In Focus – 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 you answered yes, you’re represented by City of Onkaparinga Southern Vale Ward councillors, Martin Bray and Wayne Olsen, 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 Southern Vales is the fourth ward to feature, following our recent Knox, Pimpala and Thalassa Ward interviews.
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?
MARTIN: I considered becoming an elected member over concerns about wasteful spending on a consultancy concerning the township of Clarendon, where I live. My concerns at the time echoed those of Onkaparinga Council Watch [community group], and I acknowledge their support in being successful at my first and subsequent elections. My interest in financial matters has grown over time, and I’ve written position papers over the years advocating for a long-term financially sustainable position. I’m very pleased that during the current term of council, a major reset of our Long Term Financial Plan has happened, with the potential for a major improvement in our city’s financial position into the future.
WAYNE: As I was growing up my father was an elected member for the City of Charles Sturt for over 20 years. I always thought that perhaps I might like to do that one day. My ‘one day’ occurred 11 years ago, which was prior to the McLaren Vale Character Preservation Act being in place. Subdivisions were occurring everywhere in the south and our beautiful semi-rural area was being ‘cut up’ for development and urbanisation. The urban boundary was expanding. At the same time, I noticed that council was poorly maintaining our assets, particularly our reserves, parks, open space, and roads. The time had come where enough was enough. I put my hat in the ring to get elected and make a difference for our community to protect the beautiful area we live, and improve the facilities and services we expect from council.
O NOW: What local issues are you most passionate about?
MARTIN: The current issues that most interest me are potential risks from the water business unit and how to resolve them, and the high charges levied for the council-owned wastewater services and how to resolve this. More generally, my other concern is to promote protection of the amenity of existing residents wherever possible, including potential rezoning issues and noise issues, through to cost-effective maintenance and refurbishment of community spaces. I guess I set very high expectations, but these days, rather than being disappointed, I’m impressed with the staff commitment to high service standards and ongoing improvement.
WAYNE: I believe the community expects value-for-money services and facilities from the City of Onkaparinga. I’m passionate about ensuring the services we provide are delivered in the most efficient manner possible, that they’re the right services, and that the facilities we provide are appropriate for use by the community. I’m passionate that our ratepayers obtain value-for-money for the rates they pay each and every year.
O NOW: What do you want to hear about from local residents?
MARTIN: As I travel around the city, looking at it from a resident’s perspective, I see a well-maintained city. We all know that things can go wrong from time to time, and residents should contact the council if something needs attention. If the issue seems to be a systemic problem, I’d like to hear about it so I can understand how well we respond to the challenge.
WAYNE: I very much appreciate any feedback directly from the community—be it good, bad or ugly. I listen to what’s happening with our community’s interactions and experiences in dealing with council. This helps me understand how council is actually performing and delivering on expectations. I’m open to hearing about anything.
O NOW: What’s the best thing about the Onkaparinga region?
MARTIN: The best thing about Onkaparinga is that it’s in Australia, and even better, in South Australia, without some of the more extreme population growth problems of the eastern states. I hope we reflect on this from time to time, and when we think about growth, we also think about our natural environment and our living environment, and whether maximum economic and population growth really is the answer to everything. I don’t believe it is. Quality of life is just as important.
WAYNE: I love the outdoors, so for me, I enjoy our beaches, bike trails, open spaces, reserves, parks, Onkaparinga River and Gorge, and of course, the beautiful wines and delicious foods from our region. What more could you ask for?