Mayor calls it quits
AFTER 20 years with Ballina Shire Council, mayor Phillip Silver has decided it's time to step down.
He will not run for council at the September elections.
"Nobody owns the job; it's not mine," he said.
"I've been thinking about this for a while now and I really think it's the right time.
"It's a demanding job and I want to spent more time with my family.
"And after 20 years on the council, I think I have done my bit and I am looking forward to doing other things."
Being the mayor of one of the state's fastest growing shires is a tough job, Cr Silver concedes, but one he has loved.
He first campaigned for election in C Ward in 1990 but was unsuccessful. Two years later he claimed victory at a by-election.
After 10 years Cr Silver decided to run for mayor and has kept the position ever since.
"You don't learn Mayor 101 at university," he said.
"You learn as you go. Certainly in the last five years I have had the benefit and good judgment of our general manager, Paul Hickey.
"I would also like to thank my assistant, Sandra Bailey, and the councillors and the voters who have given me this privilege."
There have been many highlights for Cr Silver over the years.
Of the major community infrastructure projects, he points to the Lennox community centre, the soon-to-be-built Ballina surf club and upgrades to the West Ballina Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Working towards dual reticulation for greenfield developments was a "forward thinking" policy, and he is proud of the council's commercial activities.
But Cr Silver admits there are some projects which he hasn't been able to see to fruition, such as the Ballina to Lennox Head coastal pathway, which is "close to having a satisfactory outcome".
He is also keen to see the formation of a single county council, merging Rous Water, Richmond River County Council and Far North Coast Weeds.
This is something he will work towards right up to the end.
"It is logical to create a single entity with an enhanced charter," Cr Silver said.
He has been involved with Rous Water for 18 years, including seven as chairman, and is the current president of NOROC. He has been chair of the NSW Country Mayors Association, chair of Northern Rivers Arts and deputy chair of Regional Arts NSW.
While Cr Silver isn't quite sure what he will do once he steps down, it will involve spending more time with his family.
He might study at university or even write a book.
But will he be able to resist the temptation of heading to the council chambers on the fourth Thursday of the month?
"If I happen to be in Ballina on that day, I might drop by," he said.
"I'm definitely going to miss it."
THE MAYOR'S HIGHLIGHTS
Upgrades to the Ballina, Wardell, Alstonville and Lennox Head CBDs.
Major community projects such as the art gallery, Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre, the new Ballina surf club and improvements to the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum.
The opening of the Ballina and Alstonville bypasses.