ARMIDALE Dumaresq and Guyra shire will become one council, despite an expert’s recommendation for a four-way merState government appointed delegate Greg Wright recommended Uralla and Walcha to also be included in the merger to form a New England Regional Council.
But yesterday NSW Premier Mike Baird announced only Armidale and Guyra were to merge, creating the Armidale Regional Council.
Two mayors and 14 councillors were replaced by administrator Ian Tilley as head of the newly-formed council.
He will be joined by Armidale’s Glenn Wilcox as interim general manager and Guyra’s Peter Stewart as deputy general manager.
Former councillors will have the opportunity to remain in an advisory role, however, will not be able to make decisions.
Former Armidale Dumaresq mayor Herman Beyersdorf had mixed feelings about the ruling.
“On the one hand I’m pleased at least there’s amalgamation occurring which is a sensible thing,” he said.
“A four-way merger would have been better for the region.
“But merging with Guyra is a step in the right direction and that’s positive news.”
His Guyra counterpart Hans Hietbrink said he also wanted Walcha and Uralla to join the shire.
“My view is the four-way merger is preferable to the two-way merger,” Mr Hietbrink said.
“If the minister wants to look at that, I recommend he look at it.”
While a spokesman for Mr Baird said the merger would be proceeding “immediately”, Local Government Minister Paul Toole tipped a further amalgamation was probable, but could take years.
“The report makes clear that a merger of the four councils is the right long-term solution,” Mr Toole said.
“But creating a successful new council for the region will require some years of collaboration and partnership between councils in the New England region.”
Mr Heitbrink said it was no use stewing on the decision, but advocated for former councillors to help the new council move forward.
“The days of them and us are gone and it’s time we all got used to the concept of an Armidale Regional Council,” he said.
“I personally have no problem with [the name].
“It’s a no-brainer to call it Armidale Regional council.”