On your marks, get set, go — the race is on to represent the Cromwell community.

Nominations to fill the vacant spot on the Cromwell Community Board closed on December 22 with seven candidates — more than last year’s triennial local body election — stepping forward.

In October, a by-election was triggered after Sarah Browne’s election to the Central Otago District Council resulted in her spot on the community board being vacated.

Along with board members Anna Harrison, Bob Scott and Mary McConnell, Mrs Browne had been automatically elected to the Cromwell Community Board because of the number of candidates matching the number of seats available.

‘‘I can say I’m really, really pleased that with the vacancy on the board that we have some strong candidates,’’ board chairwoman Anna Harrison said.

‘‘As a board we have some big projects ahead of us so it’s great that lots of people want to be part of that and put their hand up to stand.’’

Those big projects include the $38 million design and rebuild of the Cromwell Memorial Hall and events centre, and redevelopment of the Cromwell Mall.

Mrs Harrison said prior to nominations closing she was approached by four people with questions about what was involved in being on the board.

‘‘I’ve had phone conversations and sit›downs over a cup of coffee asking what’s involved in terms of commitment and time involved, and two of them put their hat in the ring.’’

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said he was pleased with the large turnout.

‘‘I am hopeful there will be a candidates evening organised so voters can get a better idea of who would be best of these seven to take a seat around the board table.’’

The confirmed candidates are Annabel Blaikie, David George, Tony Haycock, David Horton, Huw Murray, Wally Sanford and Sian Simpson.

Ballot papers will be posted on January 26. Voting closes on February 17.

The News will be profiling the candidates in the leadup to the by-election.