A by-election for Greater Hume’s East Ward will take place on Saturday, November 24 after councillor Kim Stewart resigned from her position.
Cr Stewart, who was elected in 2016 as one of the youngest councillors in recent memory, is leaving the region with her family to pursue work opportunities in Orange.
She had an ally on council in Annette Schilg, who described her as a “breath of fresh air”.
“I think she had a lot of positive inputs and was very professional in the way she went about her job,” Cr Schilg said.
“Communication and accountability was important to her and waste was another passion.
“She was a pleasure to work with.”
Cr Stewart announced her resignation following the council meeting on September 26.
Greater Hume general manager Steven Pinnuck said the timeframe was tighter than usual, as a by-election had to be held within 90 days but the timing would run into the holiday period.
“The electoral commission has shortened the normal by-election period to bring the date forward, so that it’s not during the Christmas holidays,” he said.
“We’re trying to get the message out the best we can for the by-election with the shortened period.”
It’s the first by-election for a seat on Greater Hume Council in more than a decade.
Applications for the non-residential roll are open and close at 6pm on Monday, and candidate nominations open on Monday at midday and close at the same time on Wednesday, October 24.
In other council matters, plans for the Walla Walla Early Childhood Hub have had to be revised with tenders for constructing the building coming back higher than expected.
Council, with near-equal contributions from the federal and NSW governments, have $779,225 to spend on the project.
For construction, $494,000 is allocated and other costs include land acquisition ($105,000), car parking ($115,000), design and demolition.
At a closed council meeting last month councillors voted to decline three tenders for construction, that ranged between $640,000 and $671,000.
Negotiations have been underway between council staff and the lowest tenderer, Dezign Interiors, and a revised cost will be discussed at next week’s council meeting.
ALSO IN GREATER HUME:
General manager Steven Pinnuck met with designers, members of the community and Community Early Years Childcare’s Anne Bowler to discuss plan changes and a reduction of the building by 45 square metres was outlined as an option to reduce costs.
“I’m optimistic that we can put together an option that council can consider favourably,” he said.
“We’ve reduced the size of one of the children’s rooms, and where initially we would have a 40-place facility now we’ll be looking at numbers in the low 30s for the short term.
“However the intention is to construct the building in such a way if extensions are required in the future, there is capacity to do that.”
Mr Pinnuck said there could be opportunity for fundraising or grants to cover costs.
“I wouldn’t rule out (applying for grant funding), but the problem is relying on additional grants is potentially going to put the timeline back,” he said.
“We’ll be doing whatever we can to meet timelines.”
Community Early Years Childcare, who will likely be the provider, have committed to furnishing the building and contributing to the playground.
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