Is Tom Wyatt our next mayor?

TOM Wyatt, the man credited with greening Rockhampton, is considering a dramatic return to City Hall.

Mr Wyatt, whose long association with council was severed in controversial fashion when he agreed in October 2008 to a redundancy deal after being disciplined for the death of baby ibises at the Botanic Gardens, is seriously considering a tilt at the office of mayor or a councillor.

“I have been approached by numerous people to throw my hat into the ring,” said the Capricorn Coast-based gardening expert yesterday.

“I haven't made any decision ... I am a spectator, but there is a lot of pressure for me to be there and I will consider this and feel things out.”

The Bulletin understands there are a number of other high-profile candidates queuing up for a crack at the region's top job with an election due next March.

However, former Mount Morgan mayor Gavin Finch is the only one who has confirmed he is a definite challenger to Brad Carter, who previously has said he will run again.

Tim Griffin, who ran third in the 2008 mayoral race, is keeping his cards close to his chest.

Those who have ruled themselves out include Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten, Capricorn Coast councillor Bill Ludwig, former mayoral candidates Vicki Bastin-Byrne and Gerald Victor and prominent businessman Grant Cassidy.

The departure of Mr Wyatt, the long-term Rockhampton City Council parks and recreation manager, so soon after the formation of the new regional council was front-page news in 2008 with many people showing their support.

He had previously been brought back to council in 2000 to take control of the parks and garden department after he had lost the job in 1997 during a controversial council restructure.

Mr Wyatt said he was disappointed in the current direction of council.

“Of course I am disappointed about what is happening,” Mr Wyatt said.

“A lot of people are complaining about how bureaucrats and ex-bureaucrats have taken over council.

“Not all are happy with this outcome.

“Council has to be held accountable.”

He said he had picked up much during more than three decades at City Hall. He started in 1974.

“I'm the only one left who has served under the best, former mayors Rex Pilbeam and Jim Webber,” Mr Wyatt said.

“They taught me a lot of things.

“They taught me how to be frugal, not that this council is that.

“We had minimum debt then compared to now.”

Mr Wyatt is one of several Capricorn Coast identities to join a “high-profile steering committee” formed to review the amalgamation of four councils into one. He said it was clear people weren't happy with the amalgamated council but said he would approach the issue with an open mind.

Cr Carter yesterday said Mr Wyatt was a respected member of the community and well-known in the horticultural industry.

He said he had had a positive contribution over the years to improving community amenities. Cr Carter said he was aware of “a handful of could be” challengers, but not many definite starters.



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