Secession proposal very unpopular


Ratepayers opposed to a proposal for Wattle Grove to secede to City of Gosnells hold up signs.
Ratepayers opposed to a proposal for Wattle Grove to secede to City of Gosnells hold up signs.

President Andrew Waddell said there were a number of issues on the agenda which warranted comment and many people had travelled to the meeting to put across their point of view.

“It’s important that you are heard if you are here to state your case,” Cr Waddell said.

The issues included the 10 per cent portion of Wattle Grove residents wanting to secede to the City of Gosnells, the phone tower proposals for Pickering Brook and Gooseberry Hill, and a retrospective application for approval for an agistment for 10 horses and four chalets on a block with two houses.

Passionate ratepayers spoke on all the issues, but more than 100 spoke on the application to move Wattle Grove to Gosnells.

Most were overwhelmingly against the move and not supportive of the application before the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB), which will be decided in April.

A loophole in the local government legislation can allow 10 per cent of ratepayers in an area unhappy with their current council to seek governance from another council.

In this case, 48 residents in Wattle Grove petitioned LGAB to secede to City of Gosnells, while the remaining 450 residents want to stay in the Shire of Kalamunda.

The Gazette understands residents wanting to break away are unhappy with a proposal for a nursing home in the area.

Those opposing secession said they had never seen such a spontaneous reaction to a proposal.

“In all the years I have lived in Wattle Grove I have never seen such anger in the community and we strongly oppose the move to Gosnells,” Lovegrove Turf owner Dick Lovegrove said.

“We have asked questions over the years and council are not perfect but neither are my kids but I don’t have to give them away.”

Placards stating ‘No to Gosnells’ were held aloft by speakers giving their position.

Wattle Grove resident Charles Dorman said he was strongly opposed to the proposal.

“We have no links to the City of Gosnells, and the Shire of Kalamunda is eco-friendly, our property values would drop overnight in Gosnells,” he said.

“Please oppose the petitions and strive to achieve the recognition that Wattle Grove is part of Kalamunda and endeavour to unite the communities not disband them.

“You can not arbitrarily |excise a part of the Shire for |spurious reasons,” he said.

Mr Dorman said petitioners wanted to secede for “illogical and unverified reasons”.

Cr Waddell said petitioners had been very critical of the Shire and judging by the number of residents at the meeting may not have achieved what they had hoped.

He said he was disappointed petitioners had tried to suppress debate and seek the boundary change without any notification to residents in Wattle Grove.

“Many people did not know about this because in the digital age not everyone reads the public notices in the papers,” he said.

Cr Brooke O’Donnell said she was disappointed that her neighbours wanted to leave the Shire.

“They may have voted for me and now they don’t want to stay, it’s disappointing,” she said.

LGAB received the proposal from electors of Wattle Grove to amend the City of Gosnells’ district boundary to include a portion of the suburb, and is currently hearing submissions.

Ratepayers can comment before 4pm on March 3 at www. dlgc.wa.gov.au/AboutUs/Pages/LGAB-Submission-WattleGrove.aspx.

LGAB is required to take into account a range of community while considering its response to the proposal.