OCTOBER’S municipal elections are shaping up to be a hotbed of unrest in Warrnambool, with new candidates in the wings wanting to bring fresh blood to the city council debate table.
Nanjing Night Net

Second-time candidate Peter Sycopoulis and businessman Graeme Rodger have told The Standard several business operators had indicated they were unhappy with council’s performance and were keen to stand.

This week’s council decision to refuse a planning application by Mr Rodger’s family company to install eight electronic gaming machines at the Flying Horse Inn Bar and Brewery stirred up his annoyance again.

Mr Rodger, who served on the council about a decade ago, is a developer and contractor who has locked horns with the council on several major issues in recent years.

He said the council failed to understand business issues.

“The sooner we bring on a new set of candidates for council the better,” he said.

“I know that a group of business operators is preparing to stand.”

Mayor Jacinta Ermacora denied there was a lack of business acumen around the table.

“I would argue that council has created a very business-friendly environment in Warrnambool,” she said.

“Council’s decision on gaming was a difficult one requiring consideration of significant competing interests and it is not always possible to keep everyone happy.”

“I would support any person considering putting up their hand to serve our city. The best council team is a diverse one, with broad representation across our community.”

Already businessmen Darren Harris, Brian Kelson and Jed Mast have put their hands up, along with Mr Sycopoulis and policeman David MacPhail.

“There’s a strong feeling in the community that the council is being run like a poor-performing political party rather than a business,” Mr Sycopoulis said.

“Council must be run on a strict budget, spending money like it’s your own and not someone else’s.”

Cr Hulin said he know of at least four people keen to nominate, but denied it would be an organised bloc.

“They believe they can contribute business skills and rise above the 5-2 voting pattern that dominates council now,” he said.

Nominations for all Victorian councils close on September 25 for October 27 elections.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.