Pyrenees Shire Council by-election: three stand for Beaufort ward vacancy

File photo.
File photo.

PYRENEES Shire Council by-election candidates have stated their hopes for the municipality as they seek to fill the Beaufort ward vacancy left by the late Michael O’Connor.

Damian Ferrari, Barbara Blamey and Julie Kendall have nominated for the seat.

Mr O’Connor died unexpectedly in May, after serving as a councillor and three-time mayor since first being elected in 2008.

Mr Ferrari, who was born in Beaufort but now lives at Mount Cole, is Ararat Police Station’s station commander.

“I've always had a desire to be on the council,” he said.

“I wanted to run in this ward is because I've done a lot of work with communities outside that area. With Beaufort being my home town, I want to give something back to the township and my home community.”

Damian Ferrari speaks with Beaufort Café owner Sheina Owen. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Damian Ferrari speaks with Beaufort Café owner Sheina Owen. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Mr Ferrari nominated a Beaufort bypass as one of the shire’s most important projects.

“We need to get that right to make sure that the town remains active and sustainable and we continue to grow the town,” he said.

“I also think we need to do some work with local youth and make sure that they get access to the opportunities they deserve, and that we give them skills and education to provide for their futures.” 

Mr Ferrari said roads, tourism drawcards and heritage buildings were also important considerations for council.

Barbara Blamey at Beaufort Lake. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Barbara Blamey at Beaufort Lake. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Ms Blamey, a teacher, has lived in the area for 30 years, and has been involved in many community groups.

She said standing for council was an opportunity to do more for her community.

She said maintaining and building on Beaufort’s heritage aspects were vital to ensure the town remained vibrant.

“We have to make Beaufort a destination,” she said.

Ms Blamey also nominated roads and infrastructure as vital issues, along with the bypass.

She said she also hoped to provide more gender balance in the council, given only one of the other four councillors was female.

Ms Kendall did not respond to requests for comment before deadline, however her candidate statement to the Victorian Electoral Commission stated she was committed to improving the lives of all people in the shire through working on attracting jobs, affordable housing, access to health services, and promoting shire towns.

“As a past CWA group president and event organiser I have sound knowledge on governance and ability to connect with all people and navigate through the many different situations of council life,” her statement said.

“Being employed by Pyrenees Shire Home and Community Care service gives me the knowledge of how the organisation works and the services it provides.”

The commission has mailed out ballot packs for the postal by-election, with voting closing on August 17.

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