Launceston will be well on its way to being the best regional city by the end of Albert van Zetten’s latest term as mayor.
The Tamar River estuary, the City Deal, building stronger relationships with the Northern suburbs, and addressing some traffic issues are on his to do list.
The keys to the city have now been in Alderman van Zetten’s hands for 11 years, and he says he will continue to make the city the best it can be.
The City Deal, the Tamar River and traffic issues will be his initial focuses.
“We’ve done the mall, the Quadrant and Civic Square. St John Street will be next year and then we’ll start stage two which is other streets around the city, so we will need other funding to make that happen,” he said.
“Another part is the Tamar Estuary. We have to make sure that the $94 million gets rolled out and spent and starts to make a difference and it starts to clean up.”
After being the City Mission chief executive for about 18 years, someone suggested he put his hand up for a spot at the City of Launceston council table.
“I got in pretty comfortably under Janie [Finlay] as mayor and two years later I went for mayor and have been ever since,” he said.
“I didn’t just wake up one day and want to get on council, I’ve been encouraged along the way.”
It was that community support which made Alderman van Zetten run for reelection in 2018.
“I was thinking not to [run] because sometimes you can go too long, but there was obliviously just enough support from the people,” he said.
Alderman van Zetten said the council would hopefully continue to work with the University of Tasmania to help with its relocation to Inveresk and focus on improving the Northern suburbs.
“The Northern suburbs is something that I’m passionate about and have worked on with City Mission on the hub [project],” he said.
“We’re still progressing that and I’m hoping that it will be pushed through within the next couple of years.”
The Northern suburbs are some of the most disadvantaged areas in the North, he said, so reducing that gap is a focus for him.
“If we can start to change the culture so people want to go there and be a part of it then we will see a change in the Northern suburbs,” he said. “To me that’s exciting.”
Working with the state and federal government to improve traffic issues around the city, along with completing Riverbend Park, and implementing a cultural strategy are also high on the priority list.
“I see this as very much of an opportunity now to finish off some of the projects, but to also start some new ones as well,” Alderman van Zetten said.
“I really want to work together with the chamber and Cityprom to make sure that we continue to grow this city to become the best regional city and one that people strive to become.”
Alderman van Zetten said he will continue to work with the people the public had elected, just as he had for the last 11 years.
“I’ve spoken to them all – I did ring them just to say hello and let them know my door is always open and that I’m open to talking one on one with them,” he said.
“I’ll try and get people to realise we’re part of a team and we have to work as a team around the table to get the best for the community.”
However, he doesn’t doubt there will be some strong differences of opinions during times.
“But that is what people have elected and we now need to work from that to come up with solutions for the issues.”
Danny Gibson was elected as deputy mayor. Alderman Gibson has been on the council since 2005 and said he was delighted to be reelected as deputy.
Aldermen Janie Finlay, Hugh McKenzie, Karina Stojansek, Rob Soward and Jim Cox were all reelected.
Andrea Dawkins, Nick Daking, Paul Spencer, Alan Harris and Tim Walker were also elected.
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