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Mike Kent, outside Orford’s Gateway Cafe he built to upgrade the local tourism asset
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Triabunna woodchip dinosaur…all future major proposals go ‘onto the table’ for full transparency.
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A Bicheno blowhard…part of the the natural tourism asset
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Maria uprising sunrising, the guardian icon of the east coast’s natural beauty

It started with the ‘bogan’ slur ( TT here ) and has ended with Gutwein’s cello-sized fiddling with the Local Government Act that now fast-tracks all rate-payers to run for mayor without the need to be a councilor first.

And so, it’s Mike Kent for mayor.

In local pub-talk he recently intimated his interest in candidacy as a councilor, but soon got pub-talked out of it.

“You’d need to establish a defacto party of like-minded entrepreneurs, Mike, or just be a voice in the wilderness.”

“And at our age, Mike let’s just sit back and smell the flowers.”

But Kent really is a Ferdinand and was stung by Mayor Cadart’s ‘bogan’ slur that Kent publicly said sent the Triabunna’s development clock spiraling in reverse by five years for Triabunna.

Kent hasn’t fallen for the city PR man’s damage control six-page release that really translated as: ‘I was taken out of context’.

With October local government elections looming, Kent, the retired Woolworth’s head shebang for decades, doesn’t want a loose-cannon mayor back in the seat.

And according to Chamber of Commerce (of which Kent is Deputy President), observers at a recent meeting, the mayor’s garrulous insistence on pressing ahead with his damage-control campaign, got him deeper into the pit.

He allegedly over-ran his allocated time. Refused to listen to the time-call and demanded to have his say and kicked sand in the face of the rules to boot.

In the immediate wake of the bogan-gaffe, Mayor Cadart refused to call a no-confidence motion in himself and the numbers stacked against him, curiously began to fall. And so what’s going on behind the scenes…the hush-hush, which typifies this council and even intimidates some councilors, continues. How do I know? Some can read the messages inherent in silence.

And so in the wake of the Gutwein-mandate that mayoral qualifying time as councilor has been waived, brings Mike Kent to my front door. He’s gonna have a go…he wants the article I wrote for the Tasmanian Times on the consultancy firm I happened across in a Launceston shopping Centre ( TT here ). He wants to make contact to see if the firm’s expertise covers long-term planning for idyllic seascapes that run from Orford to distant Bicheno and beyond.

Kent came to retire in Orford a few years ago and replaced a run-down corner servo with a modern, popular tourism-orientated cafe…now run by his Olympic medalist diver-daughter Julie.

“We’ve got to tidy up the tourism asset. Modernise it, put out the ‘welcome’ mat from Buckland to Bicheno.”

“But Mike, what about the big picture. The General Manager uses his powers to re-zone rural to Industrial to pave the way for a Tassal fish factory…without public consultation?”

“The mayor has more powers than the non-elected. As mayor I will put every major development on the table. As mayor, I will consult with professional planners who know the rules of beauty and the beast. Our region must have sensitive development. Everything goes on the table.”

Mike Kent is running for mayor. He came to sniff the flowers, but was stung into a bull that now wants to end the bullshit that has spread from Buckland to Bicheno.

Mike is an experienced businessman who wants to see development without the gung-ho….without the silence that in my opinion characterises the Glamorgan Spring-Bay Council.

Perhaps as mayor, with his proven business acumen he becomes a counselor to councilors as well as a flagship for the community…one that doesn’t out of left field, insult and offend its ratepayers with some sort of imperious dummy-spit. A mayor who befriends and welcomes new councilors as part of a team working in consultation for the benefit of the community and the region.

To me, ‘on the table’ means I, as a ratepayer, get to see all the poker-hands around the table before the deal is done. Now Mr Gutwein has made it easier for high-calibre members of the community to go straight into the high-chair, if the ratepayers so choose.

Does Peter Gutwein realise the enormity of this ... new definition of democracy at the coalface?

Bring on the October election. I want to see one door close and another open. Will we get details of what’s happening with the international golf course? Who the new developer is? Is council the new developer? If it’s a good idea, put it on the table. Consult with we who pay the bills…or pick up the bills if a council-sponsored concept fails.

Mike Kent for mayor?

His second vote will be mine.

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