Building unity in council: MidCoast Council mayor David West

Elected: A preferential vote by the 11 MidCoast councillors has seen David West become mayor of the inaugural council. Photo: Lauren Green.

Elected: A preferential vote by the 11 MidCoast councillors has seen David West become mayor of the inaugural council. Photo: Lauren Green.

“Immensely proud”, “close to tears”, and “lost for words”.

These are some of the ways David West described his reaction to being elected mayor of the first MidCoast Council.

“I’m overwhelmed firstly by the support of my fellow councillors and to be given the opportunity to lead a very new council, one of the largest regional councils in NSW for the next two years.

“You have no idea the understanding that brings to my heart.”

The election of mayor was the first task of the councillors at the inaugural ordinary meeting held in Taree on Wednesday.

Five councillors were nominated for the position - Kathryn Bell, Brad Christensen, Jan McWilliams, Len Roberts and David West.

The election was conducted through a preferential ballot and the mayor will hold the position for two years.

In accepting the position, mayor West said it now fell to the councillors to “build this community together”.

“I genuinely believe we (the councillors) have the skills and a team of professional people who will advise and lead the councillors along the path of success.”

He feels the combination will “deliver to you a MidCoast Council that you will be proud of and proud to say you lived here”.

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He said the councillors were there to work on behalf of the community. “We’re here for you to come and talk to us, in the street, in the shopping centres, anywhere we go, that is the heart of local government. It is your right to challenge us, to ask us to explain, and if we don’t know the answer and we can’t find the answer we need to go to higher places.

“We are a child of the State and are constrained to some degree, but hold us accountable. Make us aware of your fears, your aspirations and your wishes. We are three different communities with different aspirations but those aspirations are entwined within MidCoast Council.”

Mayor West was an elected councillor of Greater Taree City Council for 21 years, and has been deputy mayor multiple times. He was also on the local representative committee of MidCoast Council following the merger.