Councillors bid to retain seats as new candidates emerge

ALL but two sitting Coffs Harbour City councillors will re-contest their seats at the upcoming local government election, as new faces enter the race to the ballot box.

Mayor Denise Knight will face a challenge from four current councillors with John Arkan, Keith Rhoades, Mark Sultana and Sally Townley all confirming their mayoral intentions.

Crs Arkan, Rhoades and Townley contested the mayoral ballot in the last council election in 2012.

Crs Nan Cowling and Rodney Degens have, meanwhile, announced they will stand down after the current term.

Cr Cowling cited family commitments and Cr Degens said relocation from Coffs Harbour was a factor in the decision.

Deputy mayor Garry Innes remains the question mark, saying it was "far too early" to make an announcement.

It comes as Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce president George Cecato announced his intent to run as a councillor at the chamber breakfast on Tuesday.

Mr Cecato said his decision was driven by his desire to see a more "stable, progressive council".

"I want the Coffs region to go ahead and I want to see our children stay in town and get employment here," he said.

Mr Cecato is no stranger to local elections, with the chamber president running for council previously.

He said the September elections "would be one to watch".

At Thursday's meeting, councillors will vote for Coffs Harbour City Council to enter a caretaker period on August 12 - four weeks prior to the September 10 election.

The primary purpose of the policy is to avoid the council making major decisions that would bind an incoming council.

It also prevents use of public resources that could be seen as promoting current councillors who are seeking re-election.

The policy states councillors must not use their position as elected representatives to gain media attention to support their election campaign.


Want to run a councillor?

What: Coffs Harbour City Council is hosting sessions for those interested in running for council.

Where: Coffs Harbour City Council building, 2 Castle St, Coffs Harbour.

When: Tuesday July 19, 5pm or Wednesday July 20, 10am. The sessions are expected to run up to three hours. To book, phone Ross Clark on 6648 4206.

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