The Greens have announced candidates for three out of four wards for the September local government elections.
The party’s pre-selection meeting was held last Wednesday, May 2, with long-time campaigner Brent Hoare putting his name forward for Ward 1, Michael Aaronson for Ward 3, and Mark O’Sullivan for Ward 4.
The Ward 2 Greens candidate is yet to be decided.
Mr Hoare, who has lived in the Upper Mountains since 1997 and previously worked with former Greens leader Bob Brown and his replacement Christine Milne, is currently the executive director of the not-for-profit Green Cooling Association.
A father of two, Mr Hoare has spent a “great deal of time” working in the environmental field and said the role of a councillor was not to be taken lightly.
“It’s a very big responsibility to take on,” he told the Gazette.
Mr Hoare has also been a volunteer with the Blue Mountains State Emergency Service (SES) for 12 years, joining in response to predictions of severe weather events.
“We have witnessed that in the time I have been a member,” he said. “I was active during the wind storms [last year] and spent three-and-a-half days in the field during that period.
“It’s a responsibility I take very seriously.”
Being “responsive to the issues before the community and being a voice for the science behind the environmental changes that we have before us” was an important part of Mr Hoare’s approach to politics, and he considered balancing the pressures of conservation and development a big issue in the Mountains.
Mr O’Sullivan, a teacher, moved back to the Mountains last year after growing up in the area and being involved in various community groups such as the Blue Mountains Orchestra and Mt Riverview Neighbourhood Watch.
He pin-pointed infrastructure as important in Ward 4, particularly community infrastructure.
“I can see some changes coming up in terms of the library,” he said.
“The one thing about libraries is they need to change in their role and the purpose they serve. That’s one thing that interests me, as well as how best we can use that [library] centre.”
Warrimoo Oval was another concern, with Mr O’Sullivan saying he would like to look at “ways to better utilise it”.
“I also think there’s also issues involved with what sort of businesses are coming into Glenbrook and Blaxland,” he said.
“I can see people would like to have shops that can better cater to them, so we don’t have the situation where people have to go to Penrith or Emu Plains. If council can help improve the amenity to the people of Ward 4 it would be useful, but always have the environment important as well.
“The Green Party always supports the idea of local business and employing local people.”
Mr Aaronson has been a staunch anti-graffiti campaigner in the past and regularly attends Blue Mountains City Council meetings, as well as local community forums.