Graham ready to make his mark

MARK Graham was not conceding Coffs Harbour's mayoralty yesterday even though he acknowledged he had only 'an outside shot' at overhauling Keith Rhoades.

The Greens recorded the second highest polling of any group in the Coffs Harbour City Council election and Mr Graham said he was quietly confident that they would end up with two councillors, himself and Rodney Degens, on the council.

“The only way we rated so well was because we had 72 volunteers on polling day and numerous volunteers throughout the campaign and I want to express my gratitude to them, because it is the only way we could have made this happen,” he said.

“I think we have dispelled the myth that the Greens are a bunch of disorganised hippies.

“I'm absolutely elated about our group's polling and very proud of our efforts in coming up with new models of development in the city, which have obviously fallen on receptive ears. We have a great opportunity to develop Coffs Harbour in a more sustainable way, with things like public transport, cycleways and community gardens.”

He said since the council before last had looked at bus transport, the cost of fuel had tripled, a trend which was likely to continue, so public transport was one of the only true solutions to public access for what was one of the most elderly communities in NSW.

Although he will be a new councillor, Mark is not new to committees or to local government, having been a member of various council committees on issues like vegetation, rural residential development, the North Coast Environment Committee and a series of community reference groups on the Pacific Highway as well as the advisory committee for the Environmental Defender's Office.

“I am really looking forward to the next four years,” Mark said.

He said he wanted to build a support base of formal and informal mentors and reference groups and he would like to organise regular community meetings around the city where people could bring ideas and solutions and talk to councillors.


THE likely members of Coffs Harbour City Council are: Mayor Keith Rhoades, councillors Mark Graham, John Arkan, Jenny Bonfield, Bill Palmer and Kerry Hines. Possibilities for the final three positions include Rodney Degens, Denise Knight, Tony Scholes and Annette Mavin.

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