REVEALED: New council candidate comes forward
IT was the Woolgoolga Dam water sell-off plan that finally convinced Tony Judge to run for Coffs Harbour City Council.
All of the 128 local councils in NSW will hold general elections on September 12.
Late last year the Advocate contacted all current councillors to see who would run again.
At the time, the only one to clearly state an intention to run again was Cr Sally Townley.
Cr Michael Adendorff also gave a strong indication he would run.
Now a new name has been thrown into the ring with Woolgoolga local Tony Judge saying he will be running as a Labor candidate.
"Everybody should be open about their political affiliations when running for Council. I don't believe that people who are party members or supporters should be running as independents."
The former Commonwealth public servant ran as a Labor candidate in the State election.
He says there needs to be more transparency surrounding Council decisions and the controversy surrounding the deal to sell water from Woolgoolga Dam to Costa berries, announced prior to Christmas, was a classic example.
"What really struck me was the total lack of transparency surrounding the deal and Council still isn't keeping us informed about what's really happening," Mr Judge said.
"In principle the change in licence (to allow council to sell water for agricultural purposes) has been approved but Council still isn't keeping us informed about what's really happening."
He says many of those calling for more transparency on the deal are often labelled as anti-blueberries.
"I'm frustrated that every time somebody puts their hand up and says there needs to be more scrutiny, people promote it as being anti-blueberries or anti-farmer but I am neither of those things. I just want more transparency about how things are working.
"Residents aren't opposed to water going to farms that need it, but at the process where deals are done with no public scrutiny."
According to Mr Judge there is a lack of balance in the current Council.
"So often you see the one councillor Sally Townley out there voting by herself and she represents the progressive element of our community."
In relation to the proposed Cultural and Civic Space, an issue that has divided council and sections of the community, he has this to say:
"I think it is a good proposal. I would like to see more on the financials but in principle Coffs needs a landmark building in the centre of town.
"When the bypass goes through and we move away from being a spot where highway runs through town we will need things like this to attract tourists and visitors."