YOGA teacher Tracey Hargreaves is known for speaking up on issues she feels matters, from body image to social and civic matters, in her studio patch on Little Bridge Street.
Instead of constantly pushing back against City of Ballarat, Ms Hargreaves wants to flex her words into action and make a more proactive difference in her hometown.
Ms Hargreaves is standing for council as an independent in the south ward.
"I thought 'why not me now?'" Ms Hargreaves said.
"This year has been all about re-examining values. I don't want to just be a complainer, I want to be a leader.
"Before COVID I was heads-down in running my own business, but my kids are settled and I have spent time reflecting.
"...I am a local person, a small business owner and have a family and will base my values around that."
Ms Hargreaves is keen to promote ecologically sound policy and a focus on development that benefits Ballarat residents most. This includes supporting Ballarat businesses and expertise as a priority.
Initially a secondary teacher by trade, Ms Hargreaves shifted her focus to teaching yoga and Pilates after first practising yoga as a university student.
After time living in London and incorporating yoga into her busy lifestyle, Ms Hargreaves wanted to find a place to practise when she moved home to Ballarat.
Ms Hargreaves started by leading a few classes after school and took the plunge completely into launching Absolute Yoga and Pilates, which celebrated 10 years last year.
While early classes might have only had a handful of students, the studio - now in Little Bridge Street - has grown to feature Pilates, barre and meditation in two class spaces, plus an online streaming platform.
In this time, Ms Hargreaves has also become known for speaking up on community issues and bringing the "little guy to the table".
This is what Ms Hargreaves hoped would appeal to the community, the fact she was unaligned to a big political party or expectations. Ms Hargreaves wants to offer new energy and perspective. She was open to others' ideas and going her own way.
Ms Hargreaves said there seemed to be a general disenfranchised feel about the community when it came to council matters after the Victorian Ombudsman report into alleged improper conduct by executive officers, released in May.
She said a restructure provided opportunity and greater transparency would be critical, particularly emerging into a new COVID normal.
Getting people outdoors and connecting people with community safely again is going to be really important. How we re-imagine the city has so many opportunities for hospitality outdoors and green open spaces.Tracey Hargreaves
"Getting people outdoors and connecting people with community safely again is going to be really important. How we re-imagine the city has so many opportunities for hospitality outdoors and green open spaces," Ms Hargreaves said.
"I don't want to see a big rush on a heap of new projects for the sake of it. I just want to see a considered approach."
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