By ERWIN CHLANDA
An independent who polled exceptionally well in last year’s Territory election has joined the growing number of mayoral candidates for the town council poll next month.
Kim Hopper, mother, business woman running a coffee shop and roastery and an outspoken environmentalist, came a comfortable third in primary votes for the keenly contested Braitling last year.
The numbers were: Joshua Burgoyne (CLP) 1,548; Dale Wakefield (ALP) 993; Kim Hopper (Ind) 648; Dale McIver (Territory Alliance) 488; Chris Tomlins (Greens) 379; Scott McConnell (Ind) 199; Marli Banks (Federation Party) 140.
Describing herself in a media release as a “vocal climate action champion” the second woman candidate for top council job was the organiser of the Business Climate Strike in 2019, drawing 64 local businesses and organisations to pledge their support for the Student Climate Strike.
Ms Hopper says she will be answering the questions posed by the Alice Springs News to candidates for Mayor.
In her release she calls for “transitioning all council assets to renewables … community-owned solar that keeps dollars in our town … civic participation in planning the future of our town … solutions for young people”.
Ms Hopper says: “Council cannot fix all our problems but it can start the conversation, bring the right people to the table and keep the long-term vision in focus.
“We want our young people to be centred in these solutions so they feel connected, committed and valued.”
AT TOP: Ms Hopper’s photo for her Braitling campaign last year.
Ms Hopper says examples and costings of specific projects and initiatives are “still being done and I can feed more information to you as it develops”. She gave the following preliminary answers to the questions from the News.
The council’s Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions and increase solar assets needs more action and proper accountability. This is our money after all that is being wasted on heating the swimming pool with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gas each winter. I look forward to diving into the budget detail on the long-term savings that Council can make by achieving this transition.
Rapid divestment from Fossil Fuel Banks has been a huge market mechanism for forcing global companies into climate responsibility for years now. This costs nothing except perhaps some administration fees, is well worth the impact and is easy to achieve.
Where are our community centres? Or just one for that matter. Most regional centres, even remote towns, have a town hall or similar that can be utilised by the community for the plethora of services it provides. Perhaps it could form part of the new library investment.
The impetus behind my and other people’s candidacy is to break up this block [of five councillors prevailing over the minority of four] that has inhibited council decision making for so long.
How should the council act as an advocate for the town, vis-a-vis governments and big investors? The Council needs to jump in the driver’s seat and inspire investors by showing that it is serious about its investments, its assets and its social cohesion. My hope is we can work more productively with the NT Government and attract private investment through visionary projects and demonstrated capabilities of Council.
How will you be allocating your preferences? That’s to be confirmed but obviously my decisions will be made on environmental policies as well as how they view community resilience and their business-smarts.