More on the Council election:
IT’S a quieter voice, but it’s a voice of reason.
Aileen MacDonald has announced she will stand in the Armidale Regional Council election.
“Guyra is at a crossroads,” Ms MacDonald said.
“Change is hard and we’ve had to accept a change overnight, one minute we were a shire council and the next we’re part of Armidale Regional Council. But, let’s look at the positives of what that can do for us, see what the negatives are and how we can overcome them.”
Ms MacDonald is one of three prospective councillors that have come forward to represent the rural towns in the region.
For Guyra to have an impact on Council, she feels the town needs to stand as a united front.
A member of the Liberal Party, but running as an independent - Ms MacDonald said this means finding a common ground with the Guyra Amalgamation No Thank You Group.
“I respect their view, there’s a difference between respecting their view and being outright hostile to it,” she said.
“I respect that they don’t want to have an amalgamated Council, but if we had continued we would have had to have a 30 per cent rate rise.
“Did I accept that? No.”
Ms MacDonald said her focus is on looking toward the future once the rate freeze finishes to make sure Guyra residents get a fair rate on their properties.
Roads, rates and rubbish are all service levels she will fight to keep fair for Guyra.
A supporter of the amalgamation, Ms MacDonald said it’s time the community looked at the positives of the merger.
“One day we had two schools, now we have a university as part of our Council, we have the best regional art museum [NERAM], the airport - we can say that’s ours now,” she said.
The Renew Newcastle model is a project Ms MacDonald would like to see implemented in both towns.
The revitalisation scheme works with shopfront owners to make spaces available to artists, creative projects and community initiatives for short term use.