Election time in Sydney

September 7, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Sydney voters will elect new municipal councils this weekend. J-Wire spoke to some new faces on the scene…

Ted Yaniv and William Nemes

The Vaucluse Ward is being contested by three Liberals all of whom are Jewish. Councillor Anthony Boskovitz is an old hand at Council having served the ward for almost nine years. He is standing for advancement of communications including the introduction of Facebook and Twitter to the way Council relates to its ratepayers.

Ted Bennett has lived in the municipality for over 30 years but is standing for Council for the first time. He told J-Wire: “I can see there is a lack of funds for essential services. For example, they are not fixing the roads. There is no other suburb in the Eastern Suburbs where the roads are in such poor condition.”

On Ted Bennett’s ticket is the youngest member of the team, 22-hr-old William Nemesh. He chipped in: “We have spoken to residents who tell us Council fixes up half the road and leave the other half…so we end up with a patch.” Yaniv added: “Often they are digging up the roads for essential services and not finishing the job properly and there is a big issue between Council and the Utilities services as to who should do the work….and it’s the same thing with the footpaths.” Yaniv said that apart from not looking good, he believed the wear and tear on car tyres was worse than any other municipality in Sydney

Nemes accused the Council of “not being transparent and accepting responsibility for mistakes it makes”. He added: “They have been taken to the Land and Environment Court more that any other council  and their legal fees are astronomical. The net cost to ratepayers is inexcusable.”

Speaking about Double Bay, a jewel in Woollahra Council’s crown, Nemes said: The tragedy is that it has lost its vitality. There is no continuity or stability in the area.”

Yaniv turned his attention to the traffic problems highlighting how the problem eased during school holidays. He said: “So we know what is creating the problem. I believe there is away to solve this as they have done overseas. They created special public transport for schoolchildren.”

He is also calling for an integrated public transport system in the area to make the city ferry services more attractive. “In other harbour cities they have local buses picking up city bound passengers and dropping them at the ferry stops. We should be looking at that.”

Greg Levenston brought veteran Councillor Andrew Petrie with him to meet J-Wire. Petrie, who has sevred Woollahra for 21 years will contest the Bellevue Hill ward alongside Levenston and Fiona Ratcliffe. The man who was mayor four rimes told J-Wire: “People think Woollahra is a wealthy Council. It is not. It simply has wealthy people living within its boundaries. ”

But it was not lack of funds that was bothering Greg Levenston. The Eastern Suburbs doctor was concerned about condoms in Double Bay’s Steyne Park.. He said: “Double Bay primary schools kids use the park every day…and every day they find condoms.”  Andrew Petrie said: “I t must start with youngsters using the benches to sit down and drink. We made it an alcohol-free zone…but it doesn’t stop them and they’re mainly underage.”

Andrew Petrie spoke about reconsidering the use of public parks citing dogs of leashes as “a big issue”.

Greg Levenston is calling for the establishment of liason committees to hear problems that residents face. Turning to Double Bay he said: “If we can rebirth this suburb successfully, there will be a flow-on to all the other suburbs in Woollahra.”

Andrew Petrie refutes the idea of Double Bay being a village. He said: “The only village in the area is Queen St, Woollahra”.

But hopefully with his new running mate Greg Levenston, he will get down to the task of serving his Bellevue Hill constituents and rebirthing Double Bay.

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