20.7 C
Byron Shire
December 3, 2021

Cr Neil Marks: ‘The work of Councillors and Council is so important’

Latest News

Accusations of false dam claims in Cr Cadwallader’s mayoral campaign

Ballina Shire Council candidates against the idea of a new dam in Byron’s hinterland are accusing fellow candidate Sharon Cadwallader of false claims in her electoral campaign.

Other News

Firefighters receive lifetime membership

During the 2019–20 Black Summer fires, we were reminded what a vital and important role the volunteers of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) play both in fighting fires, and bringing the community together. 

The no-dam business case

There are groups standing for election next Saturday who are composed mainly of high profile business people. Many people...

Lismore Council elections

I’m somewhat bemused by the candidates for the Lismore Council election. One ticket has 14 candidates, when there are...

Water security needed and that means we need to think beyond the traditional dam

As two professional engineers, each with over 40 years of experience in the water industry, we support Rous County Council’s decision to start tapping into underground water resources to meet the growing water supply needs of our region.

Realistic, local agendas!

On Saturday 4 December we need to vote for people who focus on issues that can be controlled by...

Grumpy Grandma’s 

There are few in the region who aren’t familiar with Grumpy Grandma’s olives. Tim Stone and his wife Lynne...

The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Candidates have until noon on Wednesday, November 3 to register with the NSW Electoral Commission.

The Echo is inviting all of the Lismore mayoral candidates to a photoshoot and to answer the same 20 questions.

Lismore Councillor Neil Marks. Photo Tree Faerie

Cr Neil Marks is an independent candidate running for Mayor and he has already served on Council for 13 years.

1. What are your intentions and hopes for the December election and beyond?

First up to survive as elections can be gruelling to say the least. Also, to bring as many members of my team onto Council as possible.

What we hope to do is bring about some positive change and growth in the area.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenges for the Lismore LGA going forward?

Money, or the lack of it. We have an ever-growing list of assets that get paid for by grants but take Councils own diminishing money to maintain and eventually replace.

This situation has been coming for years but we have reached a peak situation that needs to be dealt with now. We need to get both the State and Federal governments on board as this is a situation that has come about over generations and is beyond Council’s ability to repair.

3. What do you personally see as the most popular decision of this council?

To continue to work with developers to produce blocks for urban and rural growth.

When I originally came to Council it was on the back of growth and since then we have been able to increase the amount of residential land available after many years of a stalemate situation.

4. What do you personally see as the most unpopular decision of this council?

Not following through on the above at times.

This frustrates those looking for blocks to build on and those wanting to supply them.

This also frustrates many in the business world because they know that more homes and happy families is good for business.

5. What’s been frustrating, and why?

Not being able to deliver at times what you believe is good for the community. It is frustrating when you can see a reasonable solution to  a situation and others are not willing to compromise and just give a blunt NO. That is an easy option to take whereas working with all interested parties takes a bit of effort, effort some are not willing to take.

6. What could Council do better?

Communicate. As an organisation it does some amazing work but fails to get the story out strongly enough to get past the naysayers in the community.

7. Are you interested in representing Lismore on Rous CC?

Yes I have always aspired to be an LCC representative on Rous, but those positions only go to those on the majority side of Council, one of which I have not been.

8. What is your view on the Dunoon/Channon dam?

It is no secret that I have been a supporter of continuing investigation into a dam at Dunoon. It has many benefits to the long-term water security of our expanding region.

9. How do you see Council’s relationship with the business community?

At times fractured as it is sometimes within the business community. Council has a part to play in the continuing revitalisation of the CBD especially but cannot forget about the industrial and manufacturing areas of the LGA along with our strong agricultural sector.

It must be able to navigate a path ensuring that all areas are brought along for the ride. Communication is key.

10. What do feel is the best way to deal with the issue of flooding?

Lismore floods and always will so better preparedness for the inevitable next event is the key to surviving such things.

Making sure those who are to be most affected are aware and to be ready when the time comes.

Modifications to our levee system can be made but eventually mother nature will give us more water than we can handle so being aware and prepared is the best we can be.

11. Why did you originally decide to get involved with local government?

As mentioned previously it was the lack of growth and housing opportunity that got me looking to run for Council. In particular the McLean’s Ridges development that was faltering due to the antics of some of the councillors at the time. We eventually got the thing moving in the early stages of my first term and now many people call it home.

12. How do you feel about that decision now?

Great, and I wish there were more positive stories like that to tell.

There are more development areas now than we have made for many years, but we can always do better.

13. Do you have any political ambitions beyond local government?

Before Council I had a tilt at Federal preselection after the retirement of Ian Causley. I did well but not well enough. Now it is Council matters in my heart.

14. How do you feel the Lismore LGA is coping with COVID?

As a community, I think we have done really well but as we come out of this nightmare we need to show our support for those truly local businesses that have managed to hang on by hard work and determination.

15. Do you feel Council is doing enough to support Indigenous residents?

I have been lucky to be the chair of the Aboriginal Advisory Group that assists Council. This has been an amazing learning experience for me personally and for that opportunity I will be forever grateful.

Council does its best to engage with the local Aboriginal community on so many levels but as in everything in life we can always do better.

As they have taught me “lets just keep talking and eventually we will all understand each other”

16. What is your favourite pizza topping?

Sun-dried tomatoes

17. What do you see as the highlights of Council since the last election?

This is a tough one for me personally as it has been an extremely frustrating term.

Ultimately it would have been the ability to work with all areas of the community through the floods, fires and Covid19 situations. Our ability to continually work as an organisation for the betterment of the community and to be agile enough to work in these difficult situations.

18. What do you see as the low point of Council since the last election?

The lack of trust between Councillors and between Councillors and Staff and visa versa.

The work of Councillors and Council is so important and if there is no trust it makes the job almost impossible to do.

We can all disagree, but we need to trust that we are all doing our best for the community.

19. In one sentence, why should people vote for you/ what do you bring to the table that the others don’t?

In my time on Council, I have never been on the majority side, so I have had to learn with all sides of the Council makeup. In doing this you can lobby for change and progress where you see it needed and can hopefully bring others along with you. Even those who don’t agree will always understand and respect where you are coming from.

This is a skill that is needed by all good leaders and one that will be needed by the next Mayor in asking the State and Federal governments for the true assistance we need.

20. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Councils’ financial situation needs dramatic attention and soon this is the area of most concern. It will take someone with immense skill as a leader to get the attention of the other levels of Government to get the help we need and deserve.

We as a community can only do so much ourselves and we need to show that we are doing that to make others aware that we are all in this together.

Fixing an old bridge or road is as sexy as opening a new and shiny facility and means more to our community at this time.


The Echo will publish profiles of all the Lismore Mayoral candidates in the coming weeks.

Recent stories, information and updates regarding the Lismore Elections

Lismore saw one new case of COVID-19

A new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lismore in the 24 hours to 8pm 30 November.


Lismore Residents Action Group say ‘no’ to Increased flight training

The Lismore Residents Action Group say they do not object to the future development of the airport, they say they are specifically concerned about the considerable increase in aircraft noise caused by flight training.


Wilsons River flood peak and flooding not expected for Tweed, Rouse,...

The prediction provided by the Bureau of Meteorology expects that locals around the Wilsons River at Lismore will see the river peak this afternoon at 4.20m. However, ‘Flooding is no longer expected in the Tweed, Rouse, Brunswick River catchments.


Laurel Lodge open for community housing

North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) has officially opened 12 refurbished fit-for-purpose homes in the former Lismore Base Hospital accommodation known as Laurel Lodge.


Lismore Councillor candidate bios – Group E: Our Sustainable Future

The Echo asked all the Lismore Councillor candidates to send in a bio. Led by current Councillor Elly Bird, the Our Sustainable Future team is Group E.


Lismore Councillor candidate bios – Group A: Labor

The Echo asked all the Lismore election Councillor candidates to send in a bio. First cab off the rank was current Councillor Darlene Cook and Group A.


COVID update – Aquarius, Lismore sewage fragments and the South African...

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in the 24 hours to 8pm 28 November, but, they are urging residents in the Lismore area to be alert for COVID-19 symptoms.


Funding for Rural Landholder projects in 2022

The closing date for applications to join the Rural Landholder Initiative project is looming and rural property owners are encouraged to apply for funds to help improve their land. The Rural Landholder Initiative assists landholders through education and incentives and...


CWA has ready for the Christmas (w)rap

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) has been supporting women, children and their communities in NSW for almost a century and this year at Christmas they are even helping you sort your gifts. They have wrap and they have gifts to...


The nitty-gritty with the Lismore Mayoral candidates

Last month The Echo asked the Lismore Mayoral candidates 20 questions* about their thoughts, ideas and pizza, and as we approach voting day, we asked each candidate questions about their party, their preparation and their process. Each candidate was given...


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. To my way of thinking from the answers Mark is a non-descript, average, generalised, vague but not that vague, middle-road, broad-landscape type councillor.

    • actually if you look at the Lismore app where he bloggs for his family friend Simon Mumford regularly he states he is a member of the Nats but is not paid up!

  2. Why not ask the following questions which in my view are the most important. I want a councillor I can look up to and hold in high regard even though I may not agree with all their policies I want to know that the person is able to make rational unbiased decisions. Lets face it we will never win every argument but we need rational thinkers making decisions. So I suggest you ask

    1. do you understand the need to have unbiased decision making?
    2. Do you know what that means?
    3. Can you understand complex law?
    4. Do you understand you may be personally liable?
    5 Do you understand you are not there to rubber stamp recommendations by staff but have an obligation to ensure the decision making is sound and based upon the law?
    6. What is a conflict of interest?
    7. are you capable to understand when a conflict has arisen?
    8. What would you do if you were conflicted?
    9. What are your views regarding transparency in decision making?



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Minor flooding may occur Friday morning at Coraki and Bungawalbyn

Heavy rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday have caused river level rises along the Richmond and Wilsons Rivers with the Wilsons River peaking overnight and the...

Lismore saw one new case of COVID-19

A new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lismore in the 24 hours to 8pm 30 November.

Want to make your own nest box and help with bushfire recovery on Friday?

Conservation Volunteers Australia are running a nest-building workshop in one of Australia’s most biodiverse hotspots, the Nightcap Range, ‘to create homes and hope for wildlife’.

Storylines – An escape from reality

I am a teacher. I teach at University Canberra, on Ngunnawal country, in ACT. This university went into ‘Lockdown’ about four months ago. We were...