A motion from Mayor Jim O’Neill to hire an external consultant, ‘James Best in the first instance’, was passed by council on Tuesday.
Councillors had attended a presentation by Mr Best outlining the nature of the project and had been told $15,000 to $20,000 would be enough to accomplish it.
Council has $20,000 allocated in the Town’s draft budget; however, Mr O’Neill requested that amount be increased to $30,000.
After the meeting, Mr O’Neill said the final figure would be settled upon during budget deliberations but the higher figure had been requested to ensure the Town could do as much public consultation as possible.
He said the project was to engage the community in the long term planning process, which would be even more important as the Town heads towards amalgamation.
‘As Mayor I want to see a number of outstanding issues resolved,’ he said. ‘One of the most important is protecting and enhancing what we have.
‘Asking and involving our residents in this process is essential.
‘I certainly am not going to sit on my hands and wait for amalgamation. If East Fremantle has any chance of survival we need to ensure our residents want us to stay.’
He said he had discussed the project with City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.
Chief executive Stuart Wearne advised that hiring Mr Best ‘in the first instance’ could lead to conflict with the Town’s purchasing policy, which requires council to seek three quotes, but that it could be addressed when the draft budget was considered.