ARMIDALE’S new mayor says that encouraging new business and cultural facilities to the city will be his first priority.
Jim Maher was elected to the mayoral seat during an extraordinary council meeting on September 21 and said he was pleased and proud of his new role and had big plans for Armidale.
In an interview with the Armidale Express, Cr Maher said: “If we truly want Armidale to be an ‘evo-city’, then we must grow our population and to do that we must open up land to industry and commerce.”
Cr Maher said a priority was building infrastructure, including fibre-optic cable, water and sewerage lines on industrial land next to Armidale’s airport to encourage new industry.
Overcoming culture-shock that new residents from major cities might feel was also on the new mayor’s agenda, with Cr Maher backing plans for a new library and performing arts centre.
He is joined by new deputy mayor Herman Beyersdorf.
Both men were elected uncontested with Cr Beyersdorf the only candidate to nominate for the position of deputy.
Cr Beyersdorf said he was “delighted” with his new role, having served 21 years on council.
He said his main priority would be building on council’s alternate waste treatment project, saying he wanted it to be “fully operational within two years.”
Non-renewable waste would be broken down before being used as landfill in the project at the council’s new facility on Grafton Rd.
Cr Beyersdorf also wanted to address the lack of industrial areas in Armidale, saying he was looking forward to the public hearing on Wednesday to find out more about what Armidale residents wanted.
Outgoing mayor Peter Ducat lent his support to Crs Maher and Beyersdorf and said he had mixed feelings about leaving.
“I think there is plenty of room to build on the great council,” Mr Ducat said.