Mayor takes reins for second year

KINGSTON mayor Georgina Oxley. Picture: Supplied

KINGSTON mayor Georgina Oxley has been re-elected for a second consecutive term.

Cr Oxley and Cr Ron Brownlees were the two nominees for the mayor’s position at a special meeting on 13 November. Cr Oxley won the vote 5-4.

Crs Steve Staikos, Tamara Barth, Rosemary West, and David Eden supported Cr Oxley. Crs George Hua, Tamsin Bearsley, and Geoff Gledhill supported Cr Brownlees.

Cr Oxley said “it is very humbling to be elected the 23rd mayor of the City of Kingston, and once again to be leading this council for the next 12 months.”

“Our achievements have put our community in the best possible standing for the future, and that’s exactly what my goals as mayor for the next 12 months will revolve around, our community and our future. I want to understand not just the priorities of my fellow councillors, but also the community,” she said.

“We have a number of exciting projects underway that I’m looking forward to seeing finished over the next 12 months including the new Edithvale Life Saving Club, development of the Chelsea Structure Plan, construction of the Dales Park netball pavilion and the delivery of our foreshore shared path.”

Defeated candidate Cr Brownlees told the mayor at the meeting “I wish you well for the year ahead, I really do.”

“Some may wonder why I chose to accept the nomination [for mayor]. It’s a fairly deep seated thing I have about the traditions and conventions of local government, many of which appear to have disappeared, that’s a fault of the system and the new generation I guess. One of those is the continuous role of the mayor, I like to see the rotational system,” he said.

Cr Oxley’s will be the last mayor under the current council, with an election due in November.

In reflecting on her previous year as mayor, Cr Oxley said “without a doubt the highlight of my mayoral term has been seeing Kingston take a strong leadership role in addressing the issue of family violence in our community.”

She also listed “the building and upgrading of sporting facilities throughout the city, the investment in high-quality early learning facilities to give Kingston’s youngest residents the best start to life with the best education, council’s collaboration with the Level Crossing Removal Project that is seeing unprecedented investment in Kingston and transforming the city, and the handing out hundreds of free trees to residents to increase our tree canopy” as other things achieved during the last year.

Cr Oxley acknowledged that “the year hadn’t been without its challenges”. One of the most contentious issues faced by council this year has been the construction of the Bay Trail. Debate about the Bay Trail at public meetings has often been derailed by heckling from members of the gallery.

In January while two councillors were absent, councillors Gledhill, Brownlees, Hua, and Bearsley voted to refer the decision to proceed with Bay Trail works to IBAC for investigation. That vote was eventually rescinded at a special meeting the following week with all councillors present, prompting four councillors to storm out of the meeting (“Trial on trail called off”, The News, 13/2/19).

Works on that project are underway, and will take place over summer.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 20 November 2019

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