There are five new faces on Blue Mountains City Council following the September 10 elections.
In ward 3, one independent replaced another with Shae Foenander elected following the decision of Brendan Luchetti not to recontest.
In ward 4, the large Labor vote brought Darryl Bowling in alongside Mark Greenhill.
In ward 1 at the top of the Mountains, there are two new councillors: Kerry Brown from the Greens and Kevin Schreiber from the Liberal Party.
And in the closely-fought ward 2, Greens Brent Hoare was successful, pipping out independent Rob Thompson.
The Gazette asked each councillor to supply some information about him or herself.
Mark John Greenhill, OAM, represents the ALP. He lives in Warrimoo and is 49. He is married with four children (three daughters and one son). Occupation: Manager. His interests include social justice issues, preserving the environment, sport, literature, art and music.
He has served on council for nearly 13 years.
“I have served as mayor, deputy mayor and president of WSROC. As mayor, I helped lead the city during the fires of 2013, helped preserve our LEP when the Government was looking to merge it into a standard instrument, helped fend off amalgamation and reduced landfill. We have cut debt and restructured council's finances. I have always had the support of my colleagues and wonderful community.”
Darryl Bowling lives at Glenbrook. He is married to Wendy Ellsmore, counselling psychologist in private practice. He has seven children with an 11-year-old son at home. Interests include politics, no Badgerys Creek airport, economic development with sustainable employment, tourism, the environment and sporting fields. He is semi-retired with a background in the computing industry and business management. He spent 19 years working in Foreign Affairs.
Brendan Christie, 25, lives in Lapstone. He is married to Elizabeth. They have two children: Matthew (5) and James (five months). He works in digital marketing for NewsXtend, managing Google AdWords campaigns for small to medium businesses. He is a big fan of history, sport and technology. He’s a foundation member of the Western Sydney Wanderers and support the Parramatta Eels. He also enjoys watching the NFL and the New England Patriots. “I not only love sport for the competitive aspect but also the role it plays in the community, and it was a great honour in serving on the board of directors for the Western Sydney Academy of Sports and being able to promote local sports across the western Sydney region. Sport brings everyone together in the community, regardless of background.”
He has been on council since 2012 and was the youngest councillor ever elected to Blue Mountains City Council at the age of 21.
Mick Fell lives in Springwood. He is 66 and married with two adult step-children. He is now retired after many years working in local government. “My interests include photography and being an active member of my local community.”
He has just completed his first term on council.
Shae Foenander (independent), 45, is married with three children - two boys (13 and 15) and a girl (10). She lives in Blaxland. She has been a registered nurse since 1992 and also holds qualifications in rehabilitation counselling for people with disabilities. Her interests include spending time outdoors, either in the garden, bushwalking or jetskiing. She also has a love of the arts and reading, and enjoys soccer. “I actually see work as one of my main interest as I love to help people and I am fulfilled by my role as a nurse.”
“This will be my first serving term and I am humbled by the Community’s response in electing me as a representative for Ward 3. I truly look forward to working with the community and taking my advocacy skills as a nurse out into the community and advocating for people, community and environment.”
Daniel Myles, 43, lives in Springwood. He is single and a call centre operator. His interests include cricket, rugby league, history and local government. He has served on council for 17 years.
Romola Hollywood, 54, has lived in Wentworth Falls for last 30 years. She was married for many years and is now divorced/single.
“I look forward to when my LGBTI friends can be asked this question. I fully support marriage equality (no plebiscite). She has two adult sons, aged 29 and 26. She works as a management advisor, trainer and policy specialist in the non-government sector.
“On council my priorities include improving pedestrian access and safety, protecting our environment and the character of our towns and villages. My personal interests include swimming (you may see me at Lawson Pool), running (you may see at Lawson Park run or jogging around Wentworth Falls), getting better at cycling (I will work hard to gain safer places for cyclists to ride). I love books, visual arts, film and TV including shows like Parks and Recreation. She was first elected in 2012.
Brent Hoare is 48 and lives in Hazelbrook in a de facto relationship. He is the father of two teenage daughters. He is a public school secondary teacher at Chifley College Mt Druitt campus (history/geography/legal studies/society and culture trained, currently teaching maths in support classes). Previously worked as an outdoor educator and adventure guide, and in a wide range of environmental campaign roles, including many years running a natural refrigerants industry association and participating in international negotiations to include hydrofluorocarbons in the Montreal Protocol.
He has been a member of Blue Mountains State Emergency Service Rescue West since 1999 and a member of Hazelbrook Rural Fire Brigade since 2013. He enjoys bushwalking, mountain biking, canyoning and telemark skiing. He is also into community choirs, backyard chooks and exercising the dog.
He is extremely concerned about climate change, and plans to make local action to reduce emissions a priority focus during this council term.
Chris Van der Kley, Liberal councillor, is 67 and lives in Wentworth Falls. He is a widower with sons and grandchildren. He is retired from the retail industry. His interests include Rotary, the RFS, bushwalking and politics. He has been on council for 17 years.
“I just want to leave the Mountains a better place for our children.”
Labor councillor Don McGregor is 72 and lives in Katoomba. He has been married for 35 years and has three daughters and one son plus two grandchildren and another on the way. He has worked in a variety of jobs, including running small printing business in Sydney and the last 30 years in domestic construction in the Mountains and out west. His interest include art and culture, politics and meeting the responsibilities that come with being a city within a World Heritage listed area as well as meeting the challenges of climate change.
He has served on council since 2012.
Former Sutherland Shire mayor and newly elected Ward 1 councillor, Kevin Schreiber, is an avid gardener, a member of Central Blue Mountains Rotary and a keen supporter of Souths Rugby League team, and the Swans.
He lives in Gladstone Road, Leura, having purchased a property 16 years ago. He has two children and six grandchildren.
His background includes 21 years as a Sutherland Shire councillor, including five years as mayor. Sutherland Shire Council awarded him the title “Emeritus Mayor”.
He was a member of the Local Government Executive from 1999 to 2013, serving as treasurer from 2009 to 2013. He has owned and operated small businesses for 42 years.
His other activities include member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, director of Local Government Procurement since 1999, director of Manchester Unity 18 years (chairman five times), treasurer pf Manchester Unity in NSW, member of environment committees with Office of Health and Environment. He is experienced in economic development and tourism and a member of the Community Awareness Policing Program since 2010.
He has a desire to see the Blue Mountains elevated further as a destination for tourists to visit and for residents to enjoy, and to see the construction of enhanced retirement communities across the Blue Mountains, considering the area’s ageing population and lack of suitable accommodation.
Kerry Brown is 58 years old and lives with her partner and best friend, Graeme Cole. They have no children but a motherload of rellies thanks to many siblings and two generations of their progeny. She has lived in New Zealand, Australia (twice), USA (twice) and Britain.
She first moved to the Upper Mountains in the early 1980s while working on the Sydney Morning Herald as a television reviewer and feature writer. (She did not own a TV.)
In 1984, she went to Britain on a two-year working holiday and stayed for 12 years, working as a journalist on the Sheffield Morning Telegraph before moving into newspaper publishing, educational writing and then book publishing.
As a writer, editor and publisher, she specialised in religion and environmental conservation, sometimes in combination.
At the same time, she was multifaith advisor to the World Wide Fund for Nature International, helping communities in Asia and Europe develop local conservation projects. Along with the complexities of religion and science, there was usually a hydra-head of local power brokers to negotiate.
While living in the USA in the late 90s, she wrote and published internationally on north Indian religious history, art and warfare.
She returned to Australia and the Blue Mountains in 2000 and spent the next decade in garden management, first as the manager of Everglades, the National Trust property in Leura, and then as public relations manager for the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.
Her love of gardens led me to study horticulture at Wentworth Falls TAFE. I now run a small gardening business from Springwood to Blackheath.
“I have been a cyclist since my parents gave me a wooden trike with no brakes for my second birthday. Remarkably, I am still alive. I am also a bushwalker, reader, music and art lover, swimmer and recreational gardener,” she said.
“I am a member and volunteer of many local groups. The Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group and the BM Renewable Energy Co-op are particularly dear to my heart and mind.”