Freshening up the council with an entirely new set of leaders is the ambitious centrepiece of Fiona Ziff's election campaign.
The 56-year-old has been a passionate critic of council during her campaign for an improved North Wagga flood levee and now she is looking to make changes from the inside.
Ms Ziff is running as one of the two candidates on the Group F ticket, alongside Rupinder Kaur.
After growing up in Tumut, Ms Ziff spent 25 years living in Sydney before relocating to Wagga about 12 years ago.
She previously owned and operated the Thorne Street Cafe in central Wagga, which she sold in 2020 to focus on advocating for community issues.
Ms Ziff said the stories and complaints she heard from customers at the cafe, as well as her own experiences with council while advocating for North Wagga, inspired her to throw her hat in the ring.
"I literally spoke to thousands and thousands of people while I had the cafe and the message about council was always fairly consistent," she said.
"Residents feel they're being ignored, decisions are being made behind closed doors and it appears developers and big businesses are being put first before the people."
"Wagga seems to want change and if we're going to get that we need a new group of leaders ... that's got to be the start."
To ensure a fresh group is elected, Ms Ziff is encouraging residents to "vote below the line" on their election ballot, which would mean they vote for the specific candidates they'd like to be elected rather than any one group.
If elected, Ms Ziff would potentially not be permitted to vote on issues relating to the North Wagga flood levee due to her conflicts of interest.
She said this possibility made running for council "a really hard decision" but she was confident she could indirectly help the situation by pushing for a more open and transparent council.
"It has been my experience with council and how they have dealt with North Wagga and the amount of decisions being made behind close doors that made me realise why the community is so frustrated," Ms Ziff.
"So even if I can't vote directly on North Wagga issues, I'd be able to facilitate that by making council more open and transparent, which would help that process enormously."
Ms Ziff said she'd be pushing for more involvement from residents and community groups in big decisions to help achieve a more community-driven council.
"On an ongoing day-to-day basis I'd love to utilise social media a bit better and I would love to have more regular community meetings to tap in to the fantastic community groups we have around town," she said.
The former cafe owner also said she has her eyes on Fitzmaurice Street to bring more unique food and retail experiences to the city for residents and visitors alike.
In the lead up to this year's election, The Daily Advertiser has profiled the candidates looking to secure a spot on Wagga City Council.
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