THE much anticipated 2012 Lithgow council election is still five months away but one group of intending candidates has already hit the ground running.
The Lithgow District Forum held another public meeting at Club Lithgow on Tuesday night to introduce the second of the group’s team leaders, Frank Inzitari, a member of a prominent local business family.
Around 80 people turned out for the meeting, representing a wide cross section of the district community.
Other similar meetings have already been held at Portland and Hampton and more are planned across the local government area in the lead up to September.
Forum chairman, prominent Hartley business personality Dick Austen, outlined the group’s aspirations for a new era in Lithgow Council which would involve returning a higher level of decision making to elected councillors and far greater communication between council and the community.
Frank Inzitari said he had been motivated by concerns about the directions — or lack of directions — being taken by Lithgow at a time when other regional centres were surging ahead.
He said there was an urgent need for a new vision for Lithgow to attract population growth and business investment but said a failure to address detrimental image issues such as the old TAFE building and disused petroleum sites remained a disincentive.
“We need to advance to a point where we are not just attracting the so called two dollar shops,” he said.
Mr Inzitari said his family had stayed in Lithgow after migrating from Italy ‘because they loved the place and the friendly people and anted to stay here’.
He said residents should be asking themselves why the Lithgow district with everything going for it in terms of proximity to the coastal strip and outstanding natural beauty was not making greater progress.
Group chairman Dick Austen said that unless the dysfunctional behaviour evident in Lithgow Council was overcome there was a real risk Lithgow would be merged with either Blue Mountains of Bathurst.
Either way would be to Greater Lithgow’s detriment purely on the weight of numbers and conflicting ideological interests.
Also introduced to the meeting was Portland woman Maree Statham who was announced last month as the other team leader for the forum candidates.
Many of those present at Monday night’s meeting signed up to become members of the forum.