Cootamundra local Les Boyd has been a resident in town for over 50 years, commencing his first term as an elected Councillor for Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council in February 2022.
Boyd is an experienced member of the community as well as respected sports role model, of course, carving out a career in rugby league earlier on in his life.
Cr Boyd felt there was a need for a change in representation and a stronger voice for Cootamundra residents when he was running for election on Council.
He hoped his input and experience would help make decisions to address financial stability for Council, address the shortage of housing within the area, and assist all communities within the region to grow and prosper, however, as Les has found out, not everything on Council moves as quickly as he would like.
The Times caught up with Cr Boyd to get his views on his opening term on Council and how things have gone.
“If I was going to say anything, it’s probably very frustrating. I didn’t realise the protocols, the red tape, and the procedures you’ve got to go through to try to get things done. It’s sometimes ridiculous,” Cr Boyd said.
“It just takes forever to try and achieve something. There are things that need doing and still take forever to get achieved.
“I spoke up about three months ago at Council and said that I’ve been on Council for just over 12 months, and apart from the demerger which both Council’s agreed they wanted, honestly there’s not a lot that’s been achieved.
“It’s probably partly to do with the demerger, there’s not much that can go ahead for the next four months until the two Councils demerge.
“There’s a lot of things in the pipeline that need fixing. In Cootamundra for instance, the creek needs to be looked at, our roads – which is common with every Council at the moment, housing, there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be looked at and has been looked at, but the time that it takes to change and do things is ridiculous.
“The bureaucratic red tape that’s involved in Council just makes it so hard. I think builders and people that are doing any development work in Cootamundra, are crippled by probably the worst building laws in Australia in my opinion. It’s just so frustrating for people in the building industry.”
Boyd also discussed why he wanted to get involved with Council in the first place, and why his opinions have changed since his election.
“I just thought it’d [running for Council] be an opportunity to represent the people and to get some things done in the Council. But I’ve found that it’s not that easy to get things done,” Cr Boyd said.
“I wouldn’t ever do it again. I think it’d be better when it is basically just a Cootamundra Council, not a Cootamundra-Gundagai Council because there is animosity between the two communities.
“Both communities are basically fighting for their own constituents. Even though we are a merged Council.
The Gundagai people want things done for their community and we want things done for our community, and it is a bit frustrating at times.
“There hasn’t been any great highlights for me on Council in my first 18 months, apart from the demerger which I think every person in both communities wanted. “Livvi’s Place playground has been good for Cootamundra.
I was very apprehensive when I first saw it when they were building it. I thought this is terrible, we’ve got a beautiful park and we are mucking it up, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was opened.
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