ORGANISERS of a residents and ratepayers forum are encouraging people to speak out about proposed service cuts across Mundaring Shire at a forum on Monday night.
Newly elected Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw and Shire councillors Lynn Fisher, Doug Jean, James Martin and Pauline Clark have confirmed they will attend the ‘have a say’ meeting organised by residents and ratepayers associations in Mundaring and Mt Helena.
Ms Shaw said people frequently raised the issue of council rates with her and she hoped the Shire would give a full and fair hearing to all proposals aimed at controlling costs.
“I’m obviously concerned and want to understand what the Shire of Mundaring intends to do in response to the community’s feedback,” she said.
“People in the Hills are already doing it tough. Rate rises affect everyone – and pensioners are particularly vulnerable.
“It’s vital the impacts of any service cuts are understood and that the community has the opportunity to participate in a process that is open, transparent and consultative.”
Mt Helena Ratepayers Association president Joan Quinn said she hoped business representatives would present their viewpoint at the forum at Mt Helena Elsie Austin Pavilion.
“The purpose is to get clarification on what people are at risk of losing, because many people have found the Shire’s ‘have your say’ survey confusing and are concerned they are at risk of losing basic amenities,” Mrs Quinn said.
“I tried to do the survey online and found it one-sided and frustrating because it’s not possible to click forward and see all the questions, so I picked up a hard copy.”
Printed copies of the survey are available from the Shire’s administration centre in Mundaring and from libraries.
Mrs Quinn said Mt Helena residents wanted answers to questions.
“A lot of people feel they’ve spoken, but have not been heard.
“They’re asking the Shire to look at other ways of saving money and are calling for administration cuts; the council management seems to be top- heavy, considering the Shire has only 40,000 people.”
The forum invite has been sent to every ratepayer and residents association in the Shire, with a list of some of the services under threat including Mt Helena Aquatic Centre, Mahogany Creek Hall and Lake Leschenaultia camping, café and canoe hire.
The Shire is looking at handing back the management and maintenance of Mt Helena swimming pool to the Department of Education and close Mahogany Creek Hall and tennis courts, along with tennis courts in Chidlow and no longer maintain courts in Wooroloo.
Also on the council hit list is a 10-hour-a-week reduction in opening hours at the new Katharine Susannah Prichard in Boya and Mundaring’s Albert Facey Memorial libraries.
Other services at risk are the annual Trek the Trail event, which would save $42,000 of the $1.2 million required to restrict the average rate increase to 3 per cent for 2017-2018 in the Shire.
A breakdown of the Shire rates and services proposal and the value of those services at risk are on the council website, along with the ‘have your say’ survey for residents and ratepayers.
The Shire’s service proposal states: “It is important to remember that community input will be vital in determining the outcome of the items listed on the proposal.
“The information received through community engagement will shape the direction of the Shire of Mundaring’s corporate business plan and long-term financial plan.”
Residents have until April 18 to complete the survey.
What: Residents forum
Topic: Shire of Mundaring future services
Where: Mt Helena Elsie Austin Pavilion
When: Monday, April 10, 7.30pm