BALLARAT has a new-look council today after voters backed six newcomers at the weekend local government election.
Only three of nine incumbent councillors were re-elected, with the departure of mayor Mark Harris among the surprise results.
Councillors Des Hudson and John Philips were both re-elected convincingly, with Councillor Samantha McIntosh easily succeeding in her move to the Central Ward.
Councillor-elect Belinda Coates will become Ballarat’s first Greens Party representative, with popular teacher and community worker Peter Innes to return to the council chamber after a four-year absence.
Voters also backed young people, with teacher Joshua Morris, 30, and 24-year-old health worker Amy Johnson among the inclusions.
Lead On chief executive and Liberal Party member Vicki Coltman will join council, with Ballarat Specialist School principal and independent John Burt.
Outgoing mayor Mark Harris was the only councillor who was unsuccessful in seeking re-election.
Mr Harris fell around 630 votes short in his bid for re-election in the Central Ward, with controversial decisions including the Civic Hall site redevelopment in voters’ minds.
“They said it was time for a new council, for a clean sweep,” he said.
“I think folk are looking for a reinvigoration and that is a healthy thing. It is hard to focus on one issue but the result in part probably speaks to the campaign of other candidates in the ward.”
Mr Harris didn’t rule out standing in future elections.
“It is probably unlikely, but you never know what will happen in four years or what the issues will be.”
The election of new councillors brings a diverse range of political affiliations, with Labor, Liberal, Greens and independents to take their seats in the chamber.
A new mayor will be chosen by councillors in coming days, with the next ordinary council meeting to be held on November 14.