Councillor critical of costly planning forum

Bayswater town centre. Picture: Kristie Lim.
Bayswater town centre. Picture: Kristie Lim.

THE $20,000 price tag for a facilitator-run strategic planning forum has been branded as a “waste of money” by a Bayswater councillor.

Councillors voted 5-4 on October 29 to hold a strategic planning forum in the first quarter of 2020 with a facilitator.

Chief executive Andrew Brien and Mayor Dan Bull will work with the facilitator to develop a workshop and discussion paper.

The forum will help determine outcomes for a major review of the City’s Strategic Community Plan 2017-2027 and handle disagreements from councillors constructively.

Mr Brien said the forum and discussion paper would cost up to $20,000 of the advocacy budget.

Cr Barry McKenna.

Cr Barry McKenna, who voted against the motion, said while he supported getting together for a forum, the council needed to think carefully about spending.

“The last time we had one was a few years ago where we spent $15,000,” he said.

“We have been hammered for the 2.95 per cent rate rise…why should we spend $20,000 for one Saturday?

“I think it is great to get together but I am against spending from $20,000 to $40,000 on one Saturday.

“We should do it internally or if the CEO finds a cheap facilitator for $2000 a day.”

Cr McKenna said the money could be spent on redeveloping Maylands Waterland and towards upgrading infrastructure.

Bayswater Deputy Mayor Filomena Piffaretti.

Deputy Mayor Filomena Piffaretti said the council needed to look at its strategic plan for the next two years.

“I am confident it is not going to be $20,000,” she said.

“I strongly feel that we need to look at our strategic direction.

“We have a document but we need a full day to see what we are going to do for two years.

“I understand concerns about costs…if we get this right, it is going to save money in the long term.

“I think it is worthwhile if we have one every few years.”

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