CITY of Greater Bendigo mayor Alec Sandner has confirmed he will stand again in this year’s election, but has conceded he doesn’t like his chances.
Cr Sandner – who was unanimously elected as mayor in November 2011 – will re-run in the Eppalock ward.
With at least five other candidates for the Eppalock ward having come forward in recent weeks and only three councillor positions available, Cr Sandner said competition would be tough.
“I’m not confident at all,” he said. “I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said they are going to stand.”
But Cr Sandner said that, after much consideration, it was his passion for Bendigo that kept him coming back.
“I was undecided for some time as to whether I would run – it’s a very big commitment,” he said.
The former accountant and small business owner said he wanted to accomplish more for the Bendigo region.
“It’s a rapidly growing city, and one very attractive for people to live in,” he said.
“Bendigo’s population has grown by 25,000 in recent years. We need to ensure it is a liveable city for the people coming here.”
Cr Sandner said the construction of the Edward Street car park, Bendigo Library and art gallery upgrades were among his proudest achievements on council.
“We need to grow, not just for growth’s sake but so we have a very sound city that is both economically and environmentally viable.”
Cr Sandner listed the construction of an equestrian centre in Strathfieldsaye, upgrade works to Bendigo Aerodrome and a transport system linked to land use as his key priorities upon re-election.
He said that, as a councillor, he would advocate for the following:
* an economically and environmentally sustainable community;
* a sustainable transport system linked to land use;
* an upgrade of the Bendigo Aerodrome;
* the construction of an aquatic centre at Kangaroo Flat;
* the construction of an equestrian centre at Strathfieldsaye; and
* minimum rate increases.
Cr Sandner is the current Flora Hill councillor after winning the ward in the 2008 elections.
He was a Strathfieldsaye shire councillor from 1982 to 1987 and shire president during 1985 and 1986.
At next month’s elections residents will be voting for three, three-councillor wards, instead of nine, nine-councillor wards.
The new Eppalock ward will include Axedale, Toolleen, Heathcote, Mia Mia, Emu Creek and the eastern side of Bendigo’s Mitchell Street, as far north as the railway line.
“Open communication with the community members and listening to their needs is imperative to the growth and benefit of the Eppalock area,” Cr Sandner said.
Other candidates for the Eppalock Ward so far include Eaglehawk businessman George Flack, Heathcote newsagent Wayne McKay, Bendigo teacher Tim Bardsley and Bendigo businessman Mark Weragoda.