City of Bayswater council kills Specified Area Rates strategy to fund Maylands Lakes restoration

Maylands Peninsula. Picture: Kristie Lim
Maylands Peninsula. Picture: Kristie Lim

A PACKED gallery filled with concerned Maylands Peninsula residents at last night’s committee meeting led Bayswater council to opt out of a Specified Area Rates (SAR) strategy, which would have resulted in residents contributing to the $1.25 million Maylands Lakes restoration project.

City officers recommended the council adopt the strategy, where 313 property owners living in the estate near the Lake Bungana and Brearly, would need to pay an extra average cost of $804, in addition to its rates which increased by 4.9 per cent for the 2017-18 financial year.

The proposed five-year strategy would have resulted in $251,089 raised towards the City’s capital works.

Residents clapped in relief after Mayor Dan Bull’s motion to make no change in 2018-19 in the uniform rating strategy, which was passed 10-1, with councillor Giorgia Johnson voting against.

According to an officer’s report, the strategy was used to fund specific work undertaken for a particular area of the City.

Maylands resident and Friends of Maylands Lakes (FOML) member Kevin Hamersley said the group, who helped form the project plan, believed a SAR could not succeed because it failed the City’s own strategic guidelines of being “open, accountable and providing good governance”.

Maylands resident Warren Lance said the council benefited from higher rates in the area for about 18 years.

“We don’t think a lot of that money has been spent in the area,” he said.

“The City had an environmental study done on the Lakes in September 2016 – that study states the bulk of the study flowing into those lakes is stormwater that comes outside of that immediate area… very little comes from the 313 properties.

“People from all over Perth come and visit that area… we think it is totally unreasonable to levy 313 residents with a cost of maintaining this.”

Cr Bull said he did not support the SAR strategy because the council would struggle to find a facility where it was exclusively used by a group of people.

Cr Elli Petersen-Pik, whose motion to implement a differential rates strategy lapsed, said many councils including the cities of Swan, Vincent and Perth had differential rates strategies for vacant lot owners, where funds could be used to facilitate other capital works.

Cr Barry McKenna said the council was disadvantaged after the City of Stirling gave it about $1.5 million in reserved funds instead of $10 million for the land transfer of Maylands.

“When we took over south ward, our rates was higher than what Stirling was and we had to aggregate that over a number of years,” he said.

“The previous council said that the Lakes are horrible and we should have done something.”

In the Long Term Financial Plan, the City expects to earn a general rates revenue of $46, 581,854 in 2018-19, incorporating a rates increase of 4 per cent.

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