Sean Daniel HOCKING

Candidate for: West Ward

Q1. What are your top priorities if elected to the City of Bayswater council?

My focus is on making the City of Bayswater an even better place to live, work and play for everyone regardless of their age, gender or culture. As part of this, I plan to prioritise proper community consultation that captures everyone's future vision of Bayswater. Targeting strategies and investments that best meet the needs and aspirations off our community is front of mind.

We must enhance our town centres with the incorporation of more trees for shade, attractive common areas and traffic calming measures, making these more pedestrian and cyclist friendly. Building sustainably is important and needs to be done in a way that doesn't further reduce green spaces and promotes healthy and active community living.

I will be advocating for focus on future developments in town centres and near public transport, rather than clearing trees in backyards as it will help protect our tree canopy while also encouraging use of more sustainable modes of transport. The tree canopy in Bayswater has been denuded over time due to planning schemes and support for building out across the suburbs rather than up in town centres. I believe that town centre-focussed housing will help increase foot traffic, promote safety through better passive surveillance and help businesses be more viable. This will create a situation where local residents choose to shop in Bayswater and Bedford rather than get in their cars and travel to town centres like Leederville and Mount Lawley.

Promoting, supporting and advocating for local businesses is not a brand-new idea but our businesses need more proactive advocates who will work collaboratively with them to provide further amenity for our residents and make our local areas more liveable. Activating small economies and providing opportunities for our youth to gain training and employment instead of making them travel for work is beneficial in the long term.

Above all my priority is to be a strong voice for our local community. I will attend all meetings and briefings of council - not just some meetings which is currently the case. These meetings are important to help councillors understand key issues, hear from the community and make good decisions.

I will turn up, stand up and be a strong advocate for our local community.

Q2. How will you improve the management and reduction of waste in the City of Bayswater?

Waste management is a key issue for the City of Bayswater, many other local governments and our community. As a father with a young child I do worry about the world we are leaving our children - a bigger focus on sustainability is needed.

Whilst good progress has been made with the use of FOGO and other waste management initiatives there is more that can be done. I will support initiatives that focus on waste reduction and reuse while ensuring evidence-based practices are promoted.

Crucial to this is investment in community education and partnering with organisations like Transition Towns to support a more sustainable approach to limiting and managing waste. There is a great opportunity to advocate for a share of the $30 million in funding that was recently made available as part of a joint funding scheme by the Australian Government and Western Australian Labor Governments. I will happily be a strong voice to access the resources need to better reduce and manage waste.

Q3. What will you do to enable more walking and cycling in the City of Bayswater?

I am very active as both a pedestrian and cyclist and believe there is an opportunity to better encourage residents to engage in sustainable transport modes. We are blessed with multiple train stations across our suburbs in the City of Bayswater. It is important to provide better opportunities for community members to safely access these stations, as well as bus ports and bus stops as pedestrians and cyclists.

There is the opportunity to install more bike repair stations in our town centres and train stations as well as enhancing the footpath and cycle network to encourage more use. Critical to this will be the provision of more lighting, regular cleaning of the paths and maintaining good sight lines so that people feel safe in walking and cycling.

By encouraging more walking and cycling to key destinations like our shops and town centres it also creates a social benefit through more interaction between people – which doesn't happen with car travel. It is a key ingredient to helping to creating more vibrant places where people want to live, work and play locally – thereby avoiding the need for people to get in their cars to drive somewhere else.

Nurturing local businesses, providing practical and tangible support for community groups and clubs to hold more local events, widening the footpaths, planting trees in our main streets and improving our streetscapes with better green spaces will all improve the walkability and liveability of an area.

The 20-minute neighbourhood is not a new concept but it is one I strongly support as it promotes a community that has it all. In order to support increased level of spending in concentrated areas, we need to consider sustainable and affordable housing that promotes further foot-traffic, increased jobs and more people recreating on our streets.

Q4. What will you do to increase the City of Bayswater tree canopy from its current 14.55%, to its target of 20% by 2030?

A key reason that the tree canopy has reduced in the City of Bayswater is due to some local Councillors preferencing less sustainable housing developments – mostly "houses behind houses" where back yards and trees are cleared, while also opposing more sustainable housing models. This approach exacerbates the urban heat island effect across the entire suburb.

The City recently reviewed its Local Planning Strategy and there is a real opportunity to stand up and advocate that the future Planning Scheme and the planning polices better support sustainable planning. The planning framework should be overt in prioritising sustainable housing options in town centres and near public transport, with measures in place for the retention and provision of trees.

I will also advocate for more trees to be planted in our main streets, public facilities and town centres in particular. Not only will this aid in meeting the 2030 tree canopy target, it will provide for much needed shade and encourage residents to spend more time outdoors and in their locale.

While the City has really increased its tree planting in the last couple of years, compared to previous years, much more can be done. Unfortunately, in streets like Garratt Road the trees have been planted in the middle of the road providing shade to cars, not pedestrians. I will argue strongly for a more targeted approach to the placement of trees that focusses on creating a more shaded pedestrian environment.

King William Street is great example of where trees could be planted in the footpaths to reduce urban heat island effect and promote pedestrian activity. I know many in our community have asked for this to happen for years, but no action has been taken. Lining the street with trees will better connect what we hope will soon be a thriving town centre and an already amazing natural attraction in the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) and Riverside Garden precinct. Lining the street with trees will also reduce speed of traffic on this road and encourage more foot traffic.

Q5. How will you help our community reduce emissions and support us in a move to renewable energy?

We all have a role to play in reducing omissions and supporting renewable energy for living more sustainably.

A key is to promote more sustainable transport options including walking, cycling and the use of public transport. Despite having access to remarkable public transport options we still have a large proportion of people driving to destinations. There is the opportunity to work with the State Government and its transport agencies to better support more localised campaigns that encourage use of sustainable transport options.

Concentrating population increases in our local centres and transport hubs leads to the potential for greater amenity for all. The more we, our neighbours and friends want to spend time in the City of Bayswater, the less time spent in cars driving to work, shops and other entertainment precincts – which ultimately reduces energy and emissions spent on these activities.

Installing more electric car charging stations around our community will further promote the use of EV's and renewable infrastructure such as solar powered lights are both initiatives I will advocate for and support. I understand that in the last couple of years the City has improved the use of renewable energies in its facilities. This needs to continue.

Further support for education on the importance of renewable energy and the ramifications of ignoring what impact this has on climate change would raise more awareness on changes that need to be made going forward. Promoting how different forms of renewable energy work through local education will also improve the uptake of sustainable technologies and provides those interested with further information to make the change.

Sean Hocking