Council race heats up as challengers emerge

CHALLENGERS: Yvonne Wrigglesworth, Michelle Goldsmith, George Flack and Colin Carrington will all run for council at the next election.

CHALLENGERS: Yvonne Wrigglesworth, Michelle Goldsmith, George Flack and Colin Carrington will all run for council at the next election.

RelatedWhich councillors will run again in 2016?

The nation may be holding its breath for confirmation of an early federal election but the race for council has already begun in Bendigo. 

Six candidates have confirmed to the Bendigo Advertiser they will be challenging incumbent councillors for a seat on the nine-person City of Greater Bendigo council table later this year.

Registered nurse Michelle Goldsmith, Bendigo Health strategy, planning and governance director Yvonne Wrigglesworth, certified financial planner George Flack and retired Army Reserve Major Colin Carrington have all thrown their hats into the ring. 

Mr Carrington, a former Bendigo businessman and resident for 14 years before moving to Heathcote in 2006, will vie for the hotly-contested Eppalock Ward. 

Among his top priorities, the self described “council critic” lists rates capping, greater priority to outstanding roads and drainage works and reigning in expenditure on the arts and tourism.

Michelle Goldsmith has been endorsed as the Greens candidate for Whipstick Ward. The St John of God critical care unit nurse said “diversity and inclusion” would underpin her electoral platform.

“That includes things like investment, job creation and industry – diversity and inclusion will attract the best human capital," Ms Goldsmith said. “That’s what we need, and it’s under siege right now in Bendigo.”  

Mr Flack finished fourth in Eppalock Ward in the 2012 election after preferences were distributed, despite placing second on first preferences.

Related: 2012 Greater Bendigo council election results

He has spent the intervening years attending council meetings and joining local campaigns such as Save the Kangaroo Flat Leisure Centre, describing the period as an “apprenticeship”. 

“I’ve a very good feel now for how this council works – and it needs a decent clean up,” Mr Flack said. 

He said, if elected, he would fight to crack down on “wasted council money”. 

“For example, money was spent on resealing Edwards Road, which is a closed road,” he said.

“That money would have been better spent sealing a dirt road which people do use.” 

Axedale mother of two Yvonne Wrigglesworth said new forms of community engagement, improved services to outlying towns and promotion of healthy lifestyles would be her main priorities if elected to council. 

“Every decision council makes – from designing new buildings to public spaces – needs to have a lense on healthy living,” Ms Wrigglesworth said. 

Last December, entrepreneur Brenton Johnson and nursery manager Thomas Prince, both 26, announced they would run for council. 

RelatedYouth to make council dash

Do you think you would do a better job as councillor than your current elected representatives? 

The City of Greater Bendigo is running a series of workshops designed to help candidates and those who are thinking of joining the race for Town Hall to access the information they need. 

The next session, ‘Experience as a Councillor’, will be held April 7 at the Bendigo Library.

Related: The city’s guide to running for council

The election is scheduled for October 22 and nominations open about five weeks prior. 

However, candidates need to be aware of dates and times published by the Victorian Electoral Commission for nominations, candidate statements, photographs and indications of preferences – most candidates declare their intention to nominate well before the nomination date. 

A total of 21 candidates ran at the last election. 

Do you plan on running for council at the next election? Contact the reporter at joseph.hinchliffe@fairfaxmedia.com.au. 

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