Sandow ‘honoured’ to be community’s first female mayor
ELVIE Sandow has made history as the first woman to be elected as mayor of Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council.
She has served her community in different roles at the council chambers for more than 22 years, and is determined to use her extensive knowledge to build on the work laid out by those before her.
The Gundoo Day Care Centre worker defeated incumbent mayor Arnold Murray and six other candidates in the race for the top seat, winning 32.08 per cent of the votes, while runner-up Max Conlon secured 18.6 per cent of votes.
She was declared mayor with 22 per cent of the votes yet to be counted.
Mayor Sandow said she dedicated her victory to her role models.
"I would like to dedicate this win to my two late grandmothers," Cr Sandow said.
"I was raised by them and am a strong woman because of them.
"I feel very honoured to be the first female mayor of Cherbourg."
Cr Sandow previously served as the Deputy Mayor of Cherbourg from 2016 to 2020.
She said during that tenure the council's greatest achievement was the installation of a long-awaited project.
"Our previous mayor and councillors fought hard to get a new water treatment plant," she said.
"After 60 years we finally got the approval and the $60 million project was installed just outside of the community."
Cr Sandow said her first priority as mayor was to tackle the coronavirus threat, which her predecessor Arnold Murray called the "biggest threat to our community in its history".
"At the moment my concerns are around the wellbeing of our elders and people in our community," she said.
"The health of our community is paramount.
"We are going to focus on getting through COVID-19 for the next six months, it might even be nine months.
"My message to the community is that they need to listen to the advice and take precautions. "The government are doing these things … because once it gets into the community, it won't get out.
"We can't let it get into our community because we have a lot of vulnerable elders and young people."
Cr Sandow said she would resign from her position at Gundoo Day Care Centre in Cherbourg so she could dedicate her full attention to her new role.
"My passion is early childhood education and laying the foundation for these children," she said.
"They are our future generations.
"I am here today because people in the community put me here.
"They want honest answers and good leadership.
"I know I will have my hands full because being a mayor in an Aboriginal community you can't run away because they know where you live," she said jokingly.
Cr Sandow will be joined by declared Cherbourg councillors Bronwyn Douglas, Leighton Costello, Fred Cobbo and returning councillor Tom Langton.