News

It’s déjà vu all over again for Murray River Council voting

by
September 11, 2017

A man casts his vote for the Murray River Council election at Moama Primary School. Photo by Luke Hemer.

GEOFF Wise, Tom Weyrich, Nicole Cohen and Chris Bilkey are almost certain to have a seat on the new Murray River Council.

But that could change depending on how preferences unfold in the coming days.

If first preference trends continue, just as certainly three of the six elected, covering much of the former Murray Shire, will be former Murray Shire councillors.

Mr Wise, a Moama businessman, polled the most primary votes in Greater Murray ward with 34.35 per cent of the vote.

Former Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich was close behind with 25.23 per cent.

Who will fill the third and final seat will only be decided once postal votes are in and preferences distributed.

In terms of primary votes, Moama’s Tony Aquino is next in the lead with 16.81 per cent ahead of former Murray Shire mayor John Pocklington – the man who called for his shire’s suspension – on 12.25 per cent.

That’s just ahead of Mathoura’s Nicole Stenhouse, who had received 11.37 per cent.

After voting closed Mr Wise said he was “thrilled” to have polled the most votes in his ward.

“I think that’s a sign I am doing okay and trying to do the right thing by them,” he said.

Mr Wise is already looking to the future and what influence he can have on the new council.

“One of the first things I want to get done is help with the DAs (development applications),” he said.

“I need to see what we can do to help council get through them quicker.”

In Moama ward Mrs Cohen managed an insurmountable lead with 43.61 per cent of the vote and can confidently assume she will be elected.

Next in her race is former Murray Shire councillor Chris Bilkey with 26.51 per cent of the vote.

The remaining candidates, Gen Campbell and Geoff Mackenzie, will fight it out for the third seat. Both are former Murray Shire councillors.

But it looks likely Ms Campbell will come out on top.

She had 19.19 per cent of the vote ahead of Mr Mackenzie’s 10.69.

However, if voting trends continue, and there is no indication they won’t, the current third place holder in both wards will win a seat.

Mrs Cohen, a pastry chef at Rich River Golf Club, stood on a platform of not promising the world. She did, however, insist she would do everything she could to make the public’s concerns heard. Mrs Cohen was not available for comment yesterday.

In Greater Wakool ward former Wakool Shire mayor Neil Gorey is comfortably on top with 41.03 per cent of the vote.

Former councillor Alan Mathers is also likely to get elected with 25.05 per cent followed by Ann Crowe with 20.16. Katherine O’Brien and Christine Dartnell took home 7.61 per cent and 6.14 respectively.

After postal votes and preferences “sometime this week” the new council will be officially announced.

Visit www.riverineherald.com.au for updates on the election. A further report will be in Wednesday’s Riv.

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