THE new president of the Ballarat Residents and Ratepayers Association has promised the organisation was not “anti-council”, but against development without consultation.
Former Rotary Club volunteer and St Patrick’s College business manager Denis Bateman was elected unopposed as president at yesterday’s annual general meeting, and will succeed outgoing president Elisa Backer who will become vice-president.
Michael Wilson will serve as secretary and treasurer.
Mr Bateman told The Courier he hoped to build strong links with the City of Ballarat during the one-year term.
“We’re not anti-council. To the contrary, we want to work with the mayor and councillors,” he said.
“If there are developments going ahead without proper consultation, then we’ll become active.”
Mr Bateman said he would be in touch with new mayor Cr John Burt this week.
“They’re a young council and they’ll have a difficult job, but we’re not anti-them, we’re here to support them,” he said.
Mr Bateman was St Patrick’s College business manager from 1990 until 2004 and has also worked for the Catholic Education Office.
A resident of Ballarat for more than 20 years, volunteer and Probus Club member, he said he would seek to build on the organisation’s record of advocating for residents.
“I observed the association’s activities during the Civic Hall debate and how their actions got us to the point of not spending $40 million on council offices,” he said. “And I was very pleased to be part of the highly successful local government candidates forum held recently.”
As priorities during his presidency, Mr Bateman said he would seek to form a comprehensive constitution for the organisation and would work with members and the six-person board to take on issues and projects for the community.
“With the new council currently getting started, I would hope to develop a working relationship in coming months and speak to them regularly as time goes on,” he said. The association is open to all residents and ratepayers of Ballarat.