Councillor profiles - This month from Mayor Jordan Crugnale, Bass Coast Shire,Victoria

Article image - Councillor profiles - This month from Mayor Jordan Crugnale, Bass Coast Shire,Victoria

The environment is our economy
Our character, natural environment and the space that surrounds us in Bass Coast Shire defines us; it is why we live, work and holiday here. We have a landscape and seascape that is exquisite and made up of natural delights including a National Surfing Reserve, the Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park, Ramsar Wetlands and a UNESCO Western port biosphere reserve. Adding in rivers and creeks, we have the theme of water coursing through our veins.

The environment is our economy. Bass Coast prospers as visitors come to enjoy our landscapes and facilities, and as one of the fastest growing municipalities in Victoria, new residents are coming to enjoy and contribute too.

Calling on networks
This is my first term as a Councillor, having been elected in 2012. Following a successful abandonment of a one year action on a local road issue, where we were being asked to pay $26,000 for a road and drainage scheme, I put my hand up on the basis that the budget should reflect community priorities.

I currently work full time in my role as Mayor. I was working in a drop-in centre in Melbourne; however, as a result of the mental health act changes in 2014 and its funding redistribution and service model changes, the weekend program closed. Having worked in this sector, you learn to have an endless supply of patience and empathy.

What I find interesting in my role as a Councillor, there are very frequently complaints from people and when you dissect out the intent, they just want the best for their community and area – which is what we all want. It can be conveyed to you in an aggressive manner, but when you don’t feed the aggression with aggression, it goes nowhere. Anger is just the same as being ecstatic – it’s just an emotion.

One of the best parts of being a Councillor is being a matchmaker and calling on my networks. It is great when you find out about funding opportunities and you have a conversation with some people, a plan is plotted and you find the right person they need to progress the idea, put them in the same room, write a letter of support and away they go.

Outside of Council, I enjoy anything to do with the arts, instilling a sense of confidence and resilience in my kids, gardening, running along the water’s edge and dare I say it – singing with my musician partner.

Looking to the future
A proud moment was inviting the Premier of Victoria to the Shire and organising a round table discussion with key leaders and thinkers across the community, as well as from the private and public sectors, and having the Premier commit to a ministerial delegation to return within a timeframe and with a purpose. Future Industries, renewables, jobs and innovation was the theme and Wonthaggi as a Regional Centre needing an integrated big-vision
long-view plan.

At my local ward level, the Inverloch Skate Park has been transformed from a blank, concrete canvas to a burst of colour with an eclectic array of artworks painted by local youth and artists – it has been reclaimed and remade. Funded from our Public Art program and supported by Inverloch Community House, the leading artist, Mary Sullivan, had the whole town jumping with enthusiasm to pick up a paint brush and help in any way. It was a great community and youth project.

We have also recently started the process to have two 42m long, decommissioned wind turbine blades turned into a sculptural, functional and educational playground in our regional centre, Wonthaggi. The playground will be a first in Australia, inspired by the Wikado Playground in the Netherlands.