Published on 16 July 2021

In Focus – Pimpala Ward

Are you an Onkaparinga resident that lives in Darlington, O’Halloran Hill, Reynella East, Happy Valley or Woodcroft?

If you answered yes, you’re represented by City of Onkaparinga Pimpala Ward councillors, Sandra Brown and Michael O’Brien, 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 halfway mark of their four-year term approaches, for a series of articles called In Focus, and Sandra and Michael are second cab off the rank following our recent Thalassa Ward interview.

Dive in below to learn more about who they are and what they’re passionate about, and don’t hesitate to reach out to them using the contact details below.

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

MICHAEL: It just felt like the right time to try and give something back to the community. I was aware of significant concerns regarding the previous governance of the organisation and believed that we, as ratepayers, deserved something significantly better. I strongly believe the City of Onkaparinga is in a better place than when I started.

SANDRA: Residents asked me to stand to try to get a rural voice in the chamber, and to reduce the have and have-nots in services. In 1997 [when City of Onkaparinga was established and Cr Brown was elected], I was concerned the amalgamation commitments of the council could, and would not, be met. Support and networking with local business and residents seemed absent. There was no conduit for supporting local business, which makes a thriving local economy, so I decided to see if I could make a difference.

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

MICHAEL: I believe in supporting our sporting clubs and recreational facilities. I’ve received numerous positive comments regarding the upgrade to the playing surface at Serpentine Reserve. I’ll be interested to see how we can assist the opening of the Happy Valley Reservoir, particularly in relation to linking footpaths and creating safe access points.

SANDRA: They change over time, when issues I’ve worked on are resolved. Saving the O’Halloran Hill Community and Recreation Centre and harvesting our stormwater took over 10 years. Adding innovation into our playgrounds is in-train. The mayor and I have been meeting to achieve outcomes. She has young children and I expect they will test what we achieve. Debt reduction and long-term financial management has been ongoing because it frees up opportunities for future councils. Our new CEO has moved mountains on this. Working on keeping our green spaces—the lungs of our local environment and homes for our diminishing native fauna—is ongoing. We want to create and preserve great peaceful walking places that can provide valuable respite for us all. If everyone works together and takes ownership of this, we will achieve these outcomes.

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

MICHAEL: Everything really. I enjoy meeting the residents of our community and advocating on their behalf. The most common issues raised with me include footpath maintenance, illegal dumping, parking conditions and inappropriate housing developments.

SANDRA: I am open to whatever residents have to say to me or to hear what they’re seeking help on with local government issues. It’s great to hear good news stories of resolve. Some matters take longer to fix than others. We have a shrinking volunteer base, so if anyone has a few hours a week to help in many difference areas, local groups would love the connection and support.

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

MICHAEL: The people and the environment are neck-and-neck. Most of the people I meet are passionate community members, and you can’t help but be impressed by their enthusiasm. We also live in what I believe is the best part of South Australia. Wildlife, space, beaches, and wineries—we have it all.

SANDRA: I came here to own a home and get away from the busy city life. It’s fun to reflect with friends on what we didn’t have, and what we now have. We have great shops, community and sporting facilities, beaches to die for, leading wineries and breweries, restaurants, open space to walk freely about, and great coffee places to chat with friends in any suburb. We have wonderful places of historical significance that give towns ambience. High tea at Willunga; expresso martinis at Hortas, walking along Port Noarlunga jetty with an ice cream, watching the sun set by the Star of Greece, or having fish and chips on the beach at Christies on a hot night with the kids. We have the best sunsets in the world.

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Pimpala Ward councillors