Bundaberg Now spoke to Cr Ross Sommerfeld ahead of his retirement from local government after 12 years as a Councillor.
When Cr Ross Sommerfeld started as a Councillor 12 years ago he left behind a successful career as a surveyor to help progress the region.
“I was frustrated in my chosen career as a consulting surveyor with the number of lost opportunities for Bundaberg,” Ross said.
“Other provincial cities were thriving and promoting growth and I wanted the same for the Bundaberg Region.”
Unlike some Councillors who come in from the “outside” Ross was well versed in the workings of local government.
“I had been dealing with Councils for nearly 30 years and was a regular attender at the ordinary meetings of Bundaberg City Council,” he said.
People the enduring memory
There have been many highlights during Ross’s 12 years as a Councillor, but his enduring memory will be of the people he has worked with.
“I have enjoyed working with the staff in the Executive Office, the general managers and the staff of the Planning and Infrastructure groups, but I think all of our staff are a credit to our Region,” he said.
“One of the biggest impacts were the floods in 2013 and what the whole of Council and the community did.
“It was a massive effort from everyone and left an indelible inprint in my mind.”
Ross believes his experience as a consulting surveyor was instrumental in making the most of his time at Council.
“I’d like to think that I have made a difference,” he said.
“With my skillset I was able to progress the growth of the Region in the delivery of essential infrastructure as well as a Planning Scheme that allows for growth and lifestyle options that are consistent with a modern and progressive Region.
“This was not possible without a majority of Councillors and I am thankful to all those who have supported me, especially with important projects like the extension of Kay McDuff Drive to the Ring Road.”
Looking forward to family time
Ross is now looking forward to more family time.
“It will be great to spend more time with our four grandchildren in Brisbane and hobby farm at Moolboolaman,” he said.
“I will need to find something else to do though, as my wife Linda is scared at the prospect of being home all day with me.”
Ross has many people to thank for the last 12 years as a Councillor.
“I’d especially like to thank my wife Linda and our family, who have always supported me and put up with me when I was abused by a constituent or had a hard day at the office.
“Regrettably I couldn’t tell her a lot of what I had undertaken some days as my role in Council required a lot of confidentiality.
“Linda was used to this as my career as a consulting surveyor also required a high degree of confidentiality.”
In closing Ross gave thanks to the residents of the region.
“I consider it a privilege to have served the Region as a Councillor, thank you one and all.”
- Later this week we'll catch up with Cr Scott Rowleson.