Lochiel’s Sharon Tapscott is one of just two candidates guaranteed of a seat on the Bega Valley Shire Council after her landslide majority of primary votes at the Eden Marine High School polling booth on Saturday.
Mrs Tapscott scored 885 votes there, 634 more than the next most popular candidate, Russell Fitzpatrick of Greigs Flat, in what appears to be a Pambula Hospital driven result, and one that she says was a surprise.
“I’m really pleased – I’m very humbled,” she said.
“I never expected to get that much endorsement.
“I was hoping on behalf of the Pambula hospital that we got that result, but I wasn’t basing it on anything else other than the fact that I really believe the people of the Bega Valley Shire aren’t that stupid as to want to close a hospital of any description.”
While the hospital issue has given Mrs Tapscott a large profile in local media and can be attributed to her success, she said that she now wants to focus on other matters.
“Now we can just get on with doing the job,” she said.
“Council shouldn’t have to be involved in that (the hospital issue) so it’ll be all the other council things I’ll be involved in now.
“Personally for Eden, I think the Port of Eden development needs to be encouraged at all levels.
“Everything has to be considered and all the ramifications for everyone in Eden – it has to be done at an advantage to everyone.
“In the southern half, there’s a problem with recycling that’s upsetting a lot of people and that needs to be revisited.
“The airport has a lot of concerned people.
“We need to get more information and not make any knee-jerk reactions to any long-term hugely expensive commitment for not much gain.
“So that needs to be explored.
“With Wanatta Lane, the National Broadband Network has expressed interest in using the site out there so that needs to be revisited, because to my way of thinking, you can’t have both there.
“It’s not a done deal so that needs to be recalculated.
“The civic centre is also not a done deal and needs to be recalculated on behalf of the majority of people, and the most benefit for the least amount of cost.
“Then there’s Woolworths at Bermagui.
“I don’t know a lot about that at the moment but I hope to go up there and talk with the people to get some information.
“They also have a very nice wharf area there and that’s something we can look at when considering how the Port of Eden may come together.”
When asked if she felt as if she was on a small boat in a big ocean, Mrs Tapscott said, “I do, but I feel fairly sound.
“There are a lot of people who have offered counsel and I know I’d be able to go to a number of resources outside the council.
“After such an endorsement, I do feel the weight of expectation.
“It’s not something I went into lightly or have done before.
“It is something I’m looking forward to and hoping I can make a difference.
“There’s a lot of trepidation, because there are such big issues facing this council at the moment.
“It’s not just the core things like rubbish, rates and roads – although those things need to be right – but now we’ve got these other big issues and the rippling effect from those will be huge.”