OPINION: 'Safe' councils need to lend a hand to Kyogle

THE race is now on between councils deemed Unfit for the Future to find a viable partner to merge with or be forced to do so by the State Government.

While Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and Richmond Valley councils survived the cut, Kyogle, Tweed, Tenterfield and Clarence Valley did not.

This is likely to trigger a fresh round of merger talks as the government has cash incentives for councils that get their act together in the next month.

Otherwise the spectre of forced amalgamations looms large.

I really feel for Kyogle as I think the town, shire and mayor have fought the good fight to be financially viable.

Mayor Danielle Mulholland is a fierce advocate for her region and doesn't mind picking up the phone to give me a blast when she feels Kyogle has been wronged.

Just last week we discussed pursuing a campaign to have many of Kyogle's ageing bridges replaced.

This key infrastructure need is something that may be scaring many councils away from merging with Kyogle.

While Lismore, Byron, Ballina and Richmond Valley can breathe a sigh of relief, it may be a time to lend a helping hand to Kyogle.

Many constituents don't like mergers as identity is a big thing and the feeling of being the "poor cousins" in a merged council.

But with millions of dollars on the table to amalgamate, why wouldn't you consider the offer?

It's a chance to pay off some debt and potentially get some infrastructure projects started.



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