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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Councillors look back as election nears

The elected members of the Derwent Valley Council at their
final monthly meeting before the 2018 election.
COUNCILLORS reflected on the their various terms in office as the public section of the Derwent Valley Council's valedictory meeting neared its end earlier this month. Having dealt with more than 30 items of business in just over an hour, councillors' attention turned to the looming  election.

Mayor Martyn Evans (elected in 2007) said he would like to thank his colleagues around the table - and some that were no longer around the table. "From me as mayor and spokesperson, I'd like to thank the elected members for what they've done and contributed, to make my life easier," Cr Evans said.

"Each individual councillor has brought uniqueness and different things to this this council: passion, drive, experience in heritage, experience in finance, experience from aged care and worldly experience. When we look at this term over the last four years it's been quite interesting but none of that can be done without our staff.

"So to my fellow councillors and to the staff, thank you very much, it's been a very interesting time. For me it's probably a sad time, it's ... my last council meeting as chair. I've found it a very interesting time over the the 11 years being on council - nine as mayor - to actually be that spokesperson to be able to speak highly of the people and the Derwent Valley as a whole and be an advocate for this place that will go home. I'm so proud to live here, so proud of the people within this this community and the council's staff that work here and give their all for the community.

Cr Evans said he was leaving the chair at a good time. "I see that with the 2030 Strategic Plan there is a roadmap, there is a way forward and whoever sits around this table, I think they should feel special to be elected by the people and actually take carriage of what people are wanting, too." The mayor concluded by wishing the best of luck to everyone contesting the council election.

Deputy mayor Ben Shaw (elected in 2014) was next to speak, congratulating Cr Evans on his nine years as mayor. "It's an extremely difficult job as the mayor, and the face, and the spokesperson of a small council and a small regional community. From my point of view, for the last four years Martin's certainly done a fantastic job in leading this group. On behalf of the Derwent Valley community we all wish him well in his future endeavours."

Cr Shaw then presented Cr Evans with a small gift and a greeting card which Cr Julie Triffett had been taking around the council table while Cr Shaw was speaking. Cr Evans thanked Cr Shaw for his words and invited the two former councillors in the room to also sign the card.

The mayor then invited any other councillors wishing to speak to do so. Cr Graham (elected in 2009) was first, saying that it was remarkable that a boy from the other side of the tracks was able to be elected to sit around the council table and give names to streets. "It's been a pleasure to be part of the history we've been involved with," he said. "I wish everybody well going forward and the baton we're are passing on is in pretty good stead."

Cr Triffitt (elected in 2014) thanked all her colleagues, especially the mayor who she described as a friend and mentor. "I fully intend that to continue," she said. "I'd also like to thank the staff, who are very free with their time when I need something done. I have learned a lot, everybody has taught me something and I've learned a lot on this rollercoaster ride. It's given me the opportunity to meet people that I wouldn't meet normally - Maggie Beer - and to be in the room where big decisions are made."

Cr Anne Salt (elected in 2018) described herself as the new kid on the block and thanked everyone for their support. "This agenda was a monster - I hope I never see another one like it," she said. "We've had bigger," Cr Evans replied. Cr Barry Lathey was next to speak, saying he had first been elected in October 1999. "I've enjoyed my time on council and I'm staggered how quickly it has gone."

Cr Frank Pearce said he had generally enjoyed his four years on council. "I think we have had some really tough decisions to make, and we've made them, not all of them have been the right decisions but we've all tried to make them the right decisions when we can. I think we've had a really good mix around the table, of a whole range of different skills and experience and I think that has helped us."

The council then resolved to move into a closed session after a 15 minute break. The closed meeting spent about two hours dealing with eight items of business. Calling it a night at 10.24pm, the mayor ended proceedings by saying: "Thank you very much councillors. It's been an interesting term."

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission encourages voters to fill out their ballot papers and return them as soon as possible, to make sure their votes are counted. The cutoff is at 10am this Tuesday and any votes still in the mail will not be counted. To make your vote count, drop it in to the council chambers rather than into a postbox. Any elector who has not yet ​received their ballot pack should visit their local council office, or call the Tasmanian Electoral Commission on 1800 801 701 to ask for a replacement pack.

All Derwent Valley councillors are re-contesting their positions, along with 11 other candidates.