Community forum

At the Manly Community Resident Forum on Tuesday 21 March, a packed meeting heard for the first time the policies of the three major candidates for the by-election, including Independent Kathryn Ridge.

Kathryn Ridge spoke about  local issues from the importance of keeping the Manly Hospital site in community hand and major issues with the North Head Sewage Plant to the need for better and more frequent ferry services.

Kathryn began by emphasising her focus as a candidate: “putting the community back in the picture of local politics”.

“There used to be a time where local member’s offices used to be full of people discussing the things that are important to them and working on getting things done – that’s what I’d like to see for Manly.”

Health care

“There are a range of rehab facilities that won’t be provided at the new northern beaches hospital,” she said. If you’ve been seriously injured and need ongoing rehab, unless you can use a private facility “you have to travel over an hour”.

Her solution to this is a heath & wellness clinic on the site of the Manly Hospital.

The environment

One of Kathryn’s priorities is upgrading to full secondary treatment at the north head sewage treatment plant, in line with best practice standards.

Furthermore, the plant needs infrastructure to prevent odours from affecting adjacent residents.  “We followed this through with an ombudsmen’s report when it wasn’t prosecuted with the EPA (Environment Protection Agency).”

“An important outcome of this was working out that there was a very quiet policy of the government not to prosecute their own government agencies if they breached the law. That’s now been exposed and we will be working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Transport

Out and about in the community, and via our survey “we’ve heard a lot about transport, and I think that’s the key issue”.

We’re lucky to be in “one of the best places to live, but we have three of the worst congested roads. 80,000 people who commute every day from the Northern Beaches are spending six extra days sitting in traffic – per person every year. That’s time we could be spending with our families or at work and it’s impacting our businesses.”

Kathryn also confirmed that she will push for new ferry services for early city/ airport commuters and late nighters and an upgrade of Manly Wharf.

The tunnel

We all know that resolving congestion is a big issue. “We’ve had 20 years of tunnel promises. In March 2015 the then Premier and our local member told us it was going to be a $2-3 billion dollar tunnel and it was called the Beaches Link. There was a $5 million feasibility study which was going to look at geotechnical issues, what the best model was, what the cost would be in terms of tolls.”

“Where are the outcomes of this $5m study? And why is the same type of investigation going to cost us $77 million this time?”

“There are 71 homeowners on Serpentine Crescent. It’s now been publicly announced that their houses will be acquired for the tunnel. But until the actual feasibility study is done and there is a budget committed to build the tunnel and that land is acquired properly they’re stuck. How can they sell to anyone with everyone knowing they’ll have no choice but to sell?”

“I want to see the detail around the tunnel and I also want to see some short term fixes. All of us have seen what’s happening down at Harris Farm, we’ve seen the Kenneth Road congestion”.

“The single most effective way to improve congestion on Spit and Military Road is to get an East-West bus metro lane. It can happen within 18 months, it can be funded, and that would provide immediate relief at the same time as they’re building new homes up in Warriewood and Ingleside. The congestion problem is just going to get worse if we don’t see anything happening.”