PROPERTY Council Hunter director Andrew Fletcher has quit the organisation.
The high-profile figure quietly left on February 5 after nearly seven years in the job where he battled out some of Newcastle’s most controversial issues, including the truncation of the rail line, earning him a reputation as “no shrinking violet”.
Mr Fletcher was appointed to the advocacy role in 2011 and before that was head of Hunter Tourism.
He said “the time was right” to go, adding that he was proud of the Hunter chapter’s growth, which coincided with an upswing in new development.
“After seven years in the top job, the time was right for me to look for some new challenges professionally,” he said. “Honestly, it was time for me to do something different.”
Hunter chapter chairman Neil Petherbridge said Mr Fletcher informed him of his resignation on February 5, the day he left.
“It’s a big loss for us,” he said.
He told a Property Council lunch his impact on Newcastle was “without equal”.
“He has truly left his mark,” Mr Petherbridge said.
Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Bob Hawes, who was at the lunch, told the Newcastle Herald he was shocked to hear the news.
Mr Hawes said Mr Fletcher was “no shrinking violet”.
“He was very passionate – like a dog with a bone with a particular issue … a real fighter,” Mr Hawes said.
Mr Hawes said he prosecuted the case for the truncation of the rail line “without fear or favour”, alongside former chamber chief executive, the late Kristen Keegan.
“From a regional perspective, Andrew did a wonderful job to shine a light on increased investment both in the government and private sector,” he said.
Parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald praised Mr Fletcher for his “good vision” and he was “sorry to see him go”.
Others, however, believed the Hunter chapter had become overly political.
“It has become a partisan vehicle,” one said.
In a statement, the Property Council of Australia described Mr Fletcher as a “strong advocate” for the property industry who had achieved “a long list of advocacy wins”.