ROAD transport will have an unexpected voice up north with the election of former small fleet owner Pat Ernst to the Townsville City Council.
For many years, Pat was well known in the road transport industry as the owner of Pat's Pick Up Transport Service based at Townsville.
During that time he was an advocate for improvements to the Bruce Hwy which has claimed many lives.
Big Rigs recalls Pat being at a meeting of road transport identities and other interested parties regarding the upgrade of Blakey's Crossing which floods after any decent rain.
Pat was very outspoken about the need to upgrade Blakey's Crossing at a meeting attended by many in the industry and also was a champion for the cause of transport.
Now Pat has been elected as an independent candidate in a come-from-behind victory.
One of 10 councillors elected, Pat trailed Natalie Marr in the primary vote for Division Five by 377.
However, once preference votes were distributed, the 48-year-old Pat ended up winning by 302 votes.
Originally from Innisfail, Pat was a champion rugby league forward in north Queensland and even in France.
He said one of his focuses during the next four years would be transport, a role for which he had great experience, having owned a trucking company.
A man who is not afraid to speak his mind, Pat will add valuable experience to council and was looking forward to the challenge.
Pat is the only independent on council which includes Mayor Jenny Hill, two members of her team and seven others from the Townsville First team.