Coffs councillor weighs up re-election options
Councillor Keith Rhoades was still weighing up his re-election options when coronavirus intervened.
The September 2020 local government elections have been postponed for 12 months due to the pandemic. Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock MP made the announcement late last month.
"I hadn't made a decision when the Minister made the announcement. The elections were just under eight months away. I was a fifty/fifty," Clr Rhoades said.
And now with the poll postponed until September 2021 he says he is focused on the job at hand.
"Seventeen months away - that's a very long time. One has to look at the current situation we're in with coronavirus and what the time frame for recovery is. They're all unknowns at the moment."
Although he is undecided he says he still has the same drive for the job he had when first elected to Coffs Harbour City Council back in September 1991.
"I have the same passion for the community as I did back then. I enjoy the work I do.
"I think I've been fortunate the community has elected me at each election since 1991. A lot has happened in that time and there's a lot of things I am proud of but there's a lot more to be done as yet."
Cr Rhoades was the President of the Local Government Association of NSW for many years and says the decision to postpone may have been a bit hasty.
"It was a bit premature but the Electoral Commission would have been hounding the Office of Local Government and the Minister to make a decision. They could have waited a little more to get a full appreciation of the situation."
Cr Rhoades has a hobby farm at Bonville and the travel restrictions haven't hit him too hard.
"I've just come in from the tractor getting some work done while the sun is shining," he said on Monday.
"It's a small property where we keep a few sheep and other animals. The grandkids love it."
The Advocate has spoken to a number of Councillors to get their reaction to the postponed elections and to see what their intentions are:
Councillor John Arkan has been contacted but has not returned the Advocate's call. He is before the Federal Circuit Court in relation to an intellectual property case.
The matter is listed for hearing at the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane on Monday, July 13.
The remaining Councillors will be contacted in coming days.