate for them, with a special focus on those who have been doing it tough. Whether they be low income residents, those who work hard and still struggle with their mortgage and everyday living, or just anyone feeling the difficulties of today’s stressful living. I was interested in discovering whether the people that run council had an appreciation for the everyday difficulties encountered by many of our residents, and to see if the policies and programs really catered to everyone. I learnt that Wakefield House and Elizabeth House have some amazing offers for our residents, particularly those over 50, plus there are many other helpful programs available too. But there’s always more work to do and the council is now paying more attention to these matters, which is encouraging.
O NOW: What local issues are you most passionate about?
ALAYNA: I’m passionate about retaining council’s assets (land and facilities) and this is something I quite often hear from residents. If it’s determined that some council land does have to be sold off, it would be great if that could be put to a good use, such as to assist with first-time home builder/owner programs. I’m also passionate about retaining trees and vegetation, and looking towards ways people can be encouraged to work trees into their design. Many residents say they don’t like the overcrowding that sometimes occurs in the medium-density areas. It would be great to keep these discussions alive and look at ways the council can offer incentives for great designs.
O NOW: What do you want to hear about from local residents?
ALAYNA: I want to hear what motions they’d like me to move on their behalf. I’m happy to be their voice, and to advocate and listen to them, so I can shine a light on their hopes, dreams, desires and goals. It’s always great to receive good feedback on things council has done for them. I’m a supporter of the arts, so if residents want to tell me about their upcoming exhibition or anything they have an interest in or want support with, I’ll happily be there to assist and give recognition.
O NOW: What’s the best thing about the Onkaparinga region?
ALAYNA: Our gorgeous beaches and large open spaces with huge gum trees. We have unspoiled areas, that haven’t been commodified and gentrified. We have the perfect backdrop for ecotourism—promoting places where people can experience the natural world and nature in all its untouched splendour. Happy communities that welcome tourism and event experiences because it involves and appreciates them is the ideal. We have some great walking tracks and the Onkaparinga Gorge is a great getaway space. Respect and appreciation for the First Nations people is shown, and this is demonstrated when dual place-naming practices occur. From bands and music, art and installations, to dance and theatre—there are no limits. There are lots of different sports and sporting facilities in every suburb and my goal is to make sure everyone can have a go at something if they want to, and that barriers are highlighted, addressed and removed.