Council refuses to answer oval questions

Department of Fire and Emergency Services bushfire and local government relations coordinator Craig Garrett with Georgia Johnson, the first female bushfire volunteer captain for Bullsbrook. d386229
Department of Fire and Emergency Services bushfire and local government relations coordinator Craig Garrett with Georgia Johnson, the first female bushfire volunteer captain for Bullsbrook. d386229

Three of Mr O’Neill’s five questions to last month’s East Fremantle Council meeting were not answered as chief executive Stuart Wearne said it would take too much time and divert Town resources away from more important matters. 

The questions, printed in the Gazette earlier this month, inquired among other things how much money was spent on consultants, advertising and staff hours for the proposal to develop land around the oval that received overwhelmingly negative reaction at a Town electors meeting.

The Town has since created a community reference group to engage suggestions from stakeholders on how to pay for much needed upgrades to the facilities at the oval.

Mr O’Neill also asked what State Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, departments and other agencies had been consulted over the proposal and the nature of those discussions.

‘Those questions are in everyone’s interest,’ Mr O’Neill told the Gazette last week.

‘That’s ratepayers’ money, and ratepayers are entitled to see how much we have spent on this.”

Mayor Alan Ferris said last month he wanted the community to be able to move on from the disappointment at the electors meeting and that the community reference group would help it do so.

In response to Mr O’Neill’s questions to the council meeting he said he believed some lines of questioning were motivated by a desire to make the council look bad.

But last week Mr O’Neill said the town could have demonstrated a desire to be open and accountable by just delivering responses and making consultants’ reports available to be viewed at the Town’s Administration Centre.

He said he was also alarmed the Town had prepared a proposal without a business plan.