THE new mayor of the City of Greater Bendigo was sworn in at a special council meeting on Monday night.
Cr Barry Lyons, who has served as a councillor for five years, was officially robed and welcomed to the role by his councillor colleagues and a packed public gallery at the Bendigo Town Hall.
After the robing ceremony Cr Lyons said as someone from “the Flat” he was “somewhere between humbled and honoured” to become mayor of a city the size of Greater Bendigo.
“Greater Bendigo is already a great place to live and work and we should aspire to be the best regional city in Australia,” he said.
“And I think we are well on the way.
“If council works together in a cohesive way, and we make the right decisions for our community, then Greater Bendigo will thrive”.
Cr Lyons said the city’s biggest challenge was growth.
“It’s a good challenge, and it’s one that requires a lot of planning in advance."
Cr Lyons said it was also important to continue investment in infrastructure, roads and drains.
He thanked outgoing mayor Cr Lisa Ruffell for “an outstanding year.
“It’s acknowledged that the first year of a new council is always very hard for the chair.
“I think you’ve done an outstanding job and paid my way.
“I look forward to serving my wonderful city. I’ll give it my best shot and I’ll always be available."
Councillors paid tribute to both outgoing mayor Cr Lisa Ruffell and to the new mayor.
Cr Rod Campbell said it was a fast moving municipality and Cr Lyons would bring great qualities to the job.
“Your experience around business, your experience with people, and I think you’ll do an absolutely stunning job."
Cr Ruffell said being mayor had not always been easy.
"The new council has had some teething problems along the way and it’s my hope that the next year will run more smoothly than the past.”
Fellow councillors paid tribute to Cr Ruffell.
Cr Mark Weragoda said the leadership Cr Ruffell had shown during the year had been outstanding, as shown by her introduction of a listening post.
“Lisa is passionate about community engagement and her unwavering commitment to community has been demonstrated again and again,” he said.