Deputy mayor pulls out of Coffs mayoral contest

COFFS HARBOUR City's mayoral contest has taken an unexpected turn with the sudden withdrawal of Cr Rod McKelvey.

The deputy mayor will also not seek a second council term at the September 13 local government elections.

Cr McKelvey, who was considered a frontrunner for the top job, said yesterday his decision was due to a change in family circumstances and commitments.

“My wife (Pat) has had ongoing health problems for us to deal with, but her sudden scare last week was the last straw,” he said.

“She is improving now and is recuperating at home.”

Cr McKelvey said he would now be able to spend more time helping his five-year-old grandson, Zac, who is having intensive therapy for autism.

“He is a terrific little bloke, and we have become good mates since his last visit here,” he said.

“Anyone who's dealt with autism knows it takes time and commitment. Anyone who knows me knows if I take on a task, I give 110 per cent.”

Cr McKelvey admitted his decision to drop out of the race had been tough.

“You go through all the senses. Disappointment, letting people down, but the over-riding thing is that family comes first.

“Once I concentrated on that and spoke with my family, I was completely comfortable that what I was doing was the right thing.”

When asked who he would like to see as mayor, Cr McKelvey said he had given it no thought at the moment.

“I'm actually still anticipating that more people will come forward to stand for council. All I can say is the process is extremely interesting and you learn a terrific amount. You start to understand the restrictions that are placed on council. There are things you can do, and there are things you can't do.”

Cr McKelvey called on the new council to remain involved in future directions for the harbour and the Jetty Foreshores.

The proposal to host the national surf lifesaving championships 'will be a bit of a thorn in the side for council to deal with'.

“I think in general terms, there's a lot of potential for the region if they were to go ahead,” he said.

Cr McKelvey also said he was pleased the council's settlement strategy had gone through.

So far the mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, Cr Bill Palmer, former federal election candidate, John Fitzroy, and the Greens' Mark Graham are the mayoral contenders.

You go through all the senses. Disappointment, letting people down, but the over-riding thing is that family comes first.



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