Councillor profiles - Mayor Jan Bonde Central Coast Council
Rich agricultural lands
The Central Coast municipal area is set in the heart of the northwest coast of Tasmania, spanning an area of 932 square kilometres, with a population of 22,410 people. It includes the townships of Ulverstone, Penguin and many small rural settlements. Our economy is based on agriculture, including vegetables, berries, wines, olive oil, dairy, meats and smallgoods, cherries, poppies, pyrethrum and grains. Industries include agricultural processing and equipment sales, manufacturing, precision engineering, construction and services.
Our brand is ‘Coast to Canyon’, in recognition of our beautiful coastline and pristine beaches, the rugged Leven Canyon and everything in between. Visitors enjoy bushwalking or mountain-bike riding in the Dial Range, breathtaking drives along our coastal roads and hinterland, visiting Gunns Plains Caves and local wildlife park, wandering along our parks, gardens and beaches, or visiting our specialty shops and cafés. The things I love most about Central Coast are its natural beauty, relaxed lifestyle, friendliness and great community spirit.
Strong sense of community
I became a Councillor in 2005 and was elected as Mayor in 2010. I have always had a strong sense of community and served in various volunteer organisations over many years, including Girl Guides Australia, Women in Agriculture and the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It seemed a natural progression to want to become part of the decision-making process of the Council in matters which affect the future growth and development of our local community.
I have a background in agricultural business, having been a partner in a large, diverse cropping and livestock enterprise, so I have a strong interest in the growth of both the rural and business sector. We have a program of regular business visits and work closely with the Central Coast Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Council has also focussed on community-led development, fostering the Cradle Coast Farmers’ Market, which showcases a range of high-quality local produce and has become a weekly social gathering place for our community. Council also fostered a culture of innovation and enterprise, forming Cradle Coast Innovation which now mentors aspiring entrepreneurs, provides free assistance to start-ups and existing businesses, hosts Ideas workshops and Thinks ‘n’ Drinks, a regular networking opportunity.
Outside of work hours I enjoy rowing with the Ulverstone Rowing Club, bike riding along our many cycleways and shared pathways, bushwalking, spending time with friends and family, reading and travelling.
Looking after the aging population
As with most councils, the challenges facing Council in the years ahead will continue to be financial, as we continually assess our ageing infrastructure and plan to upgrade or replace it.
As we have an ageing population, a key challenge is to look at ways to enhance community wellbeing and positive ageing to help the community to live up to its potential.
Council is currently completing the upgrade of the Dial Regional Sports Complex, a $10.5m project which will provide a sports precinct for football, cricket, athletics, mountain-bike riding, golf and bowls, all in the one area. The precinct will also allow for events and entertainment both on the grounds and in the pavilion. As well, this project has provided Council with the rare opportunity to work with the community on the future development of the old sports ground, a large site in Penguin’s central business district which will become vacant once football and cricket move to the new site next year.
We have also developed a Dementia-Friendly Central Coast framework and are taking a whole-of-community approach towards enhancing the lives of people living with dementia or caring for people with dementia. We aim to join the growing network of dementia-friendly communities worldwide and are currently identifying the actions we will take in the short, medium and long term.
The Council has a strategic parcel of land within its CBD area, which we have been working with the community on developing into a cultural precinct. We have had consultation with our community and fantastic feedback which has allowed us to develop a more inclusive Cultural Precinct Master Plan which will give the Council direction to work towards over the next five or so years.
The projects have only been possible through good communication, consultation and listening to our community.
Strengthening ties between Council and community
One of the areas that I have worked hard to progress in my time as Mayor is the relationship between the Council and the community. We have community morning teas for each of our towns and villages, which are proving to be very popular and well received. It allows us to understand what is happening within our smaller communities and how they are diverse in their own ways. We have developed different ways of communicating and hold regular meetings with community groups, service clubs and business groups. It is important that we bring the community along the journey with us and this has been one of my major focuses.
Into the future, I would like to continue working with our community to ensure Central Coast continues to be a great place to live, work and invest.