Bayswater Mayor rejects call to resign over $295K concrete batching bill

BAYSWATER Mayor Barry McKenna was forced to defend his position after a ratepayer called for him to step down because of a $295,399 bill the City received after defending its refusal of a concrete batching plant at the State Administrative Tribunal.

The cost is from legal and specialist environmental consultants fees in defending the council’s opposition to the revised concrete batching plans at the SAT, which approved the application in December 2016.

The council decided against appealing the decision in the Supreme Court.

At last week’s council meeting, Bayswater City Residents Association president Tony Green questioned whether ratepayer funds were effectively used in the SAT process. Cr McKenna said Mr Green was “ill-informed” and took offence with the question.

“Could you know the anger in the Central ward?” he said.

“I will always fight for my ratepayers.

“I sat for two hours in a witness box to fight for council only to have a person in there that could not tell me how much maximum production rates are.”

Cr McKenna, whose term ends in October, said while he accepted SAT’s approval, Mr Green’s comment that he did not use the costs to the best of his ability was not the community’s opinion.

“Once they go above the production limit, they need to be fined a top amount or else I will personally knock on the Premier’s door and tell him to get the department to check it out,” he said.

Cr McKenna’s response drew applause from members in the gallery and some councillors.

After the meeting, Cr McKenna told the Eastern Reporter his and the council’s job was to represent the community on matters that were important and impacted the lives of ratepayers and residents.

“I will not resign for doing my job, I will not resign for representing my community and I will not resign for trying to make a difference for those residents impacted by the batching plant,” he said.

“The easy thing would have been to walk away from this issue, but it would have been the wrong thing to do.

“Council believed and continues to believe that it considered the concrete batching plant on its merits and that it was right to reject the application.”