Belconnen Community Council Committee

L-R: Brian Rhynehart, Graeme Evans, Mark Monteagle (Treasurer), Tara Cheyne (Chair), Christine Gingell (Secretary), Timothy Bogie, Charles Thomas and Paul Jackson

Meet the Belconnen Community Council Committee (elected November 2014):

Tara Cheyne - Chair

I am a proud and enthusiastic Belconnen resident. I'm a public servant, and an experienced and consultative leader of teams. I have Bachelors of Journalism and Arts from the University of Queensland, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Canberra. I chose to live in Belconnen for its rich amenity and vibe.

As Deputy Chair of the Committee in 2014, I drafted numerous submissions, increased our engagement through social media, and driven our survey on the Town Centre Master Plan, which gained significant public and media attention. I am also the BCC's delegate on the Belcnnen Arts Centre Board.

2015 is a year of big change in Belconnen. I hope to promote and build even deeper pride in our fantastic region, and increase our consultation and engagement to help realise a vision for Belconnen.

Matt Watts - Deputy Chair

I have lived and worked in Belconnen since 2003.  I commenced with the Australian Public Service over 15 years ago.  I have been involved in a number of community groups, including the Belconnen Community Council (BCC) since 2008, when I first publicly called for the revision of the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan (and I’m very pleased this is finally happening).  I established the BCC Small Business Subcommittee in 2014.

My objectives for 2015 are to provide greater support to small businesses and residents’ associations throughout the region; ensure the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan reflects community ideals and future-proofs the town centre and surrounding suburbs; learn to drive a car; and continue the increased professionalism of the BCC, noting its unofficial and volunteer capacity is nonetheless supporting the development of our community.

Chris Gingell - Secretary

I have been a resident of Weetangera for over 34 years. I have three adult children, two of whom reside in their own homes in Belconnen.  Most of my working life in Canberra was with the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Belconnen in various statistical and IT roles.  I resigned from the Commonwealth Public Service in 2007 and undertook legal studies at the University of Canberra and ANU.  I have been a member of the BCC committee for over two years.  For the latter half of 2014 I was Acting Treasurer and commenced in the role of Secretary following the 2014 AGM.

My particular interest is in ACT Planning but I aim to keep myself well-informed on all matters that affect the quality of life of Canberra residents, and Belconnen residents in particular.  I am happy to be contacted by anyone in the community with questions or concerns that they would like brought to the attention of Council.

Mark Monteagle - Treasurer

I have lived in Belconnen for a number of years now and am looking to help build on the good work that has already been achieved within the Belconnen Community Council. I am an optimist who likes to believe in the best in people, and I also believe in mutually beneficial, consensus based outcomes.

After many years of travelling the far reaches of Australia for work, I have been exposed to many remote and vibrant townships and have discovered that the key to great communities  is community organisations like the BCC. I see great opportunity and prospects within the BCC and am excited by the prospect of helping to unlock this potential. I look forward to working with the Committee and the members of the public to deliver this vision.

My interests include community development, social inclusion and participation, and  issues of culture.

Charles Thomas - Committee Member

Thanks to the CSS I am a retired public servant with an economics background.  Being secretary of the local Lutheran Church takes up much of my time.  I’m involved in community service (not necessarily associated with the church).   My interests are: wine (I belong to a wine-tasting group); chocolate; model railways and the real thing; hiking especially in dense forest; the natural environment – fauna and flora; especially frogs and lizards (the extended family started Sydney, Melbourne and Perth zoos); art; architecture; history; and travel.  I do not have much time to watch TV but try to watch the news, Doctor Who and Catalyst.

Paul Jackson - Committee Member

I hail from Canada's national capital, the Canberra of the north (Ottawa) and have been a resident of Belconnen (in Bruce) for about 5 years. Before that, I lived for 3 years in the suburb of Griffith (yes,yes, a south-sider!) and I lived in Paris for 4 years before that. I've just celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with Jillian (another Canuck) and have two grown-up children, Andrew and Elizabeth. I work part time in Braddon for a government agency,  which helps pay the bills.  A lot of evenings and weekends are taken up with activities related to treading the boards (amateur  dramatics). My main interest as far as engagement with the BCC is improving quality of life for all citizens by encouraging exposure to visual and performing arts as well as promoting policies and practices which facilitate safer, more beautiful,  and pedestrian-friendly spaces in our community. Supporting the #buylocal and the "8 to 80 cities" movements is a big part of that. I can be found on Twitter at @canberracanuck

Damien Haas - Committee Member

A small group of inspired people can achieve many things when they work toward a common goal.  As a qualified workplace mediator, and a former public service executive I am able to offer my experience to the BCC Committee. Being a small business owner, I understand the pressures that business and employers face, and how development in Belconnen affects all sectors of the community.

A long term Belconnen resident, I have been elected to Deputy Chair, Secretary and Committee positions several times. The skills that I have are useful to the BCC Committee and how it represents the various concerns of the community to Government and the ACT bureaucracy.

I welcome the opportunity to serve as a Committee member in 2014/15, and look forward to speaking with the community. As a community we face major issues such as the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan, and development in Molonglo and West Belconnen and the impact on existing service delivery in Belconnen.

Graeme Evans - Committee Member

I have been involved with Belconnen for more than two decades and, through Belconnen Community Council, have been active in such achievements as the swimming complex (CISAC), the Belconnen Arts Centre and the preserving of significant areas of precious lakeshore.

Major challenges now confront us in the character of the town centre, the role of group centres and the preservation of the residential areas.

I pledge to work with my colleagues in ensuring that Belconnen rises to these challenges.

Timothy Bogie - Committee Member

As a local citizen, I want to safeguard the overall environment from uncontrolled land development and protect community areas so that the amenity of Belconnen is preserved. I recognise that the residential growth into Belconnen to work and live means that areas like the town centre cannot be a village of quarter acre blocks. I advocate for development that is in harmony with the community in consultation with the community.

I was an active member of the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW advocating for public education. I held various roles in the P&C over five years including Secretary of the school association that my son attends, Convenor of the Illawarra South Coast Regional Council and State Councillor. I have contributed to policy direction and submissions to government enquiries.

Karl Maftoum - Committee Member

Sarah Toaldo - Committee Member

Brian Rhynehart - Committee Member and Public Officer

Born and raised in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, my employment background had been technically oriented; as a linesman with the Post Master Generals Department (in Sydney & Canberra) then as a Technical Officer with the Department of Housing and Construction, concerned with the construction of the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre, then as a Senior Technical Officer responsible for the operation of the Treatment Plant and for a period with “Trade Waste” investigations.

In early retirement, due to familiarity with construction, I became involved with the West Belconnen LAPAC before finding BCC. I am a long-serving member of the committee having served a stint as vice President. 

I have an extensive interest in genealogy, and am also involved in the Ginninderra Falls Association, Neighbourhood Watch, the Canberra and District Historical Society and the National Trust.  I am passionate about Belconnen and its heritage.  I was active in establishing the Ginninderra Falls Association and was involved, with others, in having the old Belconnen farm, with its 1850s stone cottage, heritage-listed a few years ago.

I am prepared to put effort into the many small, local community problems and issues that require time and effort, as well as the "major" issues; "smoke screens" that seem to dominate at the expense of the smaller matters. 

Over the years, I have been hands-on in practical ways such as assisting with provision or erection of equipment at council meetings and community activities, assessing the impact of development applications, attending a plethora of meetings, visiting schools, shops and other organisations.

I look forward to continuing my involvement in the community.




To contact the Belconnen Community Council Committee, please use the feedback form.