Canning: Council says no to a volunteer of the month award

Canning Councillor Yaso Ponnuthurai
Canning Councillor Yaso Ponnuthurai

THERE will be no introduction of a ‘volunteer of the month’ award from the City of Canning, despite a request from a city councillor.

A majority of Canning councillors diplomatically dismissed the suggestion during Tuesday’s council meeting as a well intentioned, but potentially divisive scheme.

Cr Yaso Ponnuthurai had suggested the council start a program to recognise local volunteers, individuals and community groups for their exceptional commitment and work.

She said a $100 monthly prize and a certificate would make it an affordable way to thank people who gave to the community and thought councillors could choose each winner based on their knowledge, supporting submissions from members of the public or a volunteer’s reputation.

Others, such as deputy mayor Christine Cunningham, did not support starting a reward program when council staff were already in the process of implementing something similar.

“I strongly believe all of our volunteers are heroes and trying to choose one per month is not something I am comfortable with,” she said.

Cr Lindsay Holland said it was unfair to compare the different work done by and situations of volunteers.

“We should not be individualising someone over this,” he said.

In a report, Canning Community and Commercial director Garry Adams said the council’s recently-appointed volunteer officer who was in the midst of developing a Canning Volunteer Recognition Program that would start in mid-2019.

“Importantly, the City’s recognition program will be focused on how our volunteers themselves want to be recognised, and will be developed in conversation with City volunteers,” the report stated.

Cr Ben Kunze said the council should always be looking at ways to better recognise volunteers.

His motion at the council meeting to again express sincere thanks to local volunteers and to note the impending recognition program was supported by all councillors.