OUTGOING Corangamite Shire mayor Matt Makin bid a fond farewell to the council chambers on Tuesday night.
With wife Kate watching on from the gallery, a stoic Cr Makin used his closing address to highlight the major achievements and challenges of his eight years on council, including the past three as mayor.
He also paid tribute to his fellow councillors and senior council staff, saying the culture of the council had made it an effective organisation.
“We have been a team united in the goal to make life better for the people of the Corangamite Shire,” Cr Makin said.
“A great strength of the people around this table is the ability to put our disagreements behind us, and move on.
“I think that is a rarity,” he said. “I’ve spent more time with you all than I have with my wife and family. It has been a pleasure, but I’m glad to say it’s about to change.”
Cr Makin also paid special tribute to councillors Michael Absalom and Steve Cumming who have also resigned from council.
He said one of the shire’s greatest achievements was its response to the January 2011 floods in Skipton.
“The capacity of this organisation to assist the Skipton community during that event must go down as one of our greatest achievements,” Cr Makin said. A personal highlight was the opening of Timboon Childcare Centre.
“It was a long challenge to get it open, but we eventually got there,” he said.
“When I go to that centre to pick up my boys I’m always proud that we, as a council, were able to achieve that fantastic community facility.”
Cr Makin highlighted the constant struggle to do more with less dollars as one of the biggest challenges councils faced.
“Whether it be changes to grant programs, the superannuation scheme or changes to state and federal government funding, doing more with less is going to be a challenge councils will continue to face into the future,” he said.
“The community’s expectations have also changed and they demand state-of-the-art facilities. Our challenge has been to line up to the community’s expectations. But I think we have been effective in meeting them.”
Councillor Geoff Smith said he hoped that all three resigning councillors found their way back to public life.
“I think it would be a shame if you are all lost to public life forever,” Cr Smith said. “Hopefully we see you all again, in a role helping to improve the community,” he said.