Out of the blocks early

THERE’S an early bird for the Vincent council elections in October, with Beaufort Street Network chair Joshua O’Keefe announcing he’ll run for South Ward.

Usually candidates don’t announce they’re running for council until a few weeks out from polling day, but Mr O’Keefe says “the conversation about the future of Vincent deserves more than just a one-month burst on Instagram or Facebook with a prospective candidate.”

Mr O’Keefe was elected chair of the Network in July last year, as the strip was in the throes of financial struggles and store closures.

Making the best of a bad hand he’s worked on the Brighter Beaufort Action Plan, and has successfully lobbied Stirling Council to start working with the Network on the northern section of Walcott Street.

• Joshua O’Keefe with some of the “Art on Beaufort” works that have been put up during the water mains replacement works.

He says he often talks to traders, shoppers and landlords and “the news seems to be bad lately, but this just gives me more drive to help turn it around – if I am elected to council with these strong relationships already in place, it will only benefit our town centres when tough decisions have to be made”.

Mr O’Keefe has previously worked as a planner at Vincent council and is now a year 6 teacher.

He says “Vincent Council has been in a ‘steady as she goes’ state for a while now and it’s time to get some fresh blood at the big table by someone who will challenge the status quo.”

Both spots in Vincent’s south ward are up for grabs, and incumbent councillors Susan Gontaszewski and Jimmy Murphy said they are keen to run again.

by DAVID BELL

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