As election day looms for Kempsey Shire Council, the regions first candidates forum was held at South West Rocks on Sunday with the event organised by Voices of South West Rocks Community (VoSWRC).
A welcome to country by Aunty Cheryl started proceedings before seven candidates were given their chance to introduce themselves and answer questions from Macleay Valley residents.
The seven present were Alexandra Wyatt, Arthur Bain, Bruce Raeburn, Troy Irwin, Leo Hauville, Mark Baxter and Noel Selby.
"I think it was a really good turn out from some of the candidates to give the residents of South West Rocks a chance to hear what their platform is," VoSWRC spokesperson Larah Kennedy said.
The main issues residents pressed candidates on were development within SWR, environmental sustainability, community consultation and critical infrastructure.
Through the initiative of VoSWRC, all attendees were given scorecards to rate candidates on eight listed concerns:
Kempsey Shire Residents Association (KSRA) secretary Dick Pearson was delighted with the day's turn out.
"We've been networking with the number of community groups across the shire, slowly getting there so we can cross-pollinate issues of concern and ideas," he said.
"This exercise today is one of the first KSRA has partenered with VoSWRC and Macleay Living Sustainbly to come together on issues we want to get sorted and get a better bunch of people in council.
"Today has been terrific and it was pleasing to see the number of candidates that turned up.
"I would note the absence of some current councillors, only Leo Hauville and Mark Baxter had the courtesy to show up.
"This has been a great day, we hope it drives some enthusiasm to get a new breed in council that operate with integrity and respect."
As one of the co-founders of VoSWRC, Ms Kennedy was happy to see the group reach it's current heights.
"Probably didn't (expect the group to be this big), but I think it's great that it has," she said.
"We were really just a group of concerned citizens and it's just ballooned from there because of the state of development in the town."
Candidate forums will also be held at Stuarts Point Community Hall on November 18 and Crescent Head Community Hall, November 25.
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