Nick Haines : Independent candidate for Lake Ward

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My name is Nick Haines, and I am St Kilda local of some twenty years. I live here with my wife Michelle and our two poodles. I’m a proud househusband who promotes local live music as well as managing a band in my spare time. I have worked in retail, the entertainment industry, health and rehabilitation, and have been a volunteer in radio and local community groups.

I moved to St Kilda from my hometown of Adelaide in 1995 and instantly fell in love with the place. In that time I have seen the place I love go from a vibrant, diverse and busy place to something akin to a retirement village. And this worries me greatly. So rather than spend another four years on the sideline whinging and moaning, I’m throwing my hat into the ring for the upcoming council elections and I’ve decided to run as a non-aligned independent.

I’m very concerned to be living in a City where one irrational complaint can close a bookshop. And, where one petty complaint can force a long time music venue, on an established entertainment strip, to stop playing live music at 11pm. This place is for everyone, not just a few select wowsers.

St Kilda and the City of Port Phillip have always been about diversity and balance. That diversity and balance has faded in the last decade and I want to help redress that, and work with a team of Ward Councillors who know and understand how to make this happen.

My number one passion in life is live music, original music, and I want to encourage the same back to the area through a series of initiatives. Live music encourages visitors to the area and employs locals, as well as giving locals entertainment in their own suburb. Council needs to work with live venues, not against them.

I also will be looking to establish a permanent collection of alternative music in the area to mark, celebrate and share our musical talent.  An “alternative rock and roll collection” if you like, that can be situated around the City, or go on tour, and added to apps and devices for residents and visitors, to showcase the many non-commercial musical acts that have added so much to the musical landscape of Melbourne and Australia. I’m a great believer in embracing the suburbs proud musical heritage. I was the person who led the campaign to have a local laneway named in honour of one the suburbs most famous musicians Rowland S. Howard.

Speaking of diversity, St Kilda is home to the longest continuous running gay bar in Australia with the bar at the Prince of Wales. It has been a safe and welcoming haven for transgender pioneers and everyone who followed in their path, people who have been a part of our social fabric since last century. It is also home to the annual Pride March, which is something I believe should remain forever in St Kilda. The State Minister for Equality, Martin Foley MP, is our local State Government member. So for me it is the natural home of the soon-to-be established Pride Centre. I will work hard with the community to give Port Phillip the best possible chance to make this happen.

I am also concerned for businesses in the area and believe that our Council needs to work with and listen to our local businesses to get better outcomes for all of us. Our City is made up of many small businesses and local people, people who are a part of the community that we love, and contribute to our day to day lives – not soulless corporate giants with no interest or love for the area. One small way to help our local businesses is to consider a local council by-law where business owners, not just their landlords, get a vote in future council elections.

In regards to development in the area I am not anti-development but I am definitely anti “over-development”. With huge population growth predicted for the entire City of Port Phillip, I believe the council needs to remain vigilant in regards to height and sizes of new developments, and ensure that planning for the future includes serious consideration of how we want to live. It’s the Bay, not the Gold Coast after all.

So remember, on October 22nd; please consider a vote for that bloke who has the two poodles.

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