With confirmation that council elections will go ahead this year, the focus has turned to just who will run for Warrnambool City Council.
The Standard contacted all seven sitting councillors to see what their intentions were come October.
Most councillors, including Robert Anderson, said it was probably still too early to talk about the election, but he did confirm he would stand.
Mayor Tony Herbert said that while prior to the pandemic he had been inclined to run again, he was still yet to decide.
Cr Mike Neoh said he wouldn't make his decision public until the council entered caretaker mode about a month before the election.
The other councillors were still to decide or announce their intentions.
But both Crs David Owen and Neoh made a call for more women to step up to change the gender imbalance in local governments.
Cr Neoh said that he never usually made public his decision on whether he would stand again until the council entered caretaker mode.
"That's when it's appropriate to start campaigning," he said.
"Once you announce it, you're almost in election mode."
Cr Neoh said he felt that by signalling his intentions on whether to stand any earlier than the caretaker period would detract from his current role as a councillor, and the perception would be that councillors would not then be focused on the job at hand.
"We haven't even done our budget yet. That is the key thing to get in place," he said.
Cr Owen said any decision about whether he stood for election again wouldn't be reliant on his health, which he said was "excellent".
"I have achieved a lot in the last four years and I'm very proud of it," he said.
He said raising the rainbow flag, declaring a climate emergency, the Fight for the Bight campaign, reviewing of horses on Belfast Coastal Reserve and introduction of the FOGO bins were among the issues he was most proud of.
"They're really major social issues," Cr Owen said. "All my ticks are for the environment. If I was to run again I would be doing the same."
Cr Owen said if people were not sure about standing up and having a crack at council, he encouraged them to just give it a go.
"We need more women to stand up for our council. Women are our future leaders," he said.
"It's really important that we represent our community properly, well balanced and taking on all issues not just environmental but things that are a great concern to our community."
Cr Owen said he was keen to see the 2040 plan not sit on the shelf and collect dust. "If I do stand again, I'll be pushing it really hard," he said.
Cr Sycopoulis said he was unsure at this stage if he would contest the October council elections.
"The pandemic saw me cancel my long service leave in order to commit to my employer and my council duties," he said.
"I love being on council but I will wait and see what happens as we approach October.
"Regardless of whether I am on council after October, I believe that Warrnambool should be looking now for the next large-scale projects that put us on the map.
"I would hope that some foresight may see some exciting re-invigoration and development of the foreshore precinct.
"I was reinstated as a councillor only two months ago just as the world was heading into 'lockdown'.
"In a strange turn of events, the pandemic provided a clear vision for council to introduce two necessary measures that I have been lobbying for about 10 years - free parking and the live streaming of council meetings."
Cr Anderson said the council had achieved a lot during the last term, and one of the things at the top of his list was the car park at the railway station.
He said the other big council achievements during his time on council were the Reid Oval funding, library and Lake Pertobe master plan.
"I'm happy with what we've achieved so far over the last four years," Cr Anderson said.
Top of his list if he is re-elected is getting a walking/cycling path along the north side of Hopkins River from Simpson Street to Deakin University as part of stage one, and then have it extended in two stages to Jubilee Park and then Allansford.
"I'm looking forward to exploring those avenues. I think a bike path to Deakin would be beneficial," he said.
"The pandemic has proved people are out walking, bike riding."
Restoration on McGennan car park and foreshore master plan were other issues that he would be campaigning for.
"That whole precinct is the jewel in the crown for Warrnambool," he said.
Cr Herbert said the past couple of months had put considerable pressure on his business and he would need to evaluate whether he would run again.
"Prior to COVID, it was a definite. I'm just keeping my options open at the moment," he said.
The biggest achievement of council, he said, had been the number of external dollars the city had been able to attract for major projects - library, Reid Oval, Lake Pertobe.
"There wouldn't be too many councils that lobby for money, get the money and build the project in a term," he said.
Cr Herbert said the major role that the council had played in securing funding for Deakin's hydrogen project "was pretty outstanding".
"It's one of the future-type projects, even though council does handle a lot of the here and now, to be looking at industry into the future is pretty impressive."
He also listed the upgrades to footpaths and bike paths as well as the CBD renewal, which this term of councillor had to roll out, among the council's achievements.
"That was tough on traders, tough on council but I think the outcome in my opinion is outstanding," Cr Herbert said.
"For me, one of the greatest achievements,...to be crowned Australia's most livable cities is a testament to this council and previous councils and our community.
"Has it been a perfect term of council, no it hasn't, have we made mistakes, yes we have. But the overarching desire for people who working this organisation is to improve our community."
Cr Herbert said he was particularly proud of having worked with the user groups to come up with a plan for the harbour precinct and boat ramp.
Cr Sue Cassidy said that it was still too early to decide on whether or not to run, but if she was to stand again it would be to see through projects like the $11 million Reid Oval redevelopment, safer boating launching ramp and The Lookout.
She also listed the all-abilities swing at Lake Pertobe, path extensions that the council had put through the small infrastructure fund and the Hopkins River hoist among the achievements she's most proud of.
"I think they're fantastic things," she said.
Cr Kylie Gaston is yet to announce whether she will or won't run.
"At the last election I promised to advocate for a library and I am so pleased we have been able to achieve that huge goal," she said.
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