Belcher’s poll back­flip

For­mer coun­cil­lor in may­oral race

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - DAMIAN BESTER

TWO months af­ter re­sign­ing as a coun­cil­lor and bow­ing out of the may­oral race, New Nor­folk’s Paul Belcher has an­nounced he will stand for re­elec­tion at next month’s Der­went Val­ley Coun­cil elec­tion and hopes to be elected mayor.

Elected to the coun­cil in Oc­to­ber 2014, Mr Belcher re­signed in July due to his con­cerns that a new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity could present a con­flict of in­ter­est with his coun­cil role. He had spent the pre­vi­ous eight months cam­paign­ing to be elected mayor.

“I re­cently re­signed as an elected mem­ber of the Der­went Val­ley Coun­cil due to an em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity in a de­vel­op­ment bring­ing new in­vest­ment to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” Mr Belcher said in a state­ment this week.

“This was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion fol­low­ing nearly four years as a coun­cil­lor, and af­ter months of cam­paign­ing for elec­tion as mayor. I felt that this new job would present a con­flict of in­ter­est with my role on coun­cil but it now ap­pears that will not be the case.”

Mr Belcher said he had been re­con­sid­er­ing his po­si­tion af­ter re­ceiv­ing many re­quests to re-en­ter the may­oral con­test.

“Hav­ing greatly missed work­ing for the ratepay­ers and res­i­dents of the Der­went Val­ley in the last few months, I have de­cided that I will renom­i­nate for elec­tion as a coun­cil­lor and mayor,” he said.

“Sit­ting on the out­side look­ing in over the last two months, I have also no­ticed that many of the in­tend­ing can­di­dates for next month’s elec­tion are not con­cen­trat­ing on the 3Rs — the is­sues of roads, rates and rub­bish that are of concern to us all,” he said.

Nom­i­na­tions for can­di­dates in next month’s elec­tion opened on Mon­day and will close at noon on Septem­ber 25. The names of all can­di­dates are ex­pected to be an­nounced the next day.

Any­one who is un­sure of their el­i­gi­bil­ity to vote in the elec­tion has un­til tomorrow to check with the Tas­ma­nian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion.

Mr Belcher’s re­turn to the cam­paign brings to four the num­ber of peo­ple known to be in­tend­ing to nom­i­nate for the po­si­tion of mayor. The oth­ers are sit­ting coun­cil­lors Julie Trif­fett and Ben Shaw, and for­mer coun­cil­lor Chris Lester.

Mayor Mar­tyn Evans said he would nom­i­nate for the po­si­tion of deputy mayor, along with Rachel Power, Wayne Shoo­bridge and Cr Frank Pearce.

Mr Belcher said he felt most can­di­dates were not fo­cus­ing on the is­sues of most concern to the ratepay­ers and res­i­dents of the Der­went Val­ley, which he said were roads, rates and rub­bish.

“Rub­bish is a big is­sue, with mul­ti­ple re­ports of il­le­gal dump­ing through­out the mu­nic­i­pal­ity each month since the tip fees were in­creased in the most re­cent coun­cil bud­get,” he said.

HE’S BACK: Paul Belcher

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