Conargo Coun­cil

For­mer Deni coun­cil­lors shunned in Ed­ward River elec­tion

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ZOE MC­MAUGH

Res­i­dents and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the for­mer Conargo Shire will dom­i­nate the first Ed­ward River Coun­cil.

The elec­tion re­sult was of­fi­cially de­clared yes­ter­day morn­ing, with five for­mer Conargo Shire coun­cil­lors — Norm Bren­nan, Mac Wal­lace, Peter McCrabb, Norm McAl­lis­ter and Nick Met­calfe — given the nod by vot­ers.

One of two new­com­ers to coun­cil, Marg Bull, is also a long-term res­i­dent of the for­mer shire.

Only two for­mer De­niliquin Coun­cil coun­cil­lors — Ash­ley Hall and Pat Fog­a­rty — were elected. The other new­comer to coun­cil is Peta Betts.

Cr Bren­nan, who is ex­pected to be the coun­cil’s in­au­gu­ral mayor, was the first to be of­fi­cially elected af­ter gain­ing more than 20 per cent of votes. The im­me­di­ate past Conargo Shire mayor said the re­sults show the com­mu­nity wanted change, but also ex­pe­ri­ence.

He also said he ex­pected the strong Conargo pres­ence would not in­flu­ence de­ci­sion mak­ing, adding that each of the for­mer Conargo Shire coun­cil­lors also has strong con­nec­tions to De­niliquin.

‘‘I think the re­sult shows the com­mu­nity was ready for a change and I think it high­lights that peo­ple have seen what was done in the old Conargo Shire, and per­haps what was not done in De­niliquin,’’ Cr Bren­nan said.

‘‘It is worth not­ing, how­ever, that many of those for­mer Conargo Shire coun­cil­lors elected have lived pre­dom­i­nantly in the De­niliquin town­ship for some time.

‘‘What we have in re­al­ity is a good bal­ance of ur­ban and ru­ral knowl­edge on our coun­cil, which re­flects what the com­mu­nity wants.

‘‘That good bal­ance in­cludes hav­ing three women on the coun­cil as well as a cou­ple of new bloods and a mix of young and old.

‘‘I think it is a good team with a di­verse range of knowl­edge and opin­ions.

‘‘We now have a good man­age­ment struc­ture in place (for Ed­ward River Coun­cil) and we have a good range of coun­cil­lors who can aid and abet that struc­ture.

‘‘This coun­cil can go for­ward and de­liver qual­ity ser­vices to the com­mu­nity.’’

Cr Bren­nan and for­mer De­niliquin coun­cil­lor Pat Fog­a­rty were the only two can­di­dates to be elected on first pref­er­ence votes.

Cr Bren­nan com­fort­ably ex­ceeded the 509 vote quota with 1028 first pref­er­ence votes, while Cr Fog­a­rty, who is ex­pected to serve as deputy mayor, polled 514 pri­maries.

Fol­low­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of pref­er­ences, im­me­di­ate past De­niliquin Coun­cil mayor Ash­ley Hall was the next to be elected, fol­lowed by Mac Wal­lace, Norm McAl­lis­ter, Marg Bull, Peter McCrabb, Peta Betts and Nick Met­calfe.

Cr Bren­nan said with the elec­tion now com­pleted, it is time to get down to the real busi­ness of run­ning the coun­cil.

But he warned the merger tran­si­tion would still take some time to fi­nalise.

‘‘It won’t hap­pen in a day or even a month, it will take years of con­cen­trated ef­fort,’’ he said.

‘‘Us­ing the for­mer Conargo Shire and Win­douran merger as an ex­am­ple, it took three years for two very like-minded coun­cils to get on top of ev­ery­thing — his­tory is a great teacher.’’

Cr Hall, who served as the gov­ern­ment ap­pointed Ed­ward River Coun­cil ad­mi­nis- tra­tor since the merger in May 2016, agreed the hard part was not yet over.

‘‘We do have some strong ru­ral rep­re­sen­ta­tion and I think there will be a steep learn­ing curve for them in know­ing how to sup­port the town as well as the ru­ral,’’ Mr Hall said.

‘‘They need to adapt to the chal­lenge of the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, but I am con­fi­dent they can do that.

‘‘It was not easy be­ing un­der ad­min­is­tra­tions, but now we have a new elected coun­cil we have to con­tinue to move for­ward.

‘‘The merger is in the past and de-merg­ers are off the ta­ble, and we need to work 100 per cent to­gether to see the pos­i­tive frame­work con­structed in the last 16 months move for­ward.’’

Ed­ward River Coun­cil will hold its first of­fi­cial coun­cil meet­ing on Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 21. It will be held in the cham­bers at the coun­cil cus­tomer ser­vice of­fice in Cressy St, De­niliquin from 5pm, and is open to the pub­lic.

The meet­ing will be­gin with the in­ter­nal elec­tion of the mayor, and then deputy mayor.

Mar­garet Bull

Norm Bren­nan

Pat Fog­a­rty

Ash­ley Hall

Norm McAl­lis­ter

Mac Wal­lace

Peter McCrabb

Peta Betts

Nick Met­calfe

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