From the Newsroom

Council candidates encouraged to consult the community

Emma Pritchard

With less than two months before the NSW Local Government Elections, the Clarence Valley community have until December 4 to determine who gets their vote, and most importantly, why.

A number of the 2021 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) candidates are first time nominees.

Some are experienced business professionals who are experienced in effectively communicating and interacting with the public, while others are residents eagerly anticipating the opportunity to represent their community.

While topics including tourism, sustainability, environmental protection, business growth and development have become focal points of conversations among local residents who are keen to put pen to paper in seven weeks, astute business owner and Secretary of the South Grafton Progress Association Robert Cook said it is vital the candidates listen intently to what the community is imploring, and the additional time in the lead up to the new election date represents the perfect opportunity for them to do so.

As a passionate business advocate with close to 40 years of industry experience, Mr Cook, who owns the Liberty Ryan Street Food and Fuel Service Centre in South Grafton along with the Grafton Car Wash Centre, said following the election, the council need to start making things happen, and for results to be delivered within a consolidated timeframe, especially regarding business growth and development applications.

“I’ve been in business in Grafton for 35 years,” he said.

“Getting things done from the council, particularly DA’s, is a terrible process and they always seem to find some reason to hold jobs up, and it shouldn’t be that way.

“We need to emphasize progress.

“Council needs to step back, look at their procedures and build better strategies for positive growth in our community.

“There is not a lot of transparency, and that needs to change.”

Mr Cook has previously met with a couple of the 2021 CVC candidates and has engaged them in “robust conversations and open discussions” about council progress moving forward.

He said the extra-long run-up to the election, originally scheduled to take place on September 4, presents the candidates with a unique opportunity to further their campaign platforms and engage with local business owners and residents who will determine their success. 

“Ask them how their business in going, how their staff are going, get real feedback from them,” he said encouragingly.

As the local region continues to grow, Mr Cook said council also needs to fast-track a plan for the future to encourage and attract more business opportunities to the area and spread tourism throughout the whole Clarence Valley.

“We live in a beautiful area,” he said proudly.

“We can always do better to promote it.

“Council need to work with community groups in small community areas and involve community leaders to help get jobs done.

“That’s what we need from the council.”