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Strong interest in vacant Clarence Valley councillor spot

Former GDSC general manager Arthur Lysaught has declared he'll be standing for the vacant Clarence Valley councillor position on February 21.
Former GDSC general manager Arthur Lysaught has declared he'll be standing for the vacant Clarence Valley councillor position on February 21.

NOMINATIONS for the vacant spot on the Clarence Valley Council caused by the death of Jeremy Challacombe will not open until January 12, but already there is one definite contender and some "maybes".

Former general manager of the Grafton District Services Club Arthur Lysaught said he was a definite starter in the poll, which will be held on Saturday, February 21.

The vacancy was created when Cr Challacombe and his wife, Sue, tragically died in a car crash at South Grafton on October 27.

POSSIBLE CANDIDATE: Steve Cansdell.
POSSIBLE CANDIDATE: Steve Cansdell. Jojo Newby

Another high-profile potential candidate is former Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell, who also served 10 years on the Grafton City Council before entering State Parliament.

Mr Cansdell said he'd been lobbied to stand for the position, but was unsure whether to throw his hat in the ring.

"I'm giving it some serious thought over the Christmas period and I will make up my mind then," he said.

Mr Lysaught is also a former Grafton City councillor, who served part of a term when elected more than 20 years ago.

"I was a lot younger and more hot headed in those days," he said.

Mr Lysaught said, at 62, he had a lot to offer the region and the time to commit to the job.

"I've been retired for six months now and want to give a little bit back to this wonderful region," he said.

Mr Lysaught said he agreed with the premise behind the referendum for a popular election for mayor, which will be held at the same time as the by-election.

"The mayor should be elected by the people, not by the aldermen or councillors," he said.

"That way you don't get the sectional interests and personality clashes."

Mr Cansdell, who resigned as Member for Clarence in 2011, said he had been lobbied by a number of people to stand.

"If I stand I will want to make a difference and I know the level of commitment it will take," he said.

"I've been volunteering overseas and I'm working on a number of projects.

"I will have to decide what I'm prepared to sacrifice if I decide to run."

Ecologist Dr Greg Clancy is also considering his options.

Like Mr Cansdell, he will make his mind up next year.

"I'll have to decide if I am more effective on council or working outside it as a lobbyist," he said.

Former Mayor Ian Tiley is also weighing up the pros and cons of standing in a by-election.

The NSW Electoral Commission said nominations will open on January 12 and close a week later.

Topics:  arthur lysaught, clarence valley council, jeremy challacombe, steve cansdell

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