THAT TIME AGAIN: For the second time in just two years, Cr Rick Vela will be putting himself at the mercy of the Lockyer Valley ratepayers.
THAT TIME AGAIN: For the second time in just two years, Cr Rick Vela will be putting himself at the mercy of the Lockyer Valley ratepayers.

Newest councillor’s bid to stick around for ‘exciting’ term

RICK Vela came into the Lockyer Valley Regional Council just two years ago in a by-election – and there’s still plenty he wants to do.

The Laidley jeweller claimed victory in the 2018 by-election triggered by Jim McDonald’s ascent into state parliament.

With just half a term under his belt, Cr Vela feels there’s plenty more for him to give the community.

“We’re sort of part way through the job,” Cr Vela said.

“We’re just probably the first kilometre into a marathon. And it’ll be over this next four years that real change and growth happens within the organisation.”

With the completion of the organisational effectiveness review, a new corporate structure in place and further work on the upcoming budget, he said the next four years would be “exciting”.

He rated his performance in the past two years as a “solid seven”.

“I’m always very self-critical, so I don’t know (what to rate myself),” he said.

“I’ll know six weeks at the polling both, up until that point you don’t know what people’s perception of you is.”

He believed the sitting council’s great strength was the “cooperative nature” of the councillors.

In the coming four years, he said the region’s greatest challenge would be keeping up with needed infrastructure as the region grows.

He said the current council’s approach of focusing on the renewal of the assets already built, including major items like roads and halls but also things the public didn’t see like stormwater drains.

“The focus on this council certainly has been over the past couple of years and will continue to be around those renewals,” he said.

“So just trying to do the best to maintain the assets that we’ve got to ensure that they’re at a serviceable level and not being run down.”