Differences put aside

The cities worked together on a merger proposal and presented it to the State Government, as a united front, last October, in a bid to retain key areas including the Welshpool commercial precinct.

The Government then released its latest proposal, which further splits Canning into its new neighbour councils of Melville, Victoria Park/South Perth and Belmont /Kalamunda.

After this, Canning resolved to fight any merger whatsoever.

Its Commissioner Linton Reynolds told residents that the wording of the Government’s latest model essentially ‘abolished’ Canning, leaving its ratepayers no legal power of veto.

He said it was this that prompted the Fight for Canning, a $160,000 advertising campaign and petition drive, aimed at convincing residents to swamp the Government with protest in an effort to sway the final decision, due in the middle of the year.

Mr Reynolds said the campaign aimed to give residents a say on an important decision affecting them and cost no more than any other public consultation.

Gosnells’ chief executive Ian Cowie said he would not comment on Canning’s change of direction, but Canning had informed Gosnells of its intentions.

‘There is good communication between the cities,’ he said.

‘Canning and Gosnells are still communicating over possible new structural arrangements.’

In response to Fight for Canning’s message that any merger would mean rate increases for Canning residents, Mr Cowie said any new entity would need to consider rate equalisation, but this could be phased in gradually.

The City of Melville, which takes in Canning suburbs Willetton and Riverton under the latest model, was less polite about Fight for Canning, stating it was based on speculation and misrepresentation, and of no benefit to the community.