Shelley Sutton remembers how Shepparton used to be.
The small business owner is reminded daily of how fortunes have changed.
‘‘It was a really vibrant place,’’ she said.
‘‘It was busy all the time.
‘‘Over the years, it has got slower and slower.’’
So, wearing her high-vis vest, with a hard hat firmly on her head and with an angle grinder directed towards the city’s parking meters — her official election campaign attire — Ms Sutton is standing for Greater Shepparton City Council, hoping ‘‘to bring it back to how it used to be’’.
She believes the once great city needs a bit of love, attention and a more positive attitude collectively.
While Ms Sutton is complementary of the Victoria Park Lake, the showgrounds and the recent Great Things Happen Here campaign in casting a more positive light on Shepparton she thinks attitudes need to improve and for the council to be able to offer other incentives.
She pledges to push for ensuring the region’s water security if elected and hopes the municipality has seen the back of infighting.
‘‘If we haven’t got water, we won’t have anything,’’ she said.
Ms Sutton believed shoppers from outside the region had fallen out of love with shopping in Shepparton and that paid on-street parking could be to blame.
So, Ms Sutton wants to remove parking meters — she supports retaining timed parking, but wants to see CBD parking become free.
As a trade off, she suggested applying a small fee to all day off-street parking.
‘‘There’s been a steady decline, it still seems to be declining,’’ she said of shopping activity in the CBD.
‘‘It’s not a good look, when you drive through town and see all the empty shops.’’
Ms Sutton would also like to see the mall revitalised and said she leaned towards it being re-opened to traffic.
‘‘I don’t think they’ve done anything,’’ she said of the outgoing council’s approach to revitalising the mall.
‘‘I can’t see what they’ve done. We need a heart in Shepparton.’’