Youngest councillor calls it a day

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian

The City of Greater Geraldton’s youngest councillor will officially resign in August.

Lewis Freer was just 19 when he was elected to represent the Chapman Ward in 2015, filling the seat vacated by Desmond Brick.

But as his four-year term comes to an end in October, Cr Freer has moved to Perth to work for a consultancy firm in child protection.

“Sometimes things come up in life and you have to make an informed decision about which way things will go,” he said.

“It was a hard decision to make but it’s a good opportunity.

“It was never my direct intention (to be a councillor), but it’s not something I’m disappointed I’ve done. Being on council has been the privilege of my life so far and if anyone is thinking of doing it, I absolutely encourage it.”

Before he became a councillor, the former Nagle Catholic College student had already made a name for himself in Geraldton.

In 2010, Cr Freer, then 14, led a campaign to restore the Merry-Go-Round by the Sea — also known as the 50¢ Swing — to its former glory after the City decommissioned it.

Despite collecting more than 350 signatures from residents, forcing the council to hold a special electors’ meeting to discuss the issue, the swing remains firmly bolted down next to the Geraldton Visitor Centre.

After graduating from high school, Cr Freer joined The Geraldton Guardian as a journalist, working at the newspaper until his council appointment.

During his time as a councillor the 23-year-old said he was proud he had been able to get the City to review its use of plastics and of playing a part in bringing the City’s budget back in line.

Cr Freer encouraged anyone thinking about running in October’s council election to give it a go.

“In the past couple of months a number of people have asked me how I found (council),” he said.

“Some people have doubts in their mind that they may not have the time or be best placed.

“But if you’ve got half a brain, some time to dedicate towards it, and are willing to work with others, you’ve absolutely got what it takes.” Although Cr Freer described the current team of council councillors as “amazing”, he said he would like to see more diversity in elected members.

“Governments should be representative of the people they’re serving,” he said.

“They should try and have the most diverse bunch of people around the table that best represents the constituents — different ages, Aboriginal people, people of all walks of life.

“That brings a broad range of thoughts and feelings to the table.”

Cr Freer, who will officially resign in August, has not ruled out returning to politics in the future.

His Chapman Ward seat will remain vacant until the council election on October 19.

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