THE first candidate to go public with his plans to run for Bathurst Regional Council in September is no stranger to the council chambers.
Stuart Pearson has been a regular at council meetings with his wife Ingrid since the pair moved to Bathurst from Sydney about three years ago.
Mr Pearson said they were drawn to Bathurst as a city with a strong economy, healthy growth and within close proximity to Sydney.
But he said the region's history and culture, and the potential to increase tourism through promoting those assets, were also attractive.
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Mr Pearson wants to see Bathurst change focus from sports tourism to cultural tourism, saying there is even more money to be made there.
"A Tourism Australia report last year found that the average person who attends cultural events spends longer and more money per day than a person attending sporting events," he said.
"Four museums, two private museums, Abercrombie House, Elton John, tours of art galleries ... you can have your romantic weekends on the rail here.
"There's a great opportunity for us to do here in Bathurst (with heritage, history and culture) what Orange has done successfully with food and wine.
"... We should be packaging it and marketing to Sydney and beyond. It's what Orange does and we don't."
"I think the second track should be put on hold while we deal with more important matters, such as the ability to drink."Candidate Stuart Pearson
Mr Pearson, who will run as a solo candidate, said water security remained Bathurst's biggest challenge and he would like to see council prioritising it over other projects.
"Water security, at the moment, is number one. The second track at Mount Panorama is not as important to citizens, at the moment, as water security," he said.
"I think the second track should be put on hold while we deal with more important matters, such as the ability to drink."
Mr Pearson said he had worked a variety of jobs before coming to Bathurst, including 10 years as a police officer and police prosecutor, 10 years as a senior master at a Sydney boys' school and time as an author, publishing four biographies and family histories.
He now writes a monthly unpaid column for the Western Advocate that looks at Bathurst through the eyes of a new arrival to the city.
He is scathing of the current council, variously describing the group as petty and lacking in leadership or vision.
He is equally critical of both the current mayor, Bobby Bourke, and his predecessor Graeme Hanger, saying neither should get the top job again.
The council election is on Saturday, September 12.