Thursday, 23 June 2016
THERE’S another vote going on besides the Federal election, and it too will stamp the history books.
It’s around the vexed question of the name of the merged Armidale Dumeresq-Guyra Shire Council.
Although the merged council has been gazetted as the Armidale Regional Council, many believe this doesn’t properly reflect the demographic it covers – including the swelling Guyra township and surrounding villages of Ben Lomond, Ebor and Tingha.
Local MP Adam Marshall has been collecting views on the name, in an informal poll that will guide his advice to Local Government Minister Paul Toole on whether the current name should be changed, and if so, to what.
“So far around two-thirds of those who have responded have been in favour of a change,” Mr Marshall said.
“The three most popular, in no particular order, are by far Central New England Council, Northern Tablelands Council and Northern Highlands Council.”
“I’m canvassing opinions on this because the community was given no choice on whether it wanted ‘Armidale Regional Council’.
“Many people have told me that they think this name does not convey an accurate impression of the demographic or the geography of the council area.
“In fact, that was the opinion of the two merged councils, and the delegate who assessed the original merger proposal. With such strong opposition, I’m giving the community a chance to settle on something more suitable.”
Under Section 207 of the Local Government Act, the name of any council can be changed at any time via proclamation.
“There will never be complete agreement on this name, or any name for that matter,” Mr Marshall said.
“But I’m hoping that this informal poll will give some clear guidance that I can take to the Minister. This is a name that is likely to be around for a very, very long time, so it’s important that we choose well.”
Mr Marshall is urging the community to continue to contact his office with their views.