Charlie’s swansong: City of Swan Election

File picture shows Mr Zannino welcoming Federal Opposition tourism spokesman Anthony Albanese to the Swan Valley last month. Picture: J Bianchini
File picture shows Mr Zannino welcoming Federal Opposition tourism spokesman Anthony Albanese to the Swan Valley last month. Picture: J Bianchini

CITY of Swan’s mayor of nine years Charlie Zannino lost his seat on council to Rod Henderson in the Swan local election last weekend.

The election saw four new councillors for the seven vacancies across five City of Swan wards.

There were 20 candidates in total – the most in almost 20 years – yet fewer than 24 per cent of residents voted.

Cr Henderson, who won 48 per cent of the votes to Mr Zannino’s 43 per cent in the Swan Valley/Gidgegannup ward, has previously served on Swan council.

“I’m very pleased the electors have been kind enough to put their faith in me,” he said.

“I think there’s significant issues that they would like addressed and I’m prepared to get in there and do something about that.”

Cr Henderson said the biggest issue residents had raised with him was the cost of rates and charges.

“We’re not in great financial times at the moment,” he said. “Things are tough for a lot of people out there. They’re starting to hurt and it’s time we did something about it.”

Cr Henderson thanked Mr Zannino for his hard work in the City of Swan.

Mr Zannino spent 22 years on council.

He was unavailable to speak with Community Newspaper Group before deadline.

The two hotly contested Midland/Guildford ward seats saw Mark Elliott retain his position while Sandra Gregorini lost her position to Guildford resident Ian Johnson.

Mrs Gregorini had served on council since 2009 but was just pipped by Cr Johnson in a field of eight candidates.

She said was disappointed in the result but was proud of what she had achieved, along with her late husband and former Swan mayor Charlie Gregorini who was first elected in 1977.

Incoming Cr Johnson extended his appreciation to voters.

“After three days of door-knocking a week and four days of work, I feel like I’ve climbed a mountain in the Himalayas,” he said.

“I recognise I need to deliver on my platform, which is saving the Midland Oval, stopping the parking meters and stopping the Hazelmere incinerator.”

Cate McCullough is the new councillor for Ellenbrook ward, replacing Natasha Cheung who did not renominate.

Adam Kovalevs becomes City of Swan’s youngest councillor at 20, replacing councillor of 16 years Mel Congerton in the Ballajura ward.

Mr Kovalevs thanked the Ballajura residents for putting their trust in him to do a good job on the issues that matter to them.

“I look forward to creating a strong voice for the Ballajura people on council,” he said.

Mr Kovalevs said he hopes to start a Ballajura youth advisory council as soon as possible, while public transport and road safety were a high priority.

“I’d also really like to advocate for live streaming and recording of council meetings.”

Incumbent Ballajura councillor Maria Haynes was re-elected, as was Altone ward councillor David Lucas.

Swan chief executive Mike Foley said there was a strong field of candidates.

“On behalf of the City, I offer my congratulations to those who have been successful and thank everyone who nominated for their willingness to serve their community,” he said.

“It is with great sadness that we farewell four members who have served their community for a combined 52 years.”

“I thank them all for their years of service to the community and I know they would be proud of their achievements during this time.”

The positions of mayor and deputy mayor were decided at a special council meeting on Monday night, after this paper went to print.