The current City of Ballarat mayor Cr Ben Taylor has confirmed he plans to stand for re-election in the South Ward.
Cr Taylor told The Courier he would be seeking his third term on council in next month's local government elections. Having first served as councillor in 2008, he did not stand again in the 2012 elections but successfully stood once again in 2016. He was elected mayor by a majority of his fellow councillors in October last year for the final 12 months of this council.
He described his time as mayor as "challenging".
"It's been a tough 12 months," he said. "We've had a lot happen. We've had a whole lot of distractions, [the sacking of] the CEO, the Ombudsman's report, COVID, which have really slowed a lot of things down."
However, he said he would be happy to stand for the position again. "If there was an opportunity to do it again, then absolutely I would do it again for the first year of a new council term if elected."
I would [stand for mayor] again for the first year of a new council term if electedCr Ben Taylor
Wearing the mayoral sash again may be an ambition, but he ruled out standing for election at state parliament as he has done twice previously as an endorsed Liberal Party candidate. Both times he was defeated by the incumbent Geoff Howard, who is now standing for election in the council elections in Ballarat Central. Cr Taylor said: "I'm realistic - the ship has sailed on that one."
He said his experience in the council group would stand him in good stead in any future council - particularly given the wholesale changes in the leadership team this year. There were "lessons to be learned" from this current term of council, he said.
Full coverage:Ballarat council elections 2020
"The biggest thing for me from a strategic point of view is that we are more focused and that we don't have as many things on the go at once."
Major projects would be at the top of his to-do list if re-elected, he said - and would try to get the organisation to focus on fewer projects "to get those things ticked off".
He cited the redevelopment of the LaTrobe Street saleyards as one priority, as well as the activation of the central part of the city. He said: "It's not just Bakery Hill. The CBD needs a lot of work. We need to ensure we've got a vibrant CBD - and that means people. How do we get people to live in the area? We need to work through the planning to enable more of that to happen, whilst still respecting the heritage there."
He said attracting state and federal infrastructure investment as a third priority, again mentioning the furthering of the planned Western Link Road.
As for his home ward, he said he wanted to focus on projects that would enhance a sense of community, particularly in Mount Clear and Canadian. "Being mayor, I get things from all over the city, but first and foremost people in South Ward still expect representation."
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