Mayoral candidate aims to win on own merits

JOHN Fitzroy reckons it's the Irish blood coursing through his veins which gives him his steely resolve.

It was not so long ago the 60-year-old hit rock bottom when Labor dumped him as its Cowper federal election candidate. But he is back from the brink, and on the campaign trail again.

“I don't back away from anything. The harder you push me, the more determined I become,” Mr Fitzroy says.

He is still trying to find out why the Australian Labor Party (ALP) national executive disendorsed him seven weeks out from last November's poll and still has another four months to serve out his party suspension.

“I didn't suffer it very well. I had a state of depression. We (his family) all suffered badly through it,” he says.

“I got counselled for my depression and was on anti-depressants for eight months, but I've weaned myself of those.”

A staunch ALP man for 24 years, Mr Fitzroy says he has decided to stay in the party in a bid to change the preselection process.

But he says he has not asked Labor, nor his Health Services Union, to support his tilt at Coffs Harbour's top job in next month's council election.

“I believe local council is a community-based enterprise. It's between myself and the community without carrying the baggage of political parties or unions,” Mr Fitzroy says.

“If elected as mayor, it will be on my merits and no-one else's.”

One of his abiding campaign themes is more community involvement with the council, and more 'transparency' at the organisation.

“Major decisions will be taken to the people,” he says.

“The council needs to be more aware of what the community wants, and the needs of the community. They need to consult more with the community.”

'Bread and butter' issues such as kerb and guttering and the condition of roads were more important, he said, than 'dressing up the international stadium and things of that description'.

Mr Fitzroy is also worried about the number of homes in low-lying areas in the city and the potential for disaster in heavy rain.

“A lot of these homes are going to be in dire straits and shouldn't have been built," he says.

As for the future of the Jetty Foreshores, Mr Fitzroy says 'green areas' had to be preserved for the community, and tourism.

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