Candidates vie for Chaffey ward

Wyndham city council's offices in Werribee. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 209276_03

By Alesha Capone

Candidates standing for the Chaffey ward in Wyndham council’s October elections have outlined their priorities for the municipality, ranging from more jobs to improved community engagement.

The Chaffey ward includes Tarneit and parts of Werribee and Hoppers Crossing.

Councillors presently representing the ward include mayor Josh Gilligan, deputy mayor John Gibbons, Henry Barlow and Walter Villagonzalo.

Star Weekly last week contacted some of the Chaffey candidates and asked their priorities for the area, aside from recovering from COVID-19.

Cr Villagonzalo said he would stand for re-election because there was still a lot he wanted to achieve for Wyndham.

Cr Villagonzalo said he would like to see more local jobs; for Wyndham to become “a solar city” with several large-scale solar farms; and millions of new trees to be planted through the use of drones and robots.

Cr Barlow said he has not yet decided whether he will contest the next election, but would monitor what is happening in all the wards before making a decision.

Chairman of the Liberal Party’s Tarneit Electorate Conference, Preet Singh, will stand in Chaffey ward.

Mr Singh said he was concerned about “developers in the new estates who promise the world and deliver very little”.

“I would like to contribute to influence a culture within the council where expectations of residents are met with action on the ground,” he said.

Another candidate, Kapil Thakkar, said he has spent many years volunteering in Wyndham, for organisations including Werribee Mercy Hospital.

“I feel there is a gap in community engagement and involvement and thus many times a lot of important safety issues are not on priority list of council,” he said.

Mr Thakkar said he has been campaigning for pedestrian crossings and traffic lights to be installed on Leakes Road between Tarneit and Derrimut roads.

Another local volunteer, Rishi Prabhakar, said he wanted to become a councillor as he saw it as an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.

“In my view the most important issue facing Wyndham council is keeping up with the continuing growth – infrastructure, facilities, roads and services,” he said.

Long-time community advocate Arnav Sati, who is also standing for election, said: “Lack of accountability, transparency and autocratic style of decision making are important issues at the council level.

“I commit to working towards implementing an online public issues register that will ensure that residents can report, search and track the common problems raised by them.”