Countback candidate declines councillor role

Tony Bell and Christopher Cole. Images: Mount Alexander Shire
Tony Bell and Christopher Cole. Images: Mount Alexander Shire

UPDATE: Successful Castlemaine ward Christopher Cole said he has made the decision that suits him and his family.

“I have been thinking over this for the last month. Ever since I got letter from the electoral office (about the countback),” Mr Cole said.

“My home and work situation have changed since January. It's a family thing that took place and it may change but I had to make the decision about whats best for me and family.

“I would have loved to join council and hopefully the situation arises in the future when I am in a better position.”

Mr Cole has 48 hours to change his mind but said he would re-confirm his position on Wednesday morning.

“I don't see any change in my decision happening,” he said.

Mr Cole has been a councillor for four years and was proud of the progress done for young people in the shire.

“When I put my hand up again (for local council), my situation was different,” he said.

“I want to see progress done for the youth and to keep people fit and active.

“One of the things I hang my hat on is get facilities for the Wesley Hill Progress Association that goes back to 1959 when my own mother and father were involved in to getting the football and netball facilities going.”

EARLIER: Mount Alexander Shire’s Castlemaine ward remains one councillor short after the successful candidate from a countback declined the role.

Successful countback candidate Christopher Cole has declined the role.

A countback sees votes for the vacating councillor (Tony Bell) are redistributed to unsuccessful candidates.

Mount Alexander Shire mayor Bronwen Machin said if Mr Cole stands by his decision a second countback will be required.

That would involve preferences from votes for Tony Bell and Christopher Cole redistributed to unsuccessful candidates.

“Chris remains interested in council and civic matters but had to make a hard choice and I repspect that. He said family comes first.,” Cr Machin said.

“I hope to get (this countback) that settled by next week as we about to go into building a budget and it is good to have training in certain matters before council gets into the thick of it.”

Mount Alexander Shire will also hold a postal by-election for the Tarrengower ward following the resignation of councillor and former mayor Sharon Telford in October.

A by-election occurs if a councillor in a single councillor ward resigns. Only voters enrolled in Tarrengower ward will be required to vote.

“We look forward to two new colleagues joining us and remain united and strong,” Cr Machin said.

A Victorian Electoral Commission spokesperson said Mr Cole has until Wednesday, November 22, to lodge a written declaration as to his eligibility to become a councillor.

“In the event that Mr Cole does not declare his eligibility a further countback will be conducted as soon as practicable,” the spokesperson said.

“Any further countback will include the four remaining unsuccessful candidates from the October 2016 general election.”

More to come