WEPA President wins Council seat

John Moratelli, Kristina Dodds and Juliet Schmidt – WEPA members who stood in the local government elections. Image: Meredith Foley

WEPA would like to extend its heartiest congratulations to John Moratelli (WEPA President) and WEPA members, Kristina Dodds and Juliet Schmidt, who ran last month as LIFE (Local Independents for our Environment) candidates for the Willoughby City Council.

As you will probably be aware, John secured enough first preference votes to be elected on the night of the election as a Councillor for the Sailors Bay Ward. Kristina, who had polled very well individually, unfortunately missed out on a spot after the distribution of preferences.  We hope to see both Kristina and Juliet return to their wonderful work for the environment and sustainability in 2022.

All three candidates put an awe-inspiring amount of effort into the campaign – which was made even more difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic – and used this opportunity to write and speak against the environmentally damaging and economically unsound Beaches Link car tunnel. It was fantastic to see the wide range of hard-working volunteers, many of whom were also WEPA members, come on board to help the campaign.

WEPA was pleased to see the prominence of issues it has campaigned for over many years, including opposition to the car tunnel; climate action; protection of parks, bushlands and waterways; and improved community engagement and sustainability taken up by a large number of independent candidates across the Lower North Shore.

Hopefully, this shift will be reflected in a renewed campaign against Beaches Link (and in favour of alternative public transport initiatives) and lead to greater collaboration on the Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (NSROC) on the tunnel and other issues.

WEPA was sad to see both Lynne Saville and Wendy Norton leave WCC. Lynne and Wendy have been strong advocates for the environment and for community engagement and have assisted us in relation to a number of issues over the years.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to you both.

Finally, WEPA welcomes Willoughby’s new Mayor, Tanya Taylor, and all our new Councillors. We wish you well in your new role and look forward to working with many of you in the future.

Meredith Foley
WEPA Committee
17 January 2022

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