UNFINISHED business is what’s driving councillor John Nell to take another shot at Port Stephens Council at the 9 September elections.
Planning regulations, car parking and building height limits in Nelson Bay are top of Cr Nell’s agenda, plus a fear of walking away from something he has, for the most part, enjoyed for nearly 30 years of his life.
“Two years ago I said that I wouldn’t be standing again but circumstances have changed, major issues such as the revitalisation of Nelson Bay need to be finalised,” the 69-year-old retired biologist said.
“Besides, the thought of leaving Council after three decades got quite scary, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”
First elected to Port Stephens in 1983, Cr Nell said that most of his years on the council had been enjoyable.
“The last term (five years) has been by far the worse experience but I put that down mainly due to the personalities of two colleagues,” the East Ward Councillor said.
“I am a great believer that personal issues should be put aside when debating at meetings, everyone is entitled to their opinions and these should be respected.
“We are elected to work together, sure we need to have frank discussions but at the end of the day we should be putting the community first, not personalities.”
Cr Nell said it was more important now than ever to move on the Nelson Bay strategic plan and the controversy over building height limits.
“Whether that is 20 metres or 32 metres, we need decisions to ensure investment returns to the Bay and to fill up the shops again.
“Car parking is another hot topic which needs to be sorted out quickly. There are a few options to look at, including the idea of contributions by commercial property owners and using Council dollars.”
Cr Nell said he would like to see the strategic plan resolved within the first 12 months of the new Council and a new Council financial plan achieved within the three-year term.
“It is quite feasible for this Council to sell a building we own in Newcastle and spend the proceeds in Port Stephens.”
By Charlie ELIAS