JOHN Fry's retirement from Bathurst Regional Council could be over before it's begun after the councillor backflipped on his plan not to contest the local government election in September.
Cr Fry has agreed to take over the lead position on a ticket previously headed by Cathie Hale after Ms Hale stepped down due to a "personal/family crisis".
She will now run as the number two on the ticket supporting Cr Fry, who will be seeking re-election after serving a four-year term on council.
Cr Fry was elected to council in 2017 as a Greens-endorsed candidate and while this new ticket will have a decidedly green feel, it will run as an independent group.
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Cr Fry said he only been approached this week about heading the ticket and had agreed on Wednesday to take up the challenge.
One of the reasons he had decided to retire from council was a concern that interstate work would mean he was unavailable for too many meetings but Cr Fry said that work has now been put on hold due to COVID.
Cr Fry said he was happy to stand on his record over the past four years and acknowledged that while incumbency had traditionally been an advantage at the ballot box, the recent turmoil within the chamber could have many voters looking for new faces.
"I will be standing on a platform of restoring faith in the system, restoring the environment and restoring our democracy," Cr Fry said.
"I will happily stand on my record and the decisions I've made. I don't back away from anything I've said.
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"But everyone cops a bit of damage when you're part of a dysfunctional council no matter whether you're right or wrong so that will definitely be a factor [for voters].
"Particularly when there is such a large group of candidates running this year I think the potential for change is quite large."
Cr Fry said water security remained a key issue for the council and labelled calls to again raise the Ben Chifley Dam wall an "uninformed dream".
"A better option is restoring the catchment, gravel beds and wetlands to their original function and that will effectively make the catchment like a sponge," he said.
Ms Hale said it was with "much regret" that she was stepping down from the lead position on the ticket and she thanked those who had supported her.
"I wish to thank my loyal team of Catherine Cox, Roz Townsend, Dr Jim Blackwood and Rohan Hale for their hearty support," Ms Hale said.
"I would also like to thank my campaign volunteers Kevin Ng, Stephanie Luke, Dr Juanita Kwok and Kathy Cameron.
"This ticket will be dissolved for now but we keep in mind the next election is just three years away."
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