Another two join council race

Yvonne Francis and Tony Webber will stand for Colac Otway Shire Council.

ANOTHER two contenders have joined the field for Colac Otway Shire Council’s elections.

Apollo Bay’s Yvonne Francis will push for more attention for the coastal town while Otway Forum convenor Tony Webber, an Apollo Bay farmer, will make his second bid for a council spot.

Mrs Francis will be a candidate at next month’s Colac Otway Shire Council election because she claims the council needs to be less Colac-centric.

She said the council’s response to a Colac Herald article about Apollo Bay resident Carole Kanngieser tripping on a footpath had inspired her nomination.

Mrs Kanngieser injured her face and body in the fall in August.

“I thought, well, things are going a bit far,” Mrs Francis said.

“It’s time Apollo Bay had a bit more representation on council,” she said.

The campaign will be Mrs Francis’s first for Colac Otway Shire Council.

She has previously stood for a council spot at Queanbeyan, near Canberra, and nominated for the Senate three times.

Mrs Francis worked for the National Office of Local Government when she lived in Canberra, and has lived in Melbourne and the Otways.

She owns the building of Apollo Bay’s Bay Leaf Café, where she managed a tea and coffee shop in the 1980s.

“I would just like to see a whole lot more representation of the other places around the shire,” Mrs Francis said.

“People might know me from my activism in the past, I’m very proud of that – the Otways really needs to be represented by people who love the Otways,” she said.

Mrs Francis said she also had ideas to enhance Colac’s tourist attractions such as Lake Colac.

She said she would lobby for more public transport and spending on early childhood development.

“Tourism is a thing you have to really love and get involved in and you should have walking tracks and bicycle tracks everywhere,” she said.

Mrs Francis is a self-confessed “peace activist” and said becoming a councillor would be a privilege.

“I understand the difference between being an activist and being a paid worker of the three tiers of government,” she said.

Convenor will step down to contest council seat

OTWAY Forum covenor Tony Webber will step down from the lobby group while he contests next month’s Colac Otway Shire Council election.

The October 27 election will be the Apollo Bay resident’s second attempt to win a council seat, having nominated for the 2008 election.

Mr Webber said he had the same concerns as he had in 2008.

“Particularly the fact the council tends to do things without consulting the community that much,” he said.

“The hotel and the harbour in Apollo Bay is a classic example there of trying to push things onto the community, rather than working with the community.

“I want to get the community involved with decision making.”

Mr Webber said he would push to introduce a “tip shop” at Apollo Bay’s transfer station to sell re-usable items people dropped off at the tip.

He said he would also advocate for companies to transport heavy loads on rail freight, instead of using trucks.

“If we can get a lot of freight on there, even 30 per cent of it onto the rail, that would relieve the trucks going through Colac,” he said.

“I’d talk to the State Government for a start to try and encourage that, and then maybe companies.

“That’s a temporary measure to see how it goes because it’s not going to cost much money, if it’s effective, we may not need a bypass anyway.”

Mr Webber said he would call for the return of elections to decide Barwon Water’s board, after the water authority’s decision to build a new water basin and pumping station at Apollo Bay.

More than 850 Apollo Bay residents signed a petition against the proposal.

“They might respond more to the community if they’re elected by the community,” Mr Webber said.

Mr Webber manages his family’s farm, is involved with Apollo Bay’s community bank and the Friends of the Otway National Park.

He is also helping set up a food co-operative at the coastal town.

Colac Otway Shire Council has seven election nominees:Tony Webber, Yvonne Francis and Bob Knowles of Apollo Bay, Gerangamete’s Michael Delahunty, and current councillors Stephen Hart, Lyn Russell and Chris Smith.

Council nominations close on Tuesday, September 25.



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