July 29 - August 4, 2012: Issue 69      

Mayor Harvey Rose Not Standing in 2012 Council Elections

Earlier this week Harvey Rose announced he will not be standing for re-election at the Council elections on the 8th of September. Mayor Rose received the biggest vote in Pittwater in the 2008 elections and has been Mayor for the last three years. 

Mayor Rose said "There are a number of things I want to complete while still young enough. Most importantly I want to write ‘The History of Pittwater Council – the first twenty years’.”

Mayor Rose added “I also want to spend more time in voluntary work and with my family.” Harvey and Wilga have three sons, a daughter and four grandchildren. 

An Avalon resident since 1971 this gent has Pittwater in his blood. Tireless in his efforts to keep essential services intact, to keep Currawong a place for all, Cr. Rose by his actions and words has proven that unity,  perseverance and concerted efforts not only keep community they also instil it and communicate it for those who will own tomorrow, our children. We spoke to Cr. Harvey Rose, Mayor of Pittwater, regarding his announcement, his hopes for the future Council and his own plans.

You mention in your Press Release that you will be writing a history book on Pittwater Council; have you begun this yet?

No, not as yet. I still have two months to go as Mayor and have been working hard and shall continue to work hard to try and get the best for our community during that time. It’s a project that I have in mind after leaving the Council; it’s something that I believe needs doing and something I have the background to do (Cr. Rose has a Masters Degree from Sydney University in History).

I will need something substantial to do; it’s something I want to do and something that is useful. The Book of Pittwater poetry which is being launched on August 16th will be good, a marvelous thing. Lorrie Morgan (PCA, Pittwtaer Community Arts) is doing a tremendous job.

You have stated that two of the achievements you’re most happy with are Saving Mona Vale Hospital and the Maternity Ward and saving Currawong. Could you share an insight from each of those that epitomises the best moment of those challenges?

These things aren’t won easily. They’re the result of long fought campaigns. The whole of my strategy and attitude since I became a Councillor and then Mayor is that people have to work together to get the best for the Pittwater Community. It is essential for this to keep and have the kind of community that the vast majority of the people in Pittwater want.

In these two campaigns it’s the Council working with community. Take the case of Currawong, the Friends of Currawong, I was a member on the executive committee before I went on Council. This was Council working with a great community group (Friends of Currawong) and our local members, and I can’t stress this too strongly, particularly in this case Rob Stokes, to pull together the different levels to get a result. That’s what happened; the community group worked at its level, Council worked at its level, Rob worked at his level. These things don’t happen without a lot of organised effort. In talking about being outside Parliament House, yes, that was largely a Council initiative that we put together with the community. That was an important event along the way, but all these things are one, a coordinated cooperative effort. 

It was just great to win Currawong. I was Chair of the Pittwater Residents against Inappropriate Development, again before I went on Council; to think that Currawong, a place where all the people, no matter how well off or not well off could go and have a good holiday with the family, would be taken away and turned into an exclusive sub-division for the mega rich, I found that abhorrent. I know that most people in our Pittwater community found that very wrong. It took a long long time. The Friends of Currawong, a community group, that Shane Withington led, fought long and hard and Council fought long and hard. Certainly our local members were part of that. Rob Stokes did all he could. It was a big one to win.

Mayor Rose and Shane Withington, Currawong Day 

When we found out that it was to be bought, that it was to be kept in public ownership for the people, and not be taken away for the few, yes it was one of those apocryphal moments, something you always remember. 

It was exactly the same with the hospital; I was Chair of the Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee before I went on the Council, and I still believe that if it hadn’t been for the efforts of that committee and Council and our local Members working together, that hospital would not be there. The aims were to keep the hospital, to make sure the land was kept for the community, to be used for health services.

When they took Maternity, again, I got a committee together and that committee was made up of Rob Stokes, Bronwyn Bishop, Eileen Gordon, head of the MVH Auxiliary and Eunice Raymond, who took over from me as Chair, and we ran a very good campaign which resulted in getting Maternity back.

Mona Vale Hospital 

You were a teacher of Year 12 English for decades; do you think that helped you with being Mayor?

Absolutely. I used to use the expression when I spoke of teaching sometimes, that ‘teaching is the most noble profession of all’. I do believe that and always have believed that. I believe there is no more important job in our community then teaching. Teachers take our young and not only give them skills, they also give them attitudes towards life, attitudes that are positive and constructive. Essentially teachers, for the majority of a young person’s life, shape this.

Is this where your commitment to developing more for our youth in the community stems from?

Absolutely. One realises there are stages where kids can go off the rails, most kids are good kids, it’s rare for one to end up in real trouble, but they can fall off. The major task is to keep them within community so they don’t fall off and are lost; it’s getting them old enough, until they can think for themselves. The more facilities we have and getting them involved in positive things along the way, is very important.

The other thing is the arts, I think Pittwater Community Arts is doing a great job, working with Council, and I think we’ve got a strong background in the arts in Pittwater and I do think that always has to be maintained.

On the future…

I was going to stand again, we had been down last Sunday and I registered, then came home and sat down and had a think about this; it has been a great period and I must stress that this is what it has been about; this Council has been constructive and positive. And if you’re to get anywhere in these things you have to be constructive and you have to be positive. You have to work in a constructive positive way among each other as a Council. If you don’t do that and get caught up in politics and conflict, you’re not producing for your community. 

Our Council has been very very good like that; positive and constructive. It’s the same with Council staff; you have to be positive and constructive. There will be times where there will be differences. You have to go behind closed doors and sort it out and come out with the best position you can and get on with it, otherwise, again, the negativity will detract from achievement. It’s the same at all levels. You all have to work together in the interest of the community. I’ve worked very closely with Rob in particular but with Bronwyn also and it’s very very important that party politics have nothing to do with Council. Once you get party politics involved you get a whole plethora of things that have got nothing to do with the community; it’s other things and other issues out there and they divide. 

Sophie and Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater, with Cr. Harvey Rose and Cr.  Patricia Giles, Past and Present Mayors of Pittwater 

What it has to be about is working together for your community and where there are differences they have to be worked through, ironed out, best compromise. That’s what it’s all about and I desperately hope the new Council will have that kind of attitude. I don’t know what the composition of the new Council will be, I just hope it’s a good one.

Wilga and I were sitting down and discussing things and decided this Council has been good, they’ve achieved a lot, and we discussed the future and there were things that I wanted to do, and we all know politicians can go on for too long. We decided that now was the time to go and do other positive things rather then go through another campaign and then not know, in the new Council, where things are. We have established a legacy, we pass that legacy on and anywhere I can I will help in a positive and constructive way. I just hope that this positive constructive attitude is maintained through the Council.

Wilga and Harvey Rose 

What are you going to do in a few months time?

I’m looking forward to writing something substantial. I want to get into more volunteering, for St Vincent DePaul particularly, they do a lot of good and there a lot of people doing it hard in our community. The man, Paul, who runs that locally, was saying the numbers (helpers) were a bit down. We have four grandkids and my wife is writing another book of poetry. So it’s all onward.

Mayor Rose said he would not rule out standing at future Council elections if he felt there was a need.

Avalon Tattoo 2011 with Supt. Doreen Cruikshank 

Report by A J Guesdon. Photos by Michael Mannington and A J Guesdon.