Current Barossa Council deputy mayor and retired director of works and engineering Michael ‘Bim’ Lange will contest Mayor Bob Sloane during the local government election in November.
The long-time Williamstown resident’s nomination was officially made on Tuesday when state-wide local government nominations opened.
With 40 years experience in local government, Mr Lange’s humble beginnings saw him work on the tools with the “outside gang”. He later took on opportunities and study to operate as a director with a newly amalgamated council in 1996 – a role lasting 19 years.
“I am confident with my background and understanding of local government to run as mayor,” he told Barossa Herald.
He explained how the latter years as director was ensuring council was providing quality work, effective outcomes with efforts made to keep costs down, yet improve community assets.
“We were constrained with capital works because of our commitment to The Rex,” he said. “I believe we have worked through that period now where we have enormous opportunity.”
Following his retirement, Mr Lange felt it was “crucial” to be involved as councillor and soon completes his first term as elected member.
“I have always had a passion for local government and the community, and what were are able to do to improve the services and infrastructure.”.
Yet Mr Lange shared how he noticed community infrastructure talked about during his work had stalled.
“Things we promised, like Springton community to seal their road and the same for Kalbeeba,” Mr Lange said.
He also refers to the Warren Reservoir which opened to the public for recreational purposes in January this year.
“I believe there is more to happen there with sailing boats and also rowing, and possibly some events could be developed there.”
Having a deep understanding of the region’s history, plus its assets, he was concerned these and community support would be lost among staffing changes within council.
“By coming back as an elected member I could then play my role and fulfill some of those promises,” he said.
“Some of our infrastructure had been marginally neglected but fortunately with the council and the support of councillors we have been able to improve footpaths facilities with ongoing programs.”
With cycling as his passion, Mr Lange has been instrumental in the ongoing upgrade of cycling networks by sitting on several groups, including Seppeltsfield Road Business Alliance.
He supports a shared vision of a path connecting Handorf to the Barossa and onto Clare.
“Importantly, we need to position ourselves with the upgrading of sports facilities with the Big Project and I believer that’s critical for health and lifestyle, which includes cycle paths.”
While Mr Lange continues consultancy work with neighbouring councils, he believes this has helped him better understand the challenges council face, both in the community and behind the council desk.
He furthers sits on smaller working parties with other stakeholders who support the Big Project to assist Mount Pleasant, Queen Victoria Park at Williamstown and also at Nuriootpa.
“If I am elected by the community I would also have a very close working relationship with our local MP.,” he said.
“I think we complement each other well to deliver some good things for the Barossa.”
Meanwhile, council nominations opened on Tuesday, September 4 and close midday Tuesday, September 18.
Voting will be via postal ballot, with ballot papers distributed in October.
Voting closes Friday, November 9 at 5pm.