NEWLY elected Shire of Mundaring President David Lavell won the top job within hours of flying home from his ruby wedding celebrations in Bali.
The Shire councillor cut short his holiday to attend a special council meeting on Monday to swear in new councillors and elect a new president after Helen Dullard’s decision to quit local government.
Cr Lavell said the role was contested after former Shire deputy president Darrell Jones, who was expected to fill the role, lost his South ward seat to newcomer James Martin on Saturday.
“It was a surprise to everyone that Darryl was not re-elected,” the consulting engineer, who runs a small business from his Darlington home, said.
Cr Patrick Bertola is the new deputy president.
Cr Lavell takes on the new job after 10 years as a Shire councillor and four years with the East Metropolitan Regional Council.
The father of three adult children is involved in several community groups and he recently became a grandfather.
“I will seek to maintain good rapport with all community groups and nurture our arts and culture, tourism and small business enterprises throughout the Shire,” Cr Lavell said.
He said working from home provided the flexibility required to carry out his civic duties.
He said he was committed to preserving the environment and exploring tighter budgetary controls to keep rate rises to a minimum.
“Protection of our unique Hills environment is of paramount concern, being mindful of the increasing threats of drought and bushfires that climate change will bring,” he said.
Cr Lavell said he would seek to future-proof the Shire against another possible takeover through local government reform.
This included looking at increasing overall efficiency and boosting the Shire’s attractiveness as a tourist destination, with consideration for a short-stay caravan park and a solar-electric battery charging facility.
He said revitalisation of the civic heart of Mundaring was essential.
Cr Lavell would also like to see the Orange Route/Toodyay Road alignment plan prioritised by Main Roads.
The route, part of the Perth to Adelaide Highway proposal, would bypass the Great Eastern Highway ascent of the Darling Scarp and ease traffic density passing through Mundaring village .
Initial plans received environmental approval in 1989, but there is no indication of a start date and funding for the project is a Federal Government responsibility.
Another vision he would like to see come to fruition is the creation of a walkway tunnel under the Great Eastern Highway to connect the two sides of the village.
Cr Lavell acknowledged the efforts of outgoing councillors Ms Dullard, Darrell Jones, Alan Pilgrim and Leona Gu and welcomed the three new councillors.
Crs Lynn Fisher and Doug Jeans beat six candidates to secure the two vacancies in the Central ward.
Anthony Brennan was elected unopposed in the West ward, as were Crs Stephen Fox and John Daw in East ward.