Gold Coast retirees check out their mayoral candidates
GOLD Coast mayoral candidate Jim Wilson strode into the public meeting on March 10 an unhappy man.
Arriving at the Senior Citizens Centre at Broadbeach, he gave fellow candidate Brett Lambert a verbal lashing over preference expectations.
Mr Wilson told Mr Lambert he had missed an opportunity to oust sitting mayor Tom Tate by not allocating preferences.
All six mayoral candidates had accepted an invitation to speak about their policies at the public meeting organised by the Association of Independent Retirees Gold Coast branch.
Whoever wins the mayoralty at the local government election on March 19 will be in the international spotlight when the Gold Coast hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Hoping to sway the votes of about 80 retirees were candidates Penny Toland, Jim Wilson, Andrew Middleton, Brett Lambert, John Abbott and incumbent mayor Tom Tate.
Mr Lambert was first to speak.
He said he worked closely with people at sporting venues and community events.
"That's what I'm about, giving the community great service," he said.
"We don't want lip service, we want community service.
"I'm in a position to help."
Mr Abbott said he would pay off the council debt, and seek advice from council staff, as well as ensure that council was "transparent" with no secret meetings.
"I am a crusader and I have a reputation for that," he said.
Cr Tate said the council budget had been trimmed back to reduce debt during his four-year term of office.
In his opinion, the Gold Coast economy needed to be broadened more to complement tourism and construction.
Cr Tate pointed to his introduction of free off-peak public transport and a cut-price cab service for seniors.
"I put it to you that I want to be the mayor friendly to seniors," he said.
Mr Middleton would scrap the proposed cruise ship terminal if elected mayor.
He said smaller buses on the coast would create more jobs for drivers.
Mr Middleton proposes an expansion of the CCTV network to improve safety, and will introduce a hotline for dog attacks.
Homelessness also needed to be addressed "big-time", he said.
Mr Wilson vowed to make life better for Gold Coast retirees.
"I deeply understand retirees' aspirations," he said.
Ms Toland said while the Gold Coast had a reputation for "fun in the sun", it wasn't just a "party town".
"We're actually achieving incredible things," she said.
"We need a mayor for the whole of the city, not just the 'glitter strip'."
As mayor, Ms Toland would keep open spaces in public ownership, and give ratepayers value for money by completing a full audit of Gold Coast City Council finances.
In a question and answer session at the meeting, retirees asked about parking problems and the lack of Aboriginal representation on council.