Councillor profiles - This month from Willoughby City Council, NSW

Article image - Councillor profiles - This month from Willoughby City Council, NSW Councillor Gail Giles-Gidney, Mayor, Willoughby City Council, New South Wales

Inner city bushland
Willoughby City Council is located on Sydney’s North Shore, ten kilometers to the north of Sydney City.

We are an inner city Council that is still able to maintain a relaxed lifestyle.

We have great transport links and a thriving Central Business District, but are still able to provide walks in our 300 hectares of natural bushland, plus supporting local sport and recreation.

In addition we are very culturally diverse.

I love being so close to a vibrant CBD, but also having the natural bushland environment on my doorstep.

Local diversity
We have a fabulously diverse community in Willoughby and they need to be supported in appropriate ways.

I am keen to see all groups have representation, even if they are in a minority.

In addition I am very supportive of providing sport and recreation facilities for our community.

We have a lot of pressure on us to build more residential apartments.

There is a fine balance with this and ensuring our commercial sector is enhanced.

In addition, we are increasingly under pressure with more and more traffic though our area requiring more parking.

We are also currently looking at our funding structure for the longer term, and we expect the future will be a challenging time.

It is very important that we have a cohesive Council that works together for positive outcomes for our community.

Although we are fortunate to have a special group of Councillors who understand that we may need to make some tough decisions to give a better outcome for all.

Balancing Commitments
I have been on council for five years.

When I first was elected as a Councillor I had two children at school.

I found the out of business hours and meetings very demanding, and it impacted on my family.

There were also a lot of demands for my time on the weekend.

This caused a real juggle with family commitments.  

It certainly is not a nine to five job!

We are fortunate at Willoughby Council to have an equal representation of women to men on Council and I have not ever felt being a woman has made my journey more challenging.

I find Citizenship Ceremonies very moving and memorable.

I have had people cry on my shoulder as they are so overjoyed and relieved at finally being made an Australian Citizen.

To be part of that process is very special.

I love that we make tangible things happen, whether it be a new footpath, sporting field or building our entertainment and performing arts precinct, The Concourse.

Family time is increasingly precious so my first priority is to spend time with the family.

Apart from that I love bushwalking.

I like golf but I don’t seem to get much time for that lately!

In addition I go to Pilates and the gym regularly.

I also like to read and really enjoy my book club.