EDITORIAL: Long road through elections finally ends

The votes have been counted and finally the results of the local government election are in. 

We now have a new batch of nine councillors on the Bega Valley Shire Council, including a mix of new and old faces. 

Only time will tell what this combination – featuring a majority of women – will bring to decision making in the shire. 

First-time councillors Jo Dodds and The Greens’ Cathy Griff stood for greater consultation with the community.

This was a strong issue for many voters in the election after a perceived lack of consultation from the last group of councillors over such decisions as the attempted relocation of the Bega Clock Tower and the felling of trees in Littleton Gardens.

This perceived lack of consultation could have been what drove a large number of candidates to stand for election this year – 26 compared to the 16 in the last election. 

Councillors Tony Allen and Robyn Bain have stated they would push for a more conservative financial approach to council’s affairs while Kristy McBain and Mitchell Nadin will bring younger voices to decision making. 

Going back to the election campaign itself, you would not be alone if you felt you had a case of “voter fatigue”. 

The local government election came straight after the federal election, with many finding it tiring to engage in the politics of the two campaigns when they were held so closely together. 

Throughout the most recent campaign, the Bega District News heard many shire residents say they did not even know the election was on or thought they did not need to vote unless they were a ratepayer. 

There were some surprising moments from the election, such as during the BDN’s candidate forum in Merimbula on August 31 when only seven of the candidates stated their position on adding fluoride to all the shire’s water supplies – of the newly-elected members, Mr Nadin was anti-fluoride while Ms Bain supported it. 

The excuse was council had not yet had a presentation on the benefits of fluoride, despite there being plenty of information on the subject available on the internet for the candidates to research if they so chose. 

Then there was the nail-biting nine-day wait from voting until the results were released. But now it is finally finished.

Welcome, new councillors. We look forward to seeing what you bring to this wonderful community. 

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