Bob Sloane says he plans to take on another term with The Barossa Council as mayor.
Equipped with a lengthy business and finance background, Mr Sloane explained how his first term was to “set things up”, while he is keen to use the second to see “those things finished”.
“That was my plan after I took over from (the late) Brian Hurn,” Mr Sloane said.
The Tanunda resident’s second term outlook refers to outcomes from the council’s ambitious Big Project; a road map of community’s facility upgrades, including sporting grounds, with a 50-year horizon.
“I think the most significant thing to have an impact now and for many years to come is getting our budget to the position where we can apply for the grant for the big project,” he said.
“We’ve revisited our budget and really cut it down to a point where we have got enough money there to fund our borrowings for the work that goes ahead for this grant, but we can go ahead and do this without this.”
This means the council’s footpath program and roads’ maintenance will continue.
Mr Sloane agreed that he is a mayor who continually attends meetings and events, and is always there to promote the Barossa.
“I said to my wife (Robyn) when I was going to stand for mayor four and half years ago, look, I am going to make it a full time job, and I continue to do it and will continue to do it for the next four years,” he said.
“There’s a lot of work going on in the council, both small and large and a lot of visitors coming to our area who want to invest in our area.
“I meet with RDA Barossa to meet people in groups who like to see the Mayor turn up to and have a chat,”
Mr Sloane shared how he was moved to the Barossa in 1982 by an insurance company he was working for at the time in Port Lincoln.
“I left that, then bought Barossa Insurance in Murray Street, Nuriootpa and ran it for 13 years before selling to Ken Hampel,” he explained.
A year later and Mr Sloane became Faith Lutheran School’s development director for marketing and fundraising, lasting over six years and later the business manager at Lincoln College at North Adelaide for more than three years.
“In that time I organised a $2 million bequest for them which now provides up to five, full scholarships every year for that college,” he said.
Mr Sloane believes his business background is a major driving factor in supporting his role as mayor.
“I have been able to work with the finance people and I have been able to work with people in the community to develop strong business plans.”
As for the completion of community assets, his greatest achievement in his first term is the completion of Nuriootpa’s Flood Mitigation, providing praise to the council, including the efforts of project and engineers such as Steven Kaesler.
“We have set up something unique in Australia,” he said.
“Last week about 40 people came out and looked at the wall, and we showed them what it was like about the whole process talked to them.
“It’s a great model and being investigated by councils across Australia.”
The long-awaited opening of Warren Reservoir in January also sits high on his achievement list.
“The whole council was involved, including Bim (Michael Lange) with his contacts, and the Minister finally came on board.
“We’d like to continue that type of work and by upgrading the ovals including Queen Victoria Park at Williamstown to bring a new road entrance in there so we can get people in out during an emergency.”
As for questions about council biting off more than it can chew with the Big Project, Mr Sloane assured, “it won’t be done over night”.
“If we get the money for it we start on things like ovals and an art centre and gradually another oval.
“We need to keep on developing things gradually but we can’t it all at once, physically we can’t and financially it would ruin us.
Mr Sloane maintains The Barossa Council has a “very good” reputation across rural SA.
“As mayor of the council I attend meetings with mayors from other states two to three times a year and we are able to converse regularly….especially those who have similar issues in their council areas,” he said.
Mr Sloane sits on the Legatus Group after recently been reappointed as deputy chair and also sits with SA Regional Organisation of Councils (SAROC), the Penrice Community Consultative Group for the past seven years to oversee operations of the mine, plus the Gawler River Flood Management Authority group.
“I am using those profiles to promote the Barossa Council so we do get much benefit out of this more than people might think.”
A win for Mr Sloane this week included the state budget hand down of funds to support a case study for a Barossa hospital.
“Finally in this week’s budget a little bit of money to progress it for discussion,” he said.
Mr Sloane explained how he was the last chair of the Barossa Area Health Service when the two hospitals merged with one chief executive officer.
“Government said if you have one ceo and merge you will get positive outcomes form that and we will built you a new hospital,” he said.
The plans were created and a group continue to meet with Schubert MP Stephan Knoll.
“I don’t want to hold my breath because I reckon it will run out of air before it’s built but at least it’s getting a bit closer and people are starting to have a look.
“We have really go to have this progressed with a good strong working party onto this.”
Having watched council evolve over the years Mr Sloane said a lot more pressure and responsibility is now placed on councils through government and community expectations.
However, he referred to the council as “dynamic” in moving forward.
“I feel very comfortable when I work with these people; they are very professional with positive outcomes for most of the things we do and we don’t win everything.”
“I know what’s good about us and we will keep doing this and that’s why I continue to have a lot of people in the community saying, hey you are doing a great job.”