The Central Western Daily today features Lesley Smith in the second of our profiles on the seven candidates for Orange mayor at the December 4 local government elections.
Name: Lesley Smith
Affiliation: I am an independent and refer to myself as 'apolitical' while realising the importance of using political leverage to ensure our interests are heard and responded to at higher levels of government. I view issues impartially and objectively rather than on the basis of a political ideology or partisanship.
Occupation: Recently retired TAFE NSW Manager of Educational Quality
What is your family situation: I am a proud Orange resident who has lived and worked with my family in Orange for more than 30 years
Most important issues: I am not standing on a single issue, every issue is important! However, progress is reliant on getting the basics right, including roads, footpaths. Our rates are some of the highest in the state - we deserve more bang for our buck. I will insist on infrastructure that is proactive and well planned and not reactive and where works are done well the first time so repairs and reworking become the exception. I stand for ensuring our community has the services it needs, quality services that enhance the beauty of the town and not detract from the appearance and street appeal of our town, while ensuring rates are used effectively and benefit every sector of our community.
Why should you vote for me: A vote for me is to ensure Orange is in safe hands. Preserve the best of Orange while providing infrastructure for the future that is innovative, imaginative and intelligent.
Creating a roadmap for enduring jobs and wealth this includes planning for a growing population: I will help shape a council which is proactive in anticipating shifts in our regional demographic profile and planning to accommodate and provide the essential services required to support prosperity in an informed and responsible manner.
Infrastructure before uncontrolled land development: I have the right mix of skills and experience and core values to make a difference - my commitment to preserving the best of Orange is genuine
An open mind and fairness should be synonymous with local governance: Homes, food and clean water and air should not be political pawns they are a right not a privilege.
My strength is in guiding genuine consultation, where all voices are heard and are part of creating a compelling vision for the future. I build truly collaborative teams focused on agreed goals to guide and shape subsequent decisions and investment aligned with local, regional and state priorities and directions to effectively achieve productive and lasting outcomes.
Housing availability: Housing availability is about two related concerns - homelessness and affordable housing or homes for our community.
Finding effective solutions and alternatives to housing availability depends on clearly identifying the problems, an accurate understanding of the issues and stakeholders and projected community needs.
Housing is a concern that requires thoughtful and progressive managed in an innovative and inclusive manner and exploring multiple responses.
There is no single solution such as releasing more land, a multi-faceted approach taking into consideration all aspects of population growth; socioeconomic and environmental factors; transport emissions, traffic management, energy, water usage, waste management and vitally the importance of the Cabonne Food Bowl as primary producers, creating sustainable communities now and into the future
There are lots of innovative alternatives being trialled in other locations and include a recognition of the need for single occupancy options.
This is a must-find-solution issue for our community!
Sporting precinct: Regardless of where you sit on the Stadium Spectrum this project has become divisive and didn't need to be. This should never have become an either, or project, an alternative based on compromise can find common ground acceptable to all stakeholders. This is what diversity is - the right to have a differing opinion and a role in decision making; to ensure transparency and accountability. Decisions made on objective evidence-based data - so that even those who disagree with a decision can still support the fair basis on which it was made.
The process is the real concern. A $25million project requires a comprehensive feasibility study, a fully developed project and scope management plan a risk analysis and cost management plan before work begins.
A fresh perspective can see a solution negotiated that ensures the development of a sport stadium that is a catalyst for the spontaneous growth of a sporting precinct home to additional facilities and services and avoids the significant environmental impact.
The redevelopment of Mount Canobolas: The development of 100kms of bike trails is a great initiative for Orange Region however Mt Canobolas is not the place for the trails to be developed.
I support the Gannha-bula Action Group in protecting and respecting this sacred site and place of spiritual connection; a site of significance in 60 000 years of continual culture gives this an international focus not just a regional perspective.
It is beyond question that the Mt Canobolas is an important nature conservation reserve in the region and needs be protected from inappropriate development of any kind causing harm to unique biodiversity , including mountain bike development.
Yes, to bike trail on one of the other suggested sites. Compromise based on mutual respect is what progressive inclusive communities are built on.
Water security: Water security has been an issue since Orange was first settled and remains the biggest challenge facing progress and development. It is raining now but we know that this is just a brief reprieve action needs to be taken urgently to increase the capacity and above all reliability of Orange's water supply.
With the projected increase in Orange's population the demand for water will only be exacerbated.
I don't pretend the have the fix all solution but it must be the top priority for this incoming council to continue investigate all of the possible solutions. Work to safeguard valuable water resources have the potential to achieve both short and long-term cost savings, sustainable revenue generation and a more resilient future. Secure well managed water can stimulate economic development and create jobs, contributing to a green economic recovery from COVID-19 in the short term - while also building long-term resilience.
The solutions are here - together, we can reach a 2050 vision for a water-secure, net-zero world.
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