Council Candidate Statements

Brad Crawford

I am an avid cyclist myself and usually ride my racer at least 4 – 5 times each week along the Koonung Trail, including earlier this evening. If I am successful in becoming the winning candidate of the Cootamundra Ward, I will do my best to assist you and your group. I would love for you and your group to possibly consider voting for me as I am only running for our community, not for my own self interests. I can bring a change for the better and a strong voice for our community.

Jane Moran

My vision is for a future that is well planned and environmentally sensitive. I want the City of Whitehorse to be a place where people feel safe, included, and have equal access to services; a place with well managed open spaces, recreational facilities and cultural activities; a place that offers employment and business opportunities.

If elected, my priorities will be to: 

1) Ensure that everyone in our community is supported through the COVID-19 crisis, especially the most vulnerable. 

2) Get planning decisions right for residents and businesses, especially as they relate to our changing climate. 

3) Maintain and enhance our green leafy suburbs, by identifying opportunities to enhance public open space, community gardens, sporting fields and our streetscapes.

During lock down there has been an explosion in the number of people using our pathways, parks and sporting fields for a variety of non organised recreational activities.  I suspect when lock down ends a large majority will continue to use our open spaces and they will demand that they are maintained and enhanced. I would support any initiative that encouraged outdoor recreation and identified opportunities to develop a network of trails and pathways for cyclists and walkers that linked into a broader Melbourne network.

Eley Ward

David Solly 

I used to ride to work frequently but it became too dangerous after many near misses with car drivers speeding through suburban streets while on their phones.

Town planners don’t seem to understand what cyclists need – their own lane, not a line of paint with lots of parked cars blocking it!

My vision is to have a properly connected network of cycle paths that we can safely ride to work, play or study on. 

One of the first actions in my campaign was to oppose the building of a new car park in Nunawading near the Whitehorse centre. Instead, the Council should have built better access from Nunawading Station and a bike arrival station. Please compare how our current councillors voted on this matter with their rhetoric.

There are already some great paths running into the City. However, there is not much going cross-city from the Alamein line until you get out to Dandenong Creek and Eastlink.

Post COVID I think people will still go to an office to work, but perhaps less frequently.

Trudy Skilbeck

I am standing in Eley Ward; my first time running for any public office.  I really appreciate you reaching out to me and helping me to hear what you will be looking for in Councillor candidates.

I have just completed a comprehensive WATAG survey. I hope that reference to that group’s analysis of candidate responses will assist your consideration. I say that conscious that some of my responses will not please WATAG members or MeBUG members. In my formal candidacy material, I don’t refer to active transport infrastructure/other support or specifically cycling infrastructure/other support.

That doesn’t mean I’m not interested, and would not be an advocate/influencer for your objectives.  I’m an avid walker and my husband a serious cyclist on a daily basis.

My platform is that I’m about best COVID responses first, and social inclusion generally; that takes many forms in community development terms and requires investment choices. I deeply appreciate the inclusiveness of your stance to benefit all ages and all abilities. That creates more alignment between us than might be obvious just yet.

I can’t say that I will prioritise cycling above all else. I can say that I will always listen and expect to learn from perspectives different to mine. I can say that I will interrogate Council officers over all infrastructure development and all budget considerations.

Thanks again for reaching out, and I offer continued appreciation regardless of whether or not MeBUG members in Eley chose to vote for me.

Susanna Su 

I’m absolutely a supporter of cycling. Cycling is not only a great way of exercising, but a great way to protect environment. After I spoke to Whitehorse Council and a councillor and browsed Council website, I formed a view that Council is supportive to cycling. Council has a 10-year cycling strategy made in 2016 and is looking at creating a shared trail along the Healesville freeway reservation and Melbourne Water Pipe Track in Mitcham. The councillor I spoke to would like to see footpaths widened if possible in some areas to create a shared path. Off-road cycling trail is a great idea but the most challenging thing for Council is land. Do you and your organisation have any practical proposal when you ask Council to preserve money for cycling trails?

Elgar Ward

Blair Barker

You will be pleased to know that everyone in our house owns a bike and cycles regularly.  We are more casual bike users and my kids are especially active.  We tend to stick more to cycle paths than on road cycling. I am a massive supporter of the Box Hill to Hawthorn path, and hope with the rail separations at Union and Mont Albert roads will be the opportunity we need to make this a reality.  This is very much a state government project as I understand the rail corridor is owned by Vic Track. I would be supportive of Council donating any land that we might own to make this a reality. I think the benefits of this path are misunderstood by the state government, many young people in our area attend schools or other education (inc my kids) in around Hawthorn and Kew, this would take significant pressure off our trams, trains and buses.

MeBug made a valued contribution to our integrated transport study which will committ Council over a number of years to improve cycling connections. I know a lot of people use smart phone technology “Strava” cycling routes that are proving popular, and this could be extended by a respected organisation like MeBug to develop easy strava rides that guide tourists and locals around places of interest in Whitehorse.

Caroline Cook

I have a love of cycling off road and aim to be a big advocate for Elgar Ward (if elected) by way of 

advocating for more cycle lanes/routes (so cyclists don’t get cut off by cars), and advocating for facilities that 

cater to cyclists e.g water, toilet, and tyre pump stop (and even have one particular central location in mind near Koonung Creek Trail). 

I am fully aware that cycling has increased 100 times over since Covid19 lockdown of Melbourne. 

This gives reason to ensure more thought is given to cyclists and forming new safer routes!

Especially considering, the unfortunate choice of NE LInk Option A is going to result in the closure of cycle lane next to freeway (as a result of 7yr project)!

In all the years I have lived in Whitehorse, I don’t recall EVER seeing a local cycling festival initiative (let alone a street festival that caters to ALL nationalities). With the expected changes of Outdoor Dining only (and roads and parks expected to be used as part of this), it is also a good opportunity to advocate for cycling facilities (e.g numerous bike racks) to be included as part of this offering. 

One could then go a step further and organise a rotating lunch where one cycles from one restaurant to the next participating restaurant within Whitehorse. All of this creates a WIN/WIN for both cyclists & businesses.

Matthew Harris

I have a mountain bike, which I cycle most frequently along the Koonung and Bushy Creek Trails. I occasionally cycle to the CBD for work, starting out quite early in the morning. Although due to COVID-19, I have not been able to cycle as far as I would like to, I have, like many others, taken advantage of our parks and local infrastructure for recreation, exercise, and to get out of the house. I prefer dedicated bike paths for riding as they are safer and more continuous. However, in Whitehorse some of our bike paths remain disconnected, and the only way to cycle between them is via roads, which are less safe for cyclists. This dissuades people from cycling, which is not great since cycling is great for our health and the environment. This is one issue I would like to see fixed, to make cycling locally safer and more accessible. I appreciate the input made by groups and individuals to help identify where and how we can improve our local community. I will take the feedback provided and aim to make changes in Council to implement plans that our community wants to see in regards to cycling.

Sandy LI

Support Elgar area to be a better place to live is my focus and I’m definitely a supporter to promote safer cycling trails. 

With Covid people’s life style is definitely changing. Hope I will be elected and endorse some wonderful projects like this to improve Cycling experience in Whitehorse.

Stephen O’Brien

You have asked me for a statement on cycling and I welcome this opportunity to provide you with my views. As a Town Planner with over 33 years experience in public policy decision making, I understand the importance and benefits of walking and cycling to a community and the need for Town Planning schemes to encourage this more. Riding a bike isn’t only fun but has enormous health benefits. More cyclists means better and stronger street activation and I am a firm believer that more people on the streets (those walking their dogs or just out for a walk or cycling) means less crime, because their presence creates a stronger surveillance and deterrence to would be undesirables scouring our streets. 

If elected to Council I will ensure that measures are taken to increase opportunities for walking and cycling by investing in footpath upgrades, additional lighting where needed and panic stop points, something that reinforces that it is a safe to be out either if you are alone, a single women or an elderly couple. I will also ensure that many of our pocket parks are not for sale. There is real fear (via the feedback I am getting when I’m out letter box dropping) from residents that Council have a “hidden agenda” at selling “under utilized reserves” in particular Luther Reserve. Council needs to create a ‘open space committee’ that is made up of people from organisations such as yours, the Friends of Eram Park and other interest groups. This committee will ensure continuity in policy making by ensuring all strategies come together as one.

Kingsley Ward

Sharon Ellis

This year has been unprecedented and we have had to rethink many aspects of our lives. I believe that many newly acquired habits, including increased cycling and working from home, will remain in our daily lives post–pandemic.  I’m confident that Council will need to structure its budget to reflect the many changes in our community.

Harry Ma

I agree that cycling is a very healthy and active lifestyle that should really be promoted in our community. Therefore, if elected, I would advocate to build more cycling trails to make it easier and safer for our residents.
As I mentioned in my letter to all voters, the Whitehorse Cycling Strategy was launched in 2016, and six priority Easy Ride Routes were selected in 2018. However, none has been built yet.

It’s been 4 years and nothing has been achieved, which is obviously not good enough, so I would work with other Councillors to speed up this project after the election. 

Amanda McNeill 

Cycling is a great form of exercise for our community and  I do use the off road paths for both cycling and walking. It’s fantastic that cycling continues to grow expadentially  as a recreational and commuter form of transport.
I strongly agree that Council should be actively engaged in funding projects and measures that improve accessibility of safe cycling in the City of Whitehorse and throughout Melbournes Eastern corridor. This means linking up existing psths  as well as creating new off road cycle paths where it is feasibly  possible to do so  and active maintenance to improve safety for users of all abilities. 
I would support the Hawthorn to Box Hill  (H2BH ) cycle track feasibility study. This  trail would go through the new Kingsley Ward giving residents a good recreational or commuter riding option towards the city. 
Having places to safely store bikes at train stations is a good incentive as well to encourage the ride and commute in place of cars. 
Safe cycling and walking trails  are an integral part of enjoying our local community and why we choose to live in Whitehorse. 

Lake Ward

Rodney Blackwood

Although I am not a cyclist myself, many friends and relatives are. I am, in general concerned about the number of accidents on the road where such accidents often result in serious injury or loss of life to cyclists, and therefore have become a great believer in dedicated cycling paths.  I would be most interested in any suggestions you have that might benefit the Lake Ward, such as the possibility of connecting  bike  paths maybe similar to the one along the railway line.

Wendy Branagan

I am supportive of practical ways to improve the cycling experience in Whitehorse.  The needs of pedestrians and consideration of remnant bushland are important to any such plans. Personally, during Covid 19, I have found cycling to be of great benefit to my well-being and that of my family.

I appreciate the work of volunteers such as yourselves, who put in the effort to bring about positive outcomes for the whole community.

Denise Massoud

Since being on Council I have been advocating strongly for cycling infrastructure which has developed into “Shared Use Paths”. I have engaged with the cycling community and advocated for several concepts in Blackburn. 

This has included the completion of the section through Blackburn of the Box Hill to Ringwood cycling route. This is a good example of how routes need to be planned across local government boundaries and require collaboration with all stakeholders to get a good outcome. More recently the link through Laburnum Park was an important final piece of the project which needed to be resolved however there was disagreement between local stakeholders (cyclists and residents) and the state government. I encouraged an onsite meetings with community, Council officers and the state government project team to get some understanding of each of their different perspectives. I am a great believer in coming to the table and listening. The outcome was changes to design which better suit the community and now the final link in that chain is being done and completed. 

I believe Councils should collectively look at regional paths which provide linkages across their boundaries. This is the best outcome and does require collaboration. These ideas then need advocacy to the state government.

The pipe track needs to have the remaining sections completed and I will continue to advocate for this.

The impact of COVID-19 has seen increased usage of our paths and linear trails and these need to be enhanced and new connections identified so they support community needs as we recover from the pandemic impacts. I believe this will include greater need for safe paths for both family recreation and access to local shopping precincts. This is important in the recovery of businesses.

Active transport is being encouraged and we need the infrastructure to support its use. Requests for reduced speed controls around strip shopping areas have been discussed and I would support these where additional safety is needed for both cyclists and pedestrians engaging in active transport for their local shopping and recreation. Linked paths, with as much off-road as possible, over an extended distance is important for families and group activity.

I would strongly advocate to the state government for development of more networked shared use paths to encourage greater active transport participation. I do support investment to further develop our shared use paths and cycling infrastructure for the safety and health of all users.

Mahoneys Ward

David Coombs

As someone who has recently returned to cycling I’m very much in favour of improvements to cycling infrastructure and safe, off-road bicycle paths. 

While my candidate material has already been finalised and printed, the goals of improving the character of the ward are closely aligned with infrastructure development. 

If elected I look forward to speaking with you further about how we can not only improve uptake of healthy transport options for our residents, but how this could assist in bringing foot or cycle traffic back to our local businesses which have been seriously damaged by the COVID pandemic. 

Thank you for taking the time to write to me, please give me a call if I can be of assistance.

Nildhara Gadani

On the outset, let me congratulate you on your leadership on the importance and value of cycling. Being a Mum of two kids, I have instilled the importance of cycling.

In a larger context, I feel cycling creates social and physical health of individuals and community. You are absolutely correct saying that there is an increased awareness of cycling in the City of Whitehorse. And, especially during COVID 19, we have an uptake of cycles – in fact some stores sold out the cycles. 

Now coming back to your concerns about lack of cycling infrastructure in the City of Whitehorse, I agree that there needs to be increased focus on building infrastructure suitable for people from all ages and abilities. Further reading of council Cycling Strategy, I feel there is still room for improvement. And, I intend to advocate and champion concerns raised by you with the Council. 

I would be glad to speak to you and learn about the issues and how we could work together to make the City of Whitehorse as a model for cycling infrastructure.

P.S: I was recently asked to speak at a virtual form in India about the importance and value of cycling for individuals and communities. It was organised by Bicycle Mayor of Valsad  Gujarat India. 

Anne Makhijani

I have always been a supporter of encouraging the community to take up cycling and creating and improving infrastructure for it. If you recall right from the early days of the HFR campaign, I worked closely with the Whitehorse Cyclists Inc, identifying the most suitable alignment for the shared use path along the corridor.

If elected, I will support measures to increase the take up of cycling and create more infrastructure to improve connectivity.

Jason Martin

The community deserves safe corridors for cyclists and pedestrians. This activity has risen dramatically since COVID-19 and the community appreciates its value for health and wellbeing. Let us make our community a safe place for pedestrians and cyclists with better planning, pathways and infrastructure. For enhanced environment and liveability, I support protecting Healesville Freeway Reserve, improved urban renewal and improvement to landscapes and amenity in retail zones like Brentford Square and Forest Hill. Council has performed well with sporting upgrades and the Nunawading Community Hub. We must maintain the momentum on similar projects for community enjoyment and economic activity.

Mark Lane
Cycling is something, I enjoy and my kids also hop on the bike numerous times a week.
When I was on council previously we had achieved agreement on the Healesville Freeway track, Box Hill Ringwood track and also the pipe track surfacing.
I fear the momentum dropped when I left council at the end of 2012.  The lack of action on items such as these form some of the reasons why I am standing for council again.  We deserve better than we have had and I have the experience to get these initiatives moving once more.
In short these paths will be high on my list of things to achieve ASAP on being elected.  In fact I was active in achieving government funding to build part of the track from Box Hill to Heatherdale.  I see some works on this have been completed, but some improvement still required.  I will be fighting for action on bike / shared use paths
Thank you again for your interest and email. 
We will achieve some great outcomes for the community.

Simpsons Ward

Phillip Daw

I will advocate for better traffic management and the continued expansion of off-road pedestrian and bike paths.

I will advocate that council encourages less car-dependent modes of transport through the provision of increased and interconnected bicycle and walking paths.

Sparks Ward

Sumeet Chhabra

Hope you are coping well during these challenging times.  I would agree that as we come out of this downturn people would look at avenues to remain actively healthy whilst looking at avenues of economically living affordability. Cycling is one such avenue which gives people pleasure and also addresses the issue of combining while keeping social distance. Cycling helps reduce carbon emissions and congestion on the roads. Accidents are rare and people of all ages can participate. With all points stated I can assure you even though I am not an avid cyclist as yet, I am keen to keep people on their feet. My views on topics and concerns pertaining to cycling in Whitehorse would certainly be in favour of clubs such as yours. 
Rest assured if I am elected from Sparks Ward as a Councillor I would encourage the Council to participate in all outdoor activities as I believe being active is an essential part of Work Life balance. With summer and longer days around the corner I wish you and your club happy cycling on the path of healthy living.

Thomas Kennedy

With regards to cycling my policies are such.

1. I support the new bike trail network being built

2. I would like to begin a review of the existing trails to ensure they are developed to a standard befitting the level of their usage. (there are some tight corners on the Gardiner lane) This would mean installing walking paths on busy areas; widening some trails; and installing solar lights to make evening travel less hazardous.

3. I would also like clear bicycle lanes to be installed in the central area that can be used as a guide to find the freeway trail too.

4. Finally I would like to review e-bike laws/ regulations/ insurance policies.

Tina Liu
As you are aware, I represent an area that is undergoing rapid change and transport plays a huge role. As the Deputy Chair of the Eastern Transport Coalition and the Whitehorse Representative on the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action, I am a supporter of more (and better) active transport options – including improved cycling infrastructure/accessibility – for our community moving forward. 
I put forward the initiative for Council to review and update the Box Hill MAC Integrated Transport Study – which MeBUG was also a part of – where alternative modes of transport such as cycling and walking are emphasised. I foreshadow the forthcoming action plans will come to Council very soon – and this will look at further investment for active transport moving forward. I have been pushing for the accelerated construction of the Whitehorse Easy Rides Routes and based on community feedback, including MeBUG’s budget submission – also advocated for the path connectivity in Woodhouse Grove / Mitta St and further funding in the budget for cycling in the last budget, both which were successfully supported. 
I will continue to be an active transport advocate should I be successful at the upcoming election.

Dennis Fitzgerald

I support your approach to increased bicycle use and the general use of paths and gardens by as many people as possible. I have an interest in the environment and want to see it maintained well and used fully.

Personally I am no longer a rider as I am unfit and past the time when I would be game to ride on open roads.

If I am elected and able to help please stay in contact so that I may be able to support your organisation.

Philip Tan
I have always been supportive of cycling , walking and other outdoors activities. My cycling interest in working with the community like Metro East Bicycle User Group will be instrumental in getting positive input and getting facilities improvement to meet growing needs. I have a 15 year old bicycle with custom made height to allow riding comfort which i took with me from Singapore when i immigrate to Australia. City of Whitehorse does provide safe and friendly cycling environment and i like to see more community enjoying it. 

Minwen Wu

I grew up in the bicycle kingdom China (maybe now it’s India?). I still remember my 1st riding a bike in 1979 or so when I was a 13 years old boy. In those days, we didn’t get a bike as early as my daughters Sally and Michelle did here, starting with training wheels from 2-3 years old something. 

My dad had a good old bike bought in Shanghai. I’m oldest of three brothers. On weekends, dad would carry us two (or even three?) on bike from the town centre of Dongyang (its nickname is same as Box Hill’s Chinese name: 博士之乡,meaning place of PhDs) back to our village in Hengdian (now billed as China’s Hollywood). Dad was the 1st qualified accountant in Dongyang since China’s opening up and reform in late 1970s. Dad had malnutrition since childhood, and too much work load, and he died when I started university in 1985. 

Many years later in 2010 or so in Dandenong, I repeated his legend. I custom ordered and fitted a good Giant bike plus two baby seats, and I would carry my two daughters Sally and Michelle (born in Clayton and Dandenong in late 2006 and early 2009) to and back from playgroups in Dandenong. Often Michelle fell asleep on bike. I regret so much that I didn’t ask my neighbour or someone to take a photo for us!

Around last Council election in 2016 or so, I got into contact with its Australian staff of the first major bike sharing company Mobike, whose founder Hu Weiwei  is a girl from my hometown Dongyang  (I still have her on my Wechat contacts). I was thinking whether Dandenong central can have the biking system. 

Two years ago, I got my one of my few good Anglo friend(s) Alex Geers, who wanted to learn Chinese with me. Alex is a super bike enthusiast. He flied to China last year with his foldable bike, and he rode on Mount Emei in Sichuan.

In early July or so in Box Hill, when I mentioned WATAG, Alex said, we can ride bikes in Box Hill with your campaign vest on, and I can possibly get you a bike (my beloved Giant was stolen in Dandenong’s new civic square in 2016 or so, when once we rode bikes to the library there, as I didn’t do up the chain lock properly). But soon stage 4 kicked in. And Alex and I haven’t met since, as he is the city–14kms from Box Hill.

Peter Chandler

I have lived in Whitehorse for the majority of my life, I was also born in Box Hill. I am a keen cyclist even to the point of 3 round the bays. i have extensive knowledge of most bike paths around melbourne and would like to see many improvements. I fully support all the current upgrades to public transport infrastructure both in progress and plained.

Terrara Ward

Raylene Carr

A sneak preview into my 300 word statement, I have said ‘I will continue to acknowledge and support the need for off-road shared pedestrian/bicycle paths’ Similar wording will appear on my flyers.

I have always been in favour of improving off-road shared paths. If re-elected, I will continue to support improving cycling infrastructure in Whitehorse. Needless to say, the impact of COVID will need to be a consideration in all decisions I make.  

Jarrod Gunn

I most certainly am an advocate for cycling and active transport. As someone with a Masters in Public Health I am very well aware of the numerous benefits (both personally and socially) in increased cycling and walking.

I will push for the completion of the Healesville Freeway Reserve link to include a cycling track amongst the natural reserve and for designated cycling access to flow across Springvale road and through to Mahaony’s Rd and to link with the pass that covers the high pressure gas main through Forest Hill and East Burwood.

Speaking of East Burwood, for dedicated cyclists I am also an advocate for the Blackburn Cycling Club to have its needs met in the upcoming East Burwood Reserve Master Plan.

Across the municipality more broadly I will certainly be advocating for increased cycling and walkability.

Amit Jaiswal

In response to your question regarding my views on Cycling , this is a interesting subject as I see Cycling as both good for environment and health. I want to see dedicated  cycling Lane wherever possible but the fact is creating any infrastructure requires funds and it is time for large business to be more philanthropy because we all know state and local government are limited by provided budget.

As an resident of Whitehorse I agree with you there is more to do when it comes to environment and sustainability  including safe Cycling for both cyclist and other users . If elected I will like  MEBUG to table proposal on how to improve Cycling experience and my Vote will always be YES as long as it meets my 3 Values – People Connection, Environment and benefit for Whitehorse residents.

Jeff Khan
I, myself am a very keen cyclist and given that this was my first form of transport (not a car), its something I have built a strong passion towards over the years. Not only do I resonate with the joys it has bought among families during COVID but believe the health, cost & environmental benefits cycling brings to the local community makes it a vital area of focus.
If elected, I will fully get behind the movement towards safe paths around the local community and would be very interested in working closely with your team to work through these suggestions and bringing them to life for the near future.

Walker Ward

No candidate statements as yet

Wattle Ward

Andrew Davenport
After completing my Mayoral Year, I decided not to purchase a car and instead got an e-bike, which I have used for commuting for 2 years. Through that use I’ve recognised that Council can do more to support  active transport infrastructure, especially cycling infrastructure. If I’m re-elected, I’ll support additional funding for cycling. I have supported additional funding during this term of Council too

Santi Whiteside

If elected I will support greater investment in cycling infrastructure over the next period of council.

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