It's the end of an era for Queanbeyan and district, with long-running mayor Tim Overall deciding to retire from local government.
But it may not be the end of an Overall in local politics, with his wife, local historian and author Nichole Overall, rumoured to be considered as a replacement for retiring Monaro National Party MP John Barilaro.
The Queanbeyan-Palerang mayor has decided to not contest the next local government elections, which are slated for December 4.
"I've been considering my position for some four months now as to whether I would run again," he said.
"When the elections were deferred from September to December because of COVID for the second time, I made the decision it was time to move on."
There have been whispers his wife Nichole was being considered as Mr Barilaro's replacement in NSW Parliament. She is popular in the local area and holds posts including chair of the St Edmund's College Canberra Advisory Council. Mrs Overall has been contacted for comment.
"You'd need to talk to Nichole about that. I know there's been surveying work by political parties in the recent period. Nichole's name has been mentioned. People have been talking to her as they have with myself in the past as well," Cr Overall said.
But he ruled out any tilt at state or federal politics.
"My focus is going to continue to be local and working with the community and community groups in the Queanbeyan-Palerang area," he said.
Cr Overall, who is in his early 70s, was elected to Queanbeyan City Council in 2004 and mayor in 2008.
He remained in the top job from then on, becoming the first mayor of the amalgamated Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council in 2017.
"I'd like to be remembered as someone who delivered on what I committed to, together with my team, being elected to council, along with councillor Trudy Taylor and the late councillor Peter Bray, and Michele Biscotti, deputy mayor, we significantly delivered on what we promised to do," he said.
"I think also to having helped lay the foundation for the progression over the next 10 years. Over the next four years, in train, there are some $380 million worth of capital works across the local government area. So there are some significant projects that are under way and in the latter stages of planning, with funding committed, which are to be delivered."
Mr Overall has presided over a changing Queanbeyan, perhaps no longer "Struggle Town" but a fast growing city that is luring Canberrans over the border with its lifestyle, facilities and cheaper house prices.
"Certainly a lot of people in Canberra who talk to me say Queanbeyan has a new image now and it's one of the fastest-growing regional cities in inland Australia," he said.
"It's a vibrant and exciting place, with a rejuvenation under way for our CBD and an enormous range of projects happening right across the local government area, including Bungendore, Braidwood and wider afield."
Cr Overall's family is firmly established in the development of early Canberra.
His father, Sir John Overall, was the inaugural commissioner of the National Capital Development Commission from 1957 to 1972, and helped to shape the national capital.
He was proud of his family's contribution to the area.
"Oh, absolutely," he said.
"I grew up in a household that was all about town planning and development and I grew up witnessing Canberra's growth from 1958, right through to when I left university and got conscripted into the army and National Service. Exciting times."
Cr Overall anointed his deputy, Michele Biscotti, as the person he would most like to see as mayor in what is likely to be a new-look council following the December 4 poll.
"I'm expecting a lot of postal votes because of COVID so I don't expect a result until early in the new year, we'll have to wait and see," he said.
"To my knowledge, four of the 11 councillors elected in 2017 have indicated they're re-standing. It's going to be pretty much a new council.
"I think Michele Biscotti is seeking re-election with a very strong team and I whole-heartedly support Michele Biscotti and his team. I think he has the experience and he has the platform."
Rival councillor Kenrick Winchester, who has his sights on being mayor, thanked Cr Overall for his service.
"Tim has led our Council admirably for the past 13 years, through the merger with Palerang, and we have seen a number of enhancements and infrastructure upgrades delivered during the period," Mr Winchester said.
"While Tim and I did not agree on a few issues over the years, anyone who commits the time and effort to improving our community deserves a great deal of respect. I would like to pass on my personal thanks for his service. l look forward to continuing to move Queanbeyan, Bungendore and Braidwood forward during the next council term."
Trudy Taylor, a popular councillor and ally of Mr Overall, said her running mate had turned out to be an amazing mentor to her.
"Tim's retirement is sad news for QPRC, but is great for Tim and Nichole," Cr Taylor said.
"Tim has been an amazing leader for our community. We barely knew each other 14 years ago when we put our team together and started our council journey together. Actually, the only thing we had in common was our love for Queanbeyan and our vision to make our home town the best it could be.
"It's been a bit rough at times and we've had to make some decisions that haven't been popular, but they were always made with the greatest intention for majority members of our community. We achieved all our commitments, with only one disappointment - an operating cinema.
"Probably the hardest time was the death of our running mate and friend, Peter Bray. Peter's death was a personal loss to both Tim and myself.
"I'd like to publicly thank Tim for showing confidence in me. He has been a great mentor and has taught me a great deal about political service with honesty and integrity - keeping commitments, staying focused and taking responsibility, not only when it works, but when it doesn't.
"I wish Tim - and Nichole - a long and happy retirement."
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