Full steam ahead for new Hills mayor

CLEARING the infrastructure backlog is at the top of the agenda for new Hills mayor Michelle Byrne.

Cr Byrne was unanimously elected as mayor last Tuesday at an extraordinary council meeting. Cr Andrew Jefferies was elected as deputy mayor.

Cr Byrne, who has resigned from her role at the University of Technology Sydney to take up the mayoralty full-time, said her main priority was for council to roll out local infrastructure while remaining financially conservative.

She is the youngest mayor on the council and the third woman to take on the role.

"I intend to see that council better interacts and communicates its decisions and processes across the community, including the delivery and provision of services across all age groups," Cr Byrne said.

Cr Byrne said her vision for The Hills was of continuing prosperity.

Cr Jefferies, who was first elected to council in 2008, said his being deputy was an honour.

"I've lived in this area all my life and it's an honour and a privilege to serve the community as deputy mayor," Cr Jefferies said.

■The Hills was a very different place when former councillor Larry Bolitho was first elected 29 years ago.

The long-serving councillor, who also served as mayor, retired from the council at last Tuesday’s extraordinary council meeting.

Mr Bolitho said his career highlights included gaining the $375million upgrade of Windsor Road and $355million for the bus transit way and being elected to the Flood Plain Management Association.

He said the shire’s rapid growth brought many changes and challenges for councillors to maintain the balance of those already living in The Hills while accommodating for those who were arriving.

‘‘The challenge going forward will be to make sound decisions that allow growth to occur in a responsible way that maintains our quality of life,’’ Mr Bolitho said.

He said his parting message was one of thanks to the community.

‘‘You have allowed me to play an important role in shaping our community, and contributing to the quality of life we all enjoy in The Hills. 

‘‘I have valued the contribution of every member of the community, particularly our volunteers, in creating a wonderful place to live.

 Former Hills councillors Justin Taunton was elected onto Burwood Council and Labor councillor Barbara Burton was not successful in North Ward.

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