Election 2013: Mark Prebble

Name: Mark Prebble

Ward: St Mary’s

 

    • What, if any, changes would you like to see made to transport provision for the islands? What would you do to influence this if you were elected?

Regarding transport to the mainland I would like to see a year round, scheduled boat service capable of carrying passengers and freight.

If air travel is to continue without being disrupted by the weather then I firmly believe that the council must encourage and support where possible, private enterprise to invest in the infrastructure both on St Mary’s and the mainland.

In regard to public transport on St Mary’s I’d like to see a scheduled bus service that enables pupils, staff, parents and workers of all descriptions to travel safely and easily between home, work and school.

I believe that the greater use of a range of electric vehicles should be encouraged and supported where possible.

    • What are you views on how to tackle the waste issues on the islands? 

The issue of waste on the islands has 2 elements: the past and the future.

The Moorwell facility has, through mismanagement and complacency, developed into a state of illegality and the council is required to address this as a matter of urgency. Funding has been made available to enable this. However the current pile of waste at Moorwell must be disposed of in an acceptable way. In my view the options are to relocate it to an appropriate facility either on Scilly or the mainland. The social, environmental and financial costs of either of these options will be considerable.

The future of waste management on the islands is one that will require a balance between the options that cost money and the ones that raise money. A well managed, properly thought through, integrated approach to our waste is essential. We must adopt the principle of the polluter pays as well as a new attitude towards the production of waste.

Any move towards a zero waste society requires that we make less waste, recycle as much as is possible, compost all our bio wastes and that the left overs are disposed of in a legal and appropriate manner either here on Scilly or on the mainland.

    • Do you believe the Council needs to be more open with the local electorate? How will you personally influence this if you are elected? 

I believe that the Council has a duty to the electorate to not only keep it informed in a timely and transparent manner about decisions taken, but also to listen. It could achieve this by developing a process of engagement that facilitates dialogue in the community.

I will be advocating the right of the public to speak at appropriate Council meetings.

I will work towards the development of a public consultative process that informs Council decision making on a regular basis.

    • The Council is facing a budget ‘black hole’ in the coming years. What are your top priorities for tackling this situation? 

The relationship between expenditure and income is, on the surface, a simple one, however it’s not always about the money. The social, cultural and environmental impacts of ‘cuts’ must always be considered.

Top priorities:

A full and thorough review of income and expenditure that is clearly presented to the public so that they can see where the money is spent and comes from.

To carry out a quantitative and qualitative analysis of management structure and jobs across the Council and its responsibilities to ascertain where savings and income can be maximised. I would suggest that it might be more efficient to not use outside consultants to do this job but wherever possible to use local skills, talent and opinion to contribute to this task.

The promotion of an open, realistic and informed debate in the public forum about the need to make pragmatic and sustainable financial decisions that benefit the future of Scilly’s people.

    • What do you feel is the biggest problem facing the islands? And what will you do, if elected, to try to tackle this issue? 

Two of the biggest problems facing the islands as a place to live and work are a changing climate and rising sea levels. These factors will play a large part, in the near future, in how we adapt to other social and cultural changes that affect us in the short term, such as declining visitor numbers and the rising cost of living here.

Some of these problems may not fall within the remit of the council and therefore the community will need to adapt and find its own solutions. But overall, if elected I will tackle any relevant issue with an open mind, an open heart and a positive can do attitude to doing the best I can for the people of Scilly.

    • How involved should the Council be in funding tourism-related activities like the Tourist Information Centre? 

My thinking on this is still developing as I don’t have enough information to make a firm statement regarding the Council’s responsibilities in this area.  I am committed to supporting public services yet also recognise that the private sector has a vital role to play in the economic future of Scilly.

The issue would appear to highlight again the need for a frank and informed debate in the community about the Council’s statutory responsibilities and duties in relation to balancing the income and expenditure of the Council.

    • What do you feel makes you able to speak on behalf of the local electorate in Scilly as a Councillor? 

I live and work here.

I care about where I live and work.

I am concerned that the Council’s relationship with the public has fallen on hard times and believe that an input of energy and commitment to the responsibilities of being a councillor are needed if Scilly is to grow and develop as a community.

    • If elected, how will you maintain contact with the local electorate? Will you hold regular surgeries or similar events? 

The relationship between a representative and the electorate can only be sustained by a regular, open and accessible process of communication. This has been traditionally fostered by organised/formal meetings and surgery events as well as informal social and street meetings.

I will hold regular scheduled surgeries and be accessible should a member of the St Mary’s community need to contact me. While being a representative for St Mary’s it is important to recognise that there is one council for one community and therefore I will also seek to promote regular contact with off island community members through social networking and visiting where possible.

    • What has been your biggest achievement in life so far? 

This question arouses mixed emotions as the achievements I really care about are the ones that are focused on my children, my partner, and my having gotten this far in life. Emotive, personal and at times intangible, I’m not sharing these in this format but am happy to talk face to face about them.

    • Do you believe the current composition of the Council, with thirteen elected St Mary’s representatives, and two for each of the off-islands, is correct? If not, what changes would you like to see? 

I personally believe that there is currently an unbalanced representation of the Scilly community on the Council and that there needs to be a frank and full consultation with the community over the present structure and options for the future. I advocate the use of a referendum to move any decision forward.

    • Do you believe Mundesley House should continue in its current form? If not, what changes would you like to see made? 

Mundesley House is a Council asset, its costs and benefits will need to be reviewed and considered in the same way that all aspects of the Council will be analysed in the forthcoming spending review that is necessary if the budget is to be balanced.