COUNCILLOR John Kitchener is working 12 hour days, seven days a week – not bad for a man who describes himself as retired.
After his election Cr Kitchener was struck by a sudden realisation of his own ignorance.
“I didn’t understand how much work the council does. I don’t think many people realise what a great job council workers do,” he said.
Cr Kitchener has accompanied 42 council services on their daily routines in his 14 months in office.
He’s cleaned the Nowra CBD at 4am and on one memorable occasion helped replace a broken sewerage main.
He says his experiences have changed the way he looked at the world.
“I know how much work goes into maintaining the Shoalhaven,” he said.
“When I go home now I look at the surface of the road, the water treatment, the sewerage system – you see the world through new eyes.”
Cr Kitchener believes many people don’t know how large the Shoalhaven area is.
“There are 49 villages with over 1500km of water mains just for a start,” he said.
“One thing I’ve learned is that there’s no such thing as a five-minute job. People ask, ‘why can’t someone mow a little patch of grass down the road?’
“Well by the time the parks people have loaded the equipment, driven there, unloaded it, done the job and packed up again two hours have gone past.”