Community briefing sessions on council’s agenda

Old Perth Road in Bassendean. Picture: David Baylis
Old Perth Road in Bassendean. Picture: David Baylis

TOWN of Bassendean ratepayers will have the chance to attend briefing sessions held in the community.

The council voted 4-1 on August 27 to support hosting briefings off-site over a 12-month trial period from November and remove reference of live streaming for briefing sessions in its Electronic Recording and Live Streaming of Council Meetings policy.

Briefing sessions are currently held in the council chamber and are recorded and live streamed on the Town’s YouTube channel.

Chief executive Peta Mabbs said the Town looked at about seven venues for the briefings and would consider how audio recording equipment could be set up.

Mayor Renée McLennan said the council was committed to enhancing opportunities for genuine engagement with the community.

“We are conscious that the traditional environment of the council chamber can be intimidating for some members of our community and be a barrier for participation,” she said.

“The briefing sessions held in the community setting will have a more informal format and incorporate activities for children to encourage their involvement in local advocacy and leadership.”

L-R: Peta Mabbs (CEO, Town of Bassendean) and Cr Renee McLennan (Mayor, Town of Bassendean) at the BassenDream Our Future hub which opened earlier this year. Picture: David Baylis

Cr John Gangell, who voted against, said having a “structured” community briefing would include very limited time for residents to address the council.

“We have our agenda and we are not actually giving time to allow the community express their issues in their area,” he said.

“If you want to go out and genuinely engage with the community, you should do it more like an electors’ meeting where people get the entire evening to themselves, hear from council and ask council questions without having to go through what most people would find a very dull process in sitting through a council meeting.”

Meanwhile, the council also approved the draft Town of Bassendean Meeting Procedures Local Law for public comment.

The draft local law includes the addition of urgent business items, extend the period of submitting a notice of motion from five to 10 days and encourage residents to submit written public questions where possible.

Cr Gangell said he was against urgent business items being included into agendas as they could be dealt with at special council meetings.

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