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UPDATED: Former Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood has not ruled out a bid to make a shock comeback to Adelaide City Council.

Yarwood has responded to an InDaily article this morning, citing speculation he may make a bid for Robert Simms’ area ward seat.

Simms, a former Greens adviser, this week put up his hand to replace retiring Greens Senator Penny Wright in federal parliament. Simms would have to resign his position on the council should he be selected to take the Senate seat.

Yarwood released a statement on Facebook this afternoon saying he was focused on his new business venture, consultancy City2050, but did not rule out a bid.

“A by-election (for Simms’ position on council) is not even a reality unless/until Rob Simms vacates the position and that is a fair way from being determined,” the statement says.

“There’s a story today about me running for a possible council position…

“Right now it is gossip and media speculation; the article makes that clear.

“I am 100% focussed on my new business venture and over the next 6 weeks have work in Queensland, New Zealand, Melbourne and Malaysia.

“Discussions on work in India are going exceptionally well, with the possibility of speaking at 2 important events in both October and November to progress my brand, learn more about the challenges India faces and continue my sub-continent networking.”

Yarwood, who now describes himself as an “Urban Futurist”, is in India working for his new consultancy business.

Yarwood was toppled at last year’s election after a single term by new Lord Mayor Martin Haese, who campaigned on a back-to-basics, business-friendly platform.

The return of a former Lord Mayor to the Adelaide City Council, while highly unusual, is not without precedent. Former Lord Mayor Henry Ninio served as an area councillor in the late 1990s after a term leading the council.

Town Hall is buzzing with rumours that Yarwood might seize on the chance to make a similar return, before a possible second shot at the mayorship.

North Ward councillor Phil Martin told InDaily he had heard the speculation.

“Stephen’s name is being talked about openly,” he said.

However, “we really need to see what happens with the Greens’ endorsement”.

“I’d encourage anyone to have a go at any possible vacancy.”

Area councillor Anne Moran said “it would make perfect sense that (Yarwood) would try again”, but said the former Lord Mayor’s presence on the council would create a difficult dynamic.

There are a number of barriers to a Yarwood return, primarily the possibility that Simms will not succeed in his move to replace Wright.

Simms said there was a “strong field of candidates” for the Senate spot.

Formal nominations for Wright’s seat are to be finalised before the end of the week.

“Senator Wright’s resignation is not something I’d anticipated,” Simms told InDaily.

“I thought a lot about it and decided I wanted to put myself forward because it really is an opportunity to promote the things I’m passionate about at a national level.

“At council I’ve been pushing for action on things like social justice and the environment, and this is an opportunity to potentially make a big impact and contribute to positive change.

“That’s why I decided to nominate.”

Robert Simms is vying to become a federal senator.

Robert Simms is vying to become a federal senator.

Meanwhile, two former council candidates have indicated their interest in Simms’ seat.

Publican and restaurateur Gareth Lewis, and IT professional Nathan Sree, each told InDaily they would consider running, should the area councillor position become vacant.

Lewis, who ran as an area council candidate at last year’s election, told InDaily the Late Night Code, outdoor dining, food truck policy and Fringe activations would be key policy areas he would campaign on, if Simms’ Senate push were successful.

Lewis said he had discussed his possible candidacy with sitting city councillors.

Regarding the council’s policy of extending the food trucks exclusion zone from 25 metres to 50 metres – effectively removing food trucks from most city squares – Lewis said “I don’t think it goes too far either way”.

He said he liked the idea of encouraging existing city ratepayers to get into the mobile food vending market – another facet of the council’s food truck policy currently out for consultation.

Sree told InDaily he would “strongly consider” running as an area councillor, if Simms were to vacate the position.

Sree, who holds a masters in computer science and works for global IT company Hewlett-Packard, told InDaily improving the Adelaide CBD WiFi network would be a key priority.

“One area I would focus on is technology (and) the number one area that drives me nuts is how awful the city WiFi is,” he said.

“In terms of bandwidth, in terms of throughput, it’s not good at all.”

He said maintaining vibrancy in the city of Adelaide was the key to retaining young people in the city.

He said council’s food trucks policy was “a bit too harsh”.

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