RETIRING councillor James Reade says his time on council has “been a long, interesting, fun, frustrating, challenging and exciting four years”.
Elected in 2008 at age 19, the youngest ever council representative says he is looking forward to “just being a normal kid” after his final City of Greater Bendigo meeting last night.
“I went from a 19-year-old kid to a 19-year-old adult overnight,” he said of joining council.
“It wasn’t so much challenging but about listening and taking on advice.
“I’ve learned at hell of a lot over the last four years.”
Cr Reade said he nominated for the role because he wanted change in Bendigo.
“There are 20 professional council bashers who constantly criticise,” he said.
“But without putting up solutions and without putting up your hand, I find that frustrating.
“I was in a position where I wanted things done in the community so I put up my hand to be part of that change.
“The drive comes from, and it sounds weird, but my purpose in life and my dream is to help other people’s dreams come true.”
Cr Reade was running his own DJ business during his early years on council and is looking to expand his current community development business.
He is moving to Melbourne and plans to travel and work overseas.
He said the structure of the organisation needed to change so there were fewer councillors who worked full time and were well paid.
“My age has been an asset to the role than a detriment,” he said.
“There are some challenges around local government; it’s set up for retired old men and you can see that on our current council.
“They’re lovely people with great intentions, but is it truly representative?”
Councillor Keith Reynard is also retiring from the council. Both men were praised for their work before last night’s council meeting began.