Former Frankston Mayor, new Bass Coast Councillor Rochelle Halstead shapes up as a future Mayor of Bass Coast, here enjoying the beach with her aptly named Lab, ‘Invee’, named after the town of Inverloch.

…she’s got them on the list!

ROCHELLE Halstead already looks like a future mayor of the Bass Coast Shire Council.

And she hasn’t even been sworn in yet.

Councillor-elect Hallstead, a resident of San Remo, was named one of the three winners in the Westernport Ward when the poll results were declared on Friday, November 6.

But as a former councillor of the City of Frankston, where she served a term as mayor, she’s already hit the ground running.

“I was fortunate enough to get a quota, so did Bruce Kent,” said a delighted Ms Halstead at the weekend.

The quota of votes needed in the Westernport electorate of the Bass Coast Shire was 2715 and both Ms Halstead (2815) and Cr Kent (3428) achieved the required number of votes without going to a distribution of preferences.

That left Cr Clare Le Serve and Cr Geoff Ellis vying for the final position and after the distribution of Bruce Kent’s excess votes, 370+2072=2442 to Ellis and 342+2485=2827 to Le Serve, it was Cr Le Serve who got across the line by a margin of almost 400 votes.

“I’d like to thank the local residents for their support and thank the other candidates for the courteous way in which they ran their camaigns.

Ms Hallstead already has a long list of issues to be followed up on behalf of Westernport residents, ratepayers and voters.

“The first one will be getting Shetland Heights Road constructed,” Ms Hallstead said.

“It’s an increasingly busy connector road and that will become even more so when the new school is developed on the corner of Shetland Heights Road and Potters Hill Road.

“It’s also used for emergency access when there is any trouble on Phillip Island Road.

“With the new secondary college campus going in there, it’s reasonable to expect that the State Government might be prepared to contribute to the works.”

Ms Halstead said she was also keen to see progress made on getting more services for Grantville.

“It’s not council’s role to build a supermarket at Grantville but we can certainly advocate for it and make sure the planning approvals process is streamlined.

“I’m pleased to say that plans have been submitted at council for a new supermarket and if everything is in order, we should be doing what we can to get it through.

“The community has been screaming out for a new supermarket and other services and hopefully they get what they need this time.

“There’s also the issue of the library. Why they ever decided to close the library I’ll never know. Now we’ve got basically a book exchange operating out of a broom closet but it’s really not good enough.

“I’m interested in seeing what we can do to put a library back into the area.”

Ms Halstead said there were a number of council policies with strategic implications for the Waterline towns but she was determined to see there was a clear vision for the area in the new Council Plan.

“If you want something done, it needs to be in the Council Plan and that’s going to be one of the most important things we do over the weeks and months ahead.”

Ms Halstead is also a committed dog owner, of a beautiful Labrador called, appropriately enough, ‘Invee’, after Inverloch.

“We used to be regulars at the Surfside Caravan Park at Inverloch for years, until we moved down to San Remo.

“Yes definitely, you need places to walk and exercise your dogs but I also understand the need to protect native wildlife and I’m very much a supporter of that myself.

“I’m developing a native garden at home.

“But dogs play an important part in people’s lives and that has been especially so during COVID. We’ve seen that all over Australia. We like to travel around in our caravan, and you see a lot more caravan parks and camping grounds catering to dogs now.

“And as a shire, we’ve got to be doing that was well. People want to be able to walk their loved pet on the beach and in the park and I want to make sure they’ll always be able to do that.”

Ms Halstead and her partner Tony operate a small business, a café at Tooradin, and she’s well aware of the pressures being faced by business, especially the hospitality sector at the moment.

“Small business operators provide thousands of jobs in the region and are responsible for a lot of the vitality in the area. We’ve got to do what we can to encourage and look after them,” she said.

Ms Halstead is a former president of the business association at Tooradin and plans to make contact with local business associations in her ward.

The new councillor-elect attended Friday’s declaration of the polls in Wonthaggi and will be sworn in, with the rest of the council on Monday.

She may not be a candidate for mayor straight up, but watch this space!