Long-time Liberal councillor Fiona Creed has withdrawn from the party's local government pre-selection process after an apparent lack of support was shaping up to deliver the numbers to her opponent.
A vote of local branches had been due to be held on June 19 after Clr Creed and Blue Mountains Young Liberals president, 21-year-old Brendan Christie, put their names forward for pre-selection for Ward 4.
But the Gazette understands the numbers were firming in favour of Mr Christie, and Clr Creed decided to withdraw her nomination ahead of the vote last week.
In a statement to the Gazette on Monday, Clr Creed left open the possibility she would run as an independent.
“After careful consideration I have formally withdrawn from the Liberal pre-selection for Ward 4 of the Blue Mountains City Council,” she said in the statement.
“I have advised the state director of the Liberal Party of my decision, which came after discussions with my family, friends and supporters.
“Whilst this decision has been hard to make it is in my best interests at this time.
“I have been approached by a number of people in the community, who have asked me to consider running for another term.
“I will be making no further comments at this stage and will consult with my family, residents and community groups before making a decision.”
Sources have denied the move was anything to do with factional wrangling or deployment of numbers.
Clr Creed's withdrawal clears the way for Mr Christie to be the Liberal candidate for Ward 4 at the September local government elections, subject to the party's state executive endorsing him.
It is the first time since the Liberals started endorsing candidates in 1999 that a sitting Blue Mountains councillor has withdrawn a pre-selection nomination after being challenged, sources said.
Clr Creed was narrowly elected at the 2002 by-election sparked by the death of Blue Mountains First councillor Sharon Burridge following a recount that placed her just four votes ahead of Blue Mountains First contender, Mike Wortley, before going on to contest a further two elections.
She also launched a bid for Liberal pre-selection at the 2011 state election that delivered a decisive victory for Roza Sage, who then went on to become Blue Mountains MP.
The council will have a number of new faces come September, with several other current councillors indicating they did not intend to re-contest their seats.
Clr Creed said she would continue to work hard representing her ward.
“As a sitting councillor, I will continue to represent the residents and ratepayers of Ward 4, as I have done for the last 10 years, to ensure their interests are heard in the council,” she said.
“I have been proud to represent my community where I have lived for over thirty eight years and where I have raised my family, as an endorsed Liberal.
“I am proud of the outcomes I have achieved whilst on council which I hope have benefited the community in which I live.”
Meanwhile, highway campaigner Bruce Roberts has announced he will stand as an independent for Ward 4 at the September elections.
Mr Roberts appeared in the Gazette early last month following the release of Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) plans to install a concrete barrier along the Great Western Highway, saying M4-style cabling would better suit the amenity of the area.
Raised in Glenbrook, Mr Roberts now lives in Warrimoo with his wife and two children and runs a small property maintenance business as well as working for TAFE as a first aid instructor.
“I am running for council as I believe there needs to be a fine balance between maintaining out environment and having growth of the community and business within this city as well as unifying the entire city and not having the segregation of Upper and Lower Mountains,” he said.