Inner West Independent

Grandstanding, development and a choked peninsula: Balmain-Baludarri Ward priorities according to Inner West election candidates

Parking and choked streets on Balmain peninsula are some of the issues concerning candidates for Balmain-Baludarri Ward. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

By EVA BAXTER

Balmain-Baludarri Ward covers Lilyfield, Rozelle, Balmain, Balmain East and Birchgrove and is currently represented on Inner West Council by Labor councillor Darcy Byrne, Greens Mayor Rochelle Porteous and Independent John Stamolis. Porteous is not standing for re-election.

Darcy Byrne

Labor Darcy Byrne. Photo: Mark Dickson.

Byrne is the spokesperson of Inner West Local Labor and was the inaugural Mayor of Inner West Council until he was defeated in September by Greens Rochelle Porteous who will hold the position until a revote in December. Byrne will put his hand up for the mayoralty again and has been campaigning for residents to vote for mayoral positions.

Byrne told the Independent in July, “people care about their waste and recycling, they care about the quality of local infrastructure, they care about getting basic services like customer service and cleaning and maintenance right and they definitely care about the council taking a strong stand to defend the community against attacks from the state government in particular.”

Local Labor policies direct to Balmain-Baludarri include revitalising Balmain Town Hall Precinct through a $2 million commitment and protecting and improving Callan Park by fighting for the creation of the Callan Park Trust as well as allowing the opening of a café.

John Stamolis

Independent John Stamolis. Photo: Supplied.

Independent John Stamolis is a professional statistician seeking his fourth term on council. He told the Independent in the next term he is hoping Inner West Council can move forward, “the overwhelming party-political grandstanding and political battles on Inner West Council has been divisive and unproductive.

“Inner West Council manages a huge $1.2 billion of revenue over a term.  Sound management of ratepayers’ money and quality services are a priority.  Council must demonstrate openness and accountability in managing ratepayers’ money.

“We have the 5th highest population density and second lowest open space ratio of all Councils in NSW.  Good planning is vital and the need for additional open space will be critical as our population continues to rise.”

Kobi Shetty

Greens Kobi Shetty. Photo: Kobi Shetty – Greens for Baludarri/Balmain, Inner West Council

First timer Greens Kobi Shetty told the Independent, “I think the most important issues to the Balmain Ward are either preventing the Western Harbour Tunnel, or at least getting better outcomes for the community if it goes ahead.

“Parking is always problematic on the peninsula. Many people are frustrated about the scheduled bulk rubbish collections being cancelled and would like to have them reinstated so that more stuff can be reused.”

She said recovering artists and local businesses from the impacts of COVID and the environment are other concerns.

Jack Robertson

 Jack Robertson is running as an Independent for the first time. He told the Independent that the last six months of Council has been “utter nonsense.”

Independent Jack Robertson. Photo: Supplied.

“I just think local voters in our ward ought to be under no illusions that our three Councillors between them cop a big share of culpability for the wider dysfunction at Council level of the last five years.”

In terms of local issues, he said “hard and likely unpopular decisions” need to be made, and mentioned successive council failures on the Tigers site insulting the “older Balmain” cohorts.

He said it’s time to solve the problem of trailers, caravans and boats choking the streets, accelerating EV transition and having local social housing assets “which prevent Balmain from turning fully into Mosman.”

To celebrate the City Hub’s 26th anniversary, we will host a forum for candidates in the upcoming Inner West Council elections. • Meet select candidates from across all five wards • Bring your questions • Participate in the democratic process

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