Shadow council forming
Watch group members to battle for control of city hall
MEMBERS of the Townsville City Council Watch Group are set to mount a charge for control over city hall in the lead up to the next election.
Group s pokesman Paul Jacob yesterday confirmed as many as four members had announced their intentions to form a shadow council, in a move tipped to be the first of its kind in the region.
The group formed shortly after a successful grassroots campaign to overturn the council’s controversial water pricing system.
Mr Jacob said the support from local ratepayers had been overwhelming.
‘‘ We have been getting a very large number of people approaching us and asking if we are going to be running for council,’’ he said.
‘‘ That was always something we didn’t acknowledge in the past but the time has come to provide a real option for the people of Townsville.
‘‘All we have here is t eam Tyrell because t he Australian Labor Party haven’t put their hand up at this stage so we are eager to give another option and an alternate idea for local ratepayers.’’
The group is set to pass a landmark constitution on Thursday to pave the way for the candidates to run in the election in March next year.
The constitution will also include a series of policies including a push to place a moratorium on non-essential capital works in Townsville.
The push comes days after claims residents could face a $ 100 rate rise if the council was to contribute its share towards Townsville’s proposed new entertainment and convention centre.
Mr Jacob said the need for a community voice was con- tinuing to rise.
‘ ‘ There are a l ot more issues getting around now than the problem with the water pricing system, so something like this has been long overdue,’’ he said.
‘‘ The moratorium is all about seeing what infrastructure projects can be postponed to free up some money to help ease the burden on local ratepayers. We want to try and provide a way to ease that pressure on rates while keeping the council moving forward.’’
Mayor Les Tyrell was unfazed by the news.
‘‘ All members of the community are entitled to run for council and all candidates are judged on their merits,’’ he said.
The group is comprised of members from across the city including people in Alligator Creek, Oak Valley, Bushland Beach, Kirwan and Cranbrook.
Mr Jacob said the candidates were set to be announced following the group meeting on Thursday.