Redland City Council candidate Brian McDonald has vowed to make community engagement a top priority if he secures the division two seat of Cleveland and North Stradbroke Island at the 2024 election.
The former business owner, who ran Cleveland Office Supplies for almost nine years after a successful career in the electrical engineering supply industry, said he was also committed to ensuring council’s decisions reflected the community’s needs and expectations.
He has outlined a series of priorities for the division, including revitalising the Cleveland CBD to attract investment opportunities, and has pledged to bring transparency and integrity to the role if he is successful at the March poll.
The division two seat, which has been held by Cr Peter Mitchell since 2016, is often seen as one of the most crucial in Redlands given it encompasses the Cleveland business district and the city’s tourist mecca of North Stradbroke Island.
Mr McDonald said he would be meeting people face-to-face during the election campaign to gauge the issues that were important to voters and understand what they wanted out of their elected representatives.
He said there was no place for party politics in local government and he would be running as an independent.
“I want to see it [division two] represented inclusively and with clarity so the public knows what’s going on and their wishes are represented by the councillors,” Mr McDonald said.
“The more I get around, the more I talk to people, the more I understand their frustrations with the way things are currently run.”
Mr McDonald lodged a petition with Redland City Council in 2022 after parking arrangements across the Cleveland CBD were changed to introduce more 12-hour spaces, including along Doig, Waterloo, Queen and Middle streets.
Council resolved at a meeting in October to change the parking configuration and reduce time limits in several areas, but Mr McDonald said the flow-on effects from the introduction of 12-hour parking had taken its toll.
“Every business has suffered in terms of foot traffic because the general public aren’t able to park,” he said.
“That same issue is being experienced by the medical practices with people running late for appointments.”
He said the Cleveland CBD needed a refresh to attract investment.
“There has been no real investment in Cleveland now for at least 10 years,” Mr McDonald said.
“That contributes to making the CBD look sad and neglected, and that sort of environment doesn’t entice people to want to shop.
“My main reason [for running] is to see some positive change in the way the division is represented in the decision-making processes in council.
“I will certainly be very proactive in supporting positive development and representing the needs of the ratepayers.”
Mr McDonald said he had reservations about council’s recent investments in major projects, including the Birkdale whitewater facility.
“I don’t believe council has presented a business case for some of these large investments,” he said.
“Without that business case how can we, the voters, determine the ongoing costs of those projects.”