Six ‘new’ council candidates are set to challenge former councillors for a seat on Edward River Council.
At the close of nominations on Wednesday afternoon there were 17 registered candidates for the highly anticipated September 9 election.
Edward River’s NSW Electoral Commission appointed returning officer Stacey Almond conducted the ballot draw on Wednesday night, with eight potential councillors in attendance.
The candidates, in ballot order, are: Peter Connell, Margaret Bull, Mac Wallace, Andrew Howley, Jeff Shand, Nick Metcalfe, Peta Betts, Ashley Hall, Pat Fogarty, Peter McCrabb, Sue Taylor, Airlie Circuitt, Peter Robinson, Norm McAllister, Rob Sobolewski, James Sides and Norm Brennan.
The number of candidates would have been 18, but former Conargo Shire councillor Bernard Clancy withdrew his nomination at the last minute.
Calling it ‘‘one of the strongest lists of candidates’’ he has seen, Mr Clancy said the capability of all nominees to take the council forward gave him the confidence to retire from local government after a long career.
Former Deniliquin mayor Lindsay Renwick also refrained from nominating for the same reason.
Mr Renwick said it was also one of the largest lists of candidates for a local election he had seen, which was an indication of a positive future for the region.
‘‘The number of people who nominated certainly made me feel more comfortable about my decision to stand back,’’ Mr Renwick said.
‘‘I think it shows our amalgamation (of Deniliquin Council and Conargo Shire) was positive and that people are interested in building a bigger and better council.
‘‘We need the best people in there to steer it the right way.’’
While admitting he was not familiar with all candidates, Mr Renwick said the mix of personalities and expertise of the people on the ballot was encouraging.
‘‘Between the former Conargo group and the former Deni group, and with a couple of new candidates, this community should be able to form a very strong council,’’ Mr Renwick said.
‘‘It’s good to see Ashley Hall put his hand up and try and continue what he started in his administrator role with Edward River Council.
‘‘I did originally have reservations about the New South Wales Government appointing someone local as the administrator, but I now think it was a good decision.
‘‘Overall, I think we have enough fresh faces on the candidate list if the community feels like it wants a change.’’
Edward River Council was formed in May last year, merging the former Deniliquin and Conargo Shire councils under the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future reforms.
Anyone elected to council will have the opportunity to finalise the merger process, and help expend a record level of infrastructure funding through the associated Stronger Communities and major projects programs funded by the government as part of the merger.
Elected councillors will serve a three year term.