Shadow coun­cil form­ing

Watch group mem­bers to battle for con­trol of city hall

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

Ja­cob

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