Noosa Mayor to-be vows united front
THE hard-fought battle for local government control of Noosa could be all over bar the official declaration with Councillor Tony Wellington looking set to lead the council as mayor for the next four years.
"My scrutineer tells me that I hold a comfortable lead, with just some remaining postal votes and preferences still to be counted in the mayoral ballot," Cr Wellington told the Noosa News this week as the gap between he and a plucky Councillor Sandy Bolton grew wider.
Hours earlier outgoing Mayor Noel Playford, acting as Cr Wellington's vote scrutineer, had declared victory on his behalf,
but the apparent new leader in waiting was slightly more cautious.
"At this point in time, the results have not been declared," Cr Wellington said.
THE final hope that preferences from third-placed candidate Ray Kelly could drag the final tally into Cr Bolton's favour, appears futile because it is understood most people voted 1 and did not exercise their option of preferential voting.
Cr Wellington said: "After a few days recuperation, and assuming the count to continue in my favour, I will be teaming up with (the) council's CEO Brett de Chastel to plan the next few months."
Cr Wellington thanked Cr Bolton and Mr Kelly "for their good grace and kindliness throughout the campaign" after a campaign by Noosa standards that was conducted without vitriol.
"Both were worthy opponents and I wish them well into the future," he said.
"Campaigning is a gruelling task, and I was pleased that all the mayoral and most of the councillor candidates came through the process without any rancour.
"Noel Playford was always going to be a hard act to follow, regardless of who won the mayoral race," Cr Wellington said.
"He has been a strong and extremely capable mayor, ably supported by a sturdy Deputy Mayor in Bob Abbot."
Cr Wellington said his aim was for the new council to work as collaboratively as the current council and if new councillors adopt that approach "we will be able to achieve a great deal".
"As soon as we are all sworn in, I will be consulting individually with each elected councillor to determine what he or she may hope to achieve over the next four years," he said.
"I'm really looking forward to those discussions.
"I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and I promise to do my very best to meet the high expectations that have been projected upon me."
Cr Wellington clearly does not want the mayoralty to be a personality contest.
"In the end it's not about me, it's about the future of the Noosa Shire," he said.
The former artist, author and photographer, reflecting on the recent week of gruelling campaigning outside the hellishly hot booths, praised the "pleasing camaraderie between the hundreds of volunteers".