No. 1 – Merrill Halkerston Witt
Merrill is a founding member of the Vaucluse West Residents’ Association and has worked closely with the residents’ associations of Rose Bay, Double Bay and Darling Point to fight overdevelopment and lobby for better protections for local character, green space and heritage. Merrill is also on the Leadership Group of the Better Planning Network, an umbrella organisation for community groups across NSW that advocates for genuine community consultation and better planning outcomes. She campaigns for Save Sydney’s Koalas, a group dedicated to saving Campbelltown’s 500+ koala population – the last healthy and expanding koala population in NSW.
Merrill is not beholden to any particular political party and genuinely believes she can make a difference by listening to residents’ concerns and helping them find solutions. Over the past few years, she has really enjoyed working with the Independent Residents First Councillors on a range of initiatives including increasing the minimum lot size for dual occupancy attached developments to protect views, green space, tree canopy and local neighbourhood character; the establishment of an advisory committee to provide Council with strategic advice on heritage-related issues; and the identification of suitable sites that can be purchased for community purposes.
If elected, Merrill will advocate for the Local Housing Strategy to be revised to acknowledge that Woollahra Council’s has already exceeded its 2016 -2026 net additional dwelling target and to identify how the pressures of absorbing 889 additional dwellings in just over five years will be adequately addressed before Council considers any uplift in the development capacity of Edgecliff.