CBD flashpoint for Division 7 battle of Antoniolli and McKee

Ipswich City Council elections division 7 candidates Jim McKee and Andrew Antoniolli.
Ipswich City Council elections division 7 candidates Jim McKee and Andrew Antoniolli. David Nielsen

DEVELOPMENT in the CBD is set to be front and centre of the conflict over the next month in the battle for Division 7.

Sitting councillor Andrew Antoniolli has just the one challenger, Ipswich businessman Jim McKee.

Mr McKee has run Gemutlich, a kitchenware shop and deli on the corner of Ellenborough St and Brisbane St, since 2006.

He has been critical of what he calls Ipswich City Council's "top down" approach to its CBD plans and has said he believed in a "bottom up" methodology.

"I think I have been defining, a little bit, my issues by letters to the editor and trying to make clear what the difference is between myself and Andrew Antoniolli," Mr McKee said.

"The main issue for me is putting the people first rather than the development first, so working out what is good for the CBD and good for the suburbs and then working from that.

"I think there has been an emphasis for a long time on development at any cost.

"There was a time for that, but that time is over.

"I am always critical of the CBD, because it is empty.

"The area I am in at the Top of Town, which I have been in since 2003 because I ran a cafe as well, is now growing.

"The difference is that the council hasn't been involved in the Top of Town, where all the small lots and unique shops still are.

"What we have in the CBD is a blank canvas and I think we have a tremendous opportunity to make the CBD great."

Cr Antoniolli will enter his fifth election since coming on board council in 2000.

He backs the council's $ 150 million redevelopment plan for the CBD which was unveiled earlier this month.

Cr Antoniolli disagreed with Mr McKee about the way development was unfolding in Ipswich and said the community was on board. Cr Andrew Antoniolli

"Everybody recognises that we have a plan, we are working to the plan and it was a plan generated in consultation with the community with the city centre strategy," Cr Antoniolli said.

"That was a plan for 20- plus years."

He said the issues with the CBD could not be resolved by waving a magic wand.

"It is like turning around the Queen Mary," he said. "It doesn't happen overnight. "This is not about development at all costs. "It is about getting it right. "All the steps we have put in place, not just for the CBD but the broader Ipswich community, are about creating a civic space everybody can be proud of but also a sustainable and liveable city."

Cr Antoniolli said he had been door knocking the division, particularly the newer areas, and was heartened by the feedback.

"I'm getting an understanding of what the concerns are and I have been very well received," he said.

"All in all, most people are fairly content."

Who will get your vote in the Ipswich City Council election for Division 7?

This poll ended on 19 March 2016.

Current Results

Andrew Antoniolli

63%

Jim McKee

36%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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