Councillor profiles - Mayor Martyn Evans Derwent Valley Council
Lure of the river
I’ve been a resident of the Derwent Valley for about three decades now. The lifestyle and the community connectedness of a diverse population, added to the laconic beauty of the Derwent Valley, was an irresistible lure. My first introduction to the region came when I was seven, and a local neighbour took me under his wing and introduced me to fly-fishing on the Derwent River. The love affair with the river and region was later cemented when I took up a position in the New Norfolk Football team and local cricket club. I went on to establish a business in the area and also met my future wife. I began to develop a keen interest in the issues of the region. Someone told me around that time, you can’t have a say without being on the Council. That’s how I got started. It’s a decision I’ve always been glad I made.
Supporting young people
After 18 months as a councillor, I was elected Mayor – one of the youngest ever in Australia. I feel I’ve grown into the role over the years in my own way. I’ve wanted to take the time to connect the Mayor role with people on the street – young people especially. They’re my special passion and I hope I’ve been a good conduit between community and Council.
In the time squeezed between mayoral duties, I’m engaged in a training and marketing consultancy, with a focus on assisting people find employment by managing labour hire contracts. This role has connected me to my passion and community even more strongly and has provided a deep understanding of the social issues facing our region.
The Derwent Valley was once a well-funded region, with high levels of employment and several major industries keeping the economy humming along. With the changes to the local businesses who’ve been streamlining practices, the subsequent downsizing of their workforces and then large employers like Royal Derwent Hospital closing, I feel like we’ve lost a generation in terms of supporting and promoting the skills and engagement of young people. We’re now catching up, creating a climate to encourage investment by new businesses for a modern economy.
Revitalising the region
I’ve encouraged Council to go into bat for education and we have supported the introduction of new technologies into schools in the region. I’ve also been involved with setting in place the Derwent Valley Scholarship Fund, which has funded interstate travel for young sport players and creative arts participants.
Over the years, there have been a few achievements of which I am particularly proud. High Street New Norfolk was in a very run-down condition in the early years of my tenure as Mayor. Our Council fixed that, facilitated a new supermarket development, started to campaign for better funding for tourism ventures in our region and we were thrilled to host the Dark Mofo event in 2015, which started a revolution in peoples’ perception of our region and what is has to offer.
There is still much on the agenda for the remainder of my time as Mayor of the Derwent Valley, but I’ve announced I’ll be stepping down from the role with the Council at the next election in October 2018.
Before then, there’s talk of a friendly city relationship with a significant city in China, the revitalisation of the railway, and the Maydena Bike Trail development.
ost-council, I want to take a step back. I want to assess the past decade and get some new perspective on my life. I plan to spend more time with the people I love, to seek new ways to support the community. Who knows what that next challenge will be?