"I NEVER thought it would happen to a boy from Annesley Street."
New mayor Bobby Bourke has spent his first day in the job reflecting on his journey from growing up in a Housing Commission home to working almost two decades on the railways and now leading a city of 45,000 people.
Cr Bourke, 64, won the mayoralty on Wednesday night by defeating Cr Jess Jennings in a two-horse race with the support of councillors Ian North, Warren Aubin, Alex Christian and outgoing mayor Graeme Hanger.
Cr North was elected to his ninth term as deputy mayor with the support of the same five votes.
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After a morning in briefings with Bathurst Regional Council general manager David Sherley and some of the staff who will support him in his new role, Cr Bourke sat down with the Western Advocate to outline the year's priorities.
"The next big project has to be stormwater harvesting and water security," he said.
"We have the land and it should've been done when I was first on council, but no one really saw what this drought was going to bring.
"The drought will take up a lot of time and we'll also be looking at options like a pipeline from Ben Chifley Dam, but we have to start doing it and showing people what we're doing.
"I'm a good talker but I'm also about getting out there and getting it done with a bit of common sense."
Cr Bourke conceded it would be difficult to bring the council together after what had been a fiercely fought campaign for mayor.
"Some are still stuck in their views and they showed that on Wednesday night but the door's always open to the mayor's office any time they want to come in," he said.
Cr Bourke said he was first inspired to enter local government after working with former mayor, the late Kath Knowles.
See the moment Bobby Bourke became mayor ...
He was elected to Bathurst City Council, alongside Cr North, in 2004 and then the first Bathurst Regional Council in 2005.
"I saw Kath as a good community person like me and I just thought that if I wanted to open doors a bit quicker then I would have to be on council," he said.
"I was never in a political party with Kath but she took me under her wing and showed me the ropes.
"I've continued on since her passing trying to be as strong a councillor as she was."
Cr Bourke listed his 10-year campaign to have a crematorium established in Bathurst and his long fight to find a solution for the gasworks eyesore as among his proudest achievements on council, along with the new railway museum that is currently under construction on Havannah Street.
"I was the only councillor that went out to Brewongle to check out the big railway display that the Hennessys [Paul and Bonny] wanted to donate to council but then I got great support from [former mayor] Gary Rush when I contacted him and said this would be great for Bathurst," he said.
"After 18 years working on the railway I feel I've done something for my past work and my colleagues who have gone or are still there.
"My father worked on the railway, my grandfather worked on the railway and my brother still works on the railway so I think I've done my bit for them."
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