INCOMING Albury mayor Henk van de Ven has revealed his predecessor Cr Kevin Mack saved his life earlier this year.
He made the startling revelation Cr Mack prevented him from choking to death in the mayoral suite following a council meeting.
“I just choked on some nibblies and it wasn’t looking all that flash,” Cr van de Ven said.
“He was the one good enough to save me from that.
“I will be eternally grateful to him for that.”
After some near misses in attempts to become mayor, including an infamous “lucky dip” to break a dead-lock with Cr Alice Glachan after another councillor abstained from voting in the election, Cr van de Ven became mayor in his 12th year on council in a two-way battle with Cr Betteridge.
Cr van de Ven was supported by Cr Mack, outgoing deputy mayor Ross Jackson, his successor in the role Cr David Thurley and Cr Darren Cameron.
The same voting bloc delivered Cr Thurley the deputy mayor position.
Following his election as mayor, Cr van de Ven shook all fellow councillors hands including the vanquished Cr Betteridge and past rival Cr Glachan.
Earlier in the day, Cr Betteridge queried whether Cr van de Ven’s “aggressive and confrontational” nature was the right man for the uncertain times facing Albury and other NSW councils.
Cr van de Ven said he hoped he could attend official functions at the Commercial Club despite a present ban.
He said he was quietly confident he had the support to be mayor for a fortnight, but denied it had always been a fait accompli.
“Until the numbers are counted on the night it is never a done deal,” he said.
“I thought I had a good chance a few years ago and it didn’t come to pass.
“It was never an absolute certainty.”
One his first official duties as mayor will be opening the $10.5 million art gallery redevelopment on Friday.
“It is an accident of time that I get to be front and centre, but I acknowledge the work Kevin has done seeing the project through,” he said.