How apt is it that the Gatekeepers Cottage in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens has such a name?
It has gained renewed attention due to the bigger-than-expected costs of establishing this project, which aims to protect a part of our local history and forge it into a resourceful part of our future.
Councillors approved the project - but were not part of the 'operational' decisions that resulted in the big bill.
That said, unlike some Labor and Greens endorsed councillors fluffing their pre-local council election feathers, I stand by the confident decision of council to relocate and use the cottage.
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It will sit alongside the splendid reproduction of the fernery in the garden that will add yet another jewel to our famous lake precinct.
And it should be beyond politics.
While I have called for details on the costings matter and will formalise that in the council chamber on Wednesday, I have no doubt that its value to Ballarat will be paid back many times in the form of reward - a bountiful gift to our children and theirs - enabling them to learn about our gardens, heritage and nature.
They will be educated about how plants grow, what they do, and the impact of their beauty and aesthetics on how we live and think.
It's funny then, that Ballarat endorsed candidates directed their arrows of scorn and ridicule towards my fellow councillor Jim Rinaldi for their interpretation of his views on climate change.
In a democracy that supposedly celebrates freedom of speech, Cr Rinaldi recently asked a very simple question: which scientists should councillors listen to given we are now required to consider climate change as a 'governance principle'?
He referred to climate change 'warriors' such as former environmental advisor to US President Barack Obama, Michael Shellenberger, who are now apologising for creating environmental alarmism and highlighting more pressing environmental issues facing the world.
Jim voted for the Gatekeepers Cottage.
He voted for it as an opportunity to seed understanding about nature and gardens and their role in our broader ecosystem. Our climate.
Some might call it real action on climate change.
The people who talk to me on the street - or around the lake - don't want formalised Spring Street indoctrinated politics at our council table.
While everyone understands that we all sit at the table having voted one way or other at state and federal ballot boxes, we have to date avoided that formal alignment locally.
We are free to vote how we like.
Endorsed candidates will now have to abide by their party politics, the party paying for their campaigns.
They will have to wear and own everything that party stands for.
Right now, many could find that a burden.
It is worth noting that the 'Inquiry' findings into the current quarantine failings have been delayed. They will now be released in November just after the local government elections.
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And, while endorsed councillors and candidates position themselves as fiscal heroes, the party they represent has an economic record that makes their foot stomping on the Gatekeepers Cottage rather awkward.
Labor's West Gate Tunnel project, for example, is more than a billion dollars over budget with a long way yet to go.
Many people take no interest in politics. They say they don't understand it, or they think it isn't relevant to them. But if you are wearing a mask today, then understand, politics is more than ever a part of your everyday life. It is literally in your face, or on it.
The roots of political intervention will merely grow deeper should political parties with endorsed candidates succeed in their electoral plans in October.
I consider the Melbourne Airport rail tunnel project and the growth of our Ballarat airport as important challenges for our future.
I thank CEO Michael Poulton and the Committee for Ballarat's role in leading the charge for the tunnel link to the Melbourne airport between Sunshine and Southern Cross stations, enabling a separate, direct and faster country rail line into the city.
As mayor, I fought hard with both political parties for this outcome and I continue to work in this manner today.
Yet some are fighting against this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Take note of what 'the' endorsed local candidates say on this matter.
Remember the faces of the endorsed candidates, remember who they represent.
Remember every decision that their party has made, every mistake in this virus mess that has cost lives and more to come.
We don't need state and federal politics to administer you through local government.
Accountability is key.
Any consideration that October's council elections should be delayed is dangerous.
With both federal and state parliaments barely sitting, we must at least uphold the privilege of democracy at our local level.
We have a past and we have a future: both need to be cared for.
We are the Gatekeepers.
Councillor Samantha McIntosh, City of Ballarat
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