Council by-election candidates state their case for your votes

Candidates for the upcoming Cobar Shire Council by-election John Stingemore, Kate Winders and Ben Hewlett.

Three candidates, Kate Winders, Ben Hewlett and John Stingemore, have nominated for the vacant position of councillor with Cobar Shire Council.

Cobar residents will go to the polls next Saturday December 8 to determine which of the three nominees will replace Greg Martin, who recently resigned to take up a role with the Rural Fire Service.

The Cobar Weekly sat down with the three candidates and asked what prompted them to nominate for council; what skills or capabilities they were able to contribute to council; and what changes they hoped to make if elected.

Retiree Kate said she’s a “reliable and capable person” and that the role of a councillor would be a new challenge for her.

She believes the role of a councillor is to be someone who can keep the line of communication open between council and the people.

“I’d get out and about, meet and talk to people, ask them their views and also their concerns in council,” Kate said.

She believes her years of experience as a National Councillor with the VIEW Clubs of Australia would help her in the role.

Kate is keen “to support the council in their commitments to get things done in the community” and has a focus on helping families
and family services, sporting clubs and schools.

Ben Hewlett, a well-known member of the community through his role as president of the RSL Sub Branch Cobar, said initially it was “peer pressure” from his friends that prompted him to nominate for the by-election.

He said after thinking about it and talking it over with his family he came to his own decision to nominate.

“I think Cobar deserves good things,” he said. “I’m someone in the community who sees where there is a possibility to explore other avenues other than agriculture and mining.”

Ben said he thinks his role as a councillor would be to act as “a conduit between people and businesses and the council”.

He believes his 14 years served in the defence force, his ability to communicate well, and his young age will all serve him well as a councillor.

“I think I’m old enough to know what it means to be pulled in several different directions but young enough to have the enthusiasm and drive to push issues and topics that that are very near and dear to the heart,” he said.

Grazier and member of Council’s Economic Task Force, John Stingemore, said he’s previously considered running for council, and says he now has the time to devote to the role.

John said living in the community for 32 years and working in a variety of roles, has given him a good understanding of Cobar.

If elected, John says he would advocate for the Youthie and swimming pool to be combined and also covering the pool (or half of it and keep it open all year round); look for ways to change mine rosters; sort out free camping; look at more secure power and water supplies; and at traffic issues in the main street.