Recently retired Howlong resident Peter Opitz is looking for a new challenge as he stands for the upcoming Federation Council elections.
He joins a Howlong ticket that has been formed and headed by former Corowa Shire Deputy Mayor Mark Shields and includes Malcolm Goldsmith, Lisa Smowton and Louise Shields.
The former IGA worker is firmly opposed to the proposed location of the Howlong Compost Facility and has been following the issue closely.
“It’s too close to town and there’s plenty of other land around that could be looked at, like towards Burrumbuttock or on the road to Corowa,” he said.
Another issue Mr Opitz would like to see addressed by council is to have all the footpaths around town finished.
“As the town continues to grow, council services must be continually upgraded including the development of road and footpath programs,” he said.
But his main priority, he says, is having representation in council.
“Currently, council needs representation and feedback from the community,” Mr Opitz said.
“We need people around town who can speak to the locals and put forward their thoughts.”
Mr Opitz said he enjoys giving back to the community and has been involved in training the elderly in using technology.
“When the Howlong Golf Club received personal computers through the Federal Government’s Broadband for Seniors program, I took the position of trainer and assisted many seniors with setting up anything to do with technology,” he said.
“This includes creating email accounts, assistance with their laptops or home computers, together with their mobile phones, tablets and iPads.
“There’s about 70 people I have trained around town, they come regularly while I show them the basics and then they delve a little bit more themselves.
“I believe council should play a more active role in programs like this, in addition to developing new initiatives to ensure seniors have access to new skills as technology continues to evolve.
“These developments have greatly improved life for the generations of locals, as well as the many new residents who have moved into the town.”
Mr Opitz is frank when he says he is not a fan of the amalgamation of council.
“It’s too much of an area for a council like this to cover and I think they were running fine prior to the split up and amalgamation,” he said.
However, Mr Opitz said the upcoming elections would provide an opportunity to improve the way council runs.
“Council’s commitment to engaging with the community over significant programs must be restored,” he said.
“This includes a commitment to tried and tested processes to ensure council decisions are made in the public interest.
“Openness and transparency must be features of the new council to rebuild community trust.”