Bendigo councillors to bid farewell

TONIGHT’S City of Greater Bendigo meeting will be the last for at least two councillors. 

Councillor Keith Reynard and Councillor James Reade will retire from their positions after deciding not to seek re-election. 

Both will give farewell speeches and be recognised for their work. 

While Cr Reade, the youngest person elected to the council at age 19 in 2008, is keeping his farewell speech under wraps until the meeting, Cr Reynard said he would miss the role.

“When I do step down from council in a couple of weeks’ time there will be a little bit of a void in my life,” he said. 

“It has been such an all-consuming affair; the time requirements are enormous. 

“So there will be a little bit of a gap, a time to reflect and reassess a few things and in a way that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Cr Reynard is in his second term on the council and said he was leaving to focus on university studies. 

He lists the creation of the Strathfieldsaye Recreation Reserve, building bike and walking paths and the introduction of renewable energy conferences as his proudest achievements. 

“One of the other things I’ve seen during my time on the council is that Bendigo’s gone from a big, primarily conservative country town to a more diverse, accepting and tolerant place,” he said. 

“Now there’s a lot more diversity publicised and profiled in Bendigo.

“One of the first things we did on my first council term was endorse flying the Aboriginal flag on the town hall.

“Even though it was a seemingly small gesture to the local indigenous community, I think they gained a lot of pride and encouragement out of that.”

He said upgrades to the Hargreaves Mall, of which he voted in support, hadn’t worked out as well as planned.

“Hindsight’s a great thing,” he said. 

“In retrospect you’d look at the areas that have turned out to be issues and look at those in a lot more detail. 

“But I think the general principle was right, and right at the time.”

Cr Reade plans to move to Melbourne once his time on the council has finished and said in June he was “keen to just be a kid again”.

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