City of Kalamunda extraordinary election: meet the candidates

Stock image.
Stock image.

FIVE candidates have thrown their hat in the ring in the City of Kalamunda’s extraordinary election to replace councillor Tracy Destree who vacated the north ward due to personal reasons.

Amongst the candidates are former Kalamunda Senior High School principal Kathy Ritchie who stood down last year after 17 years at the helm.

Kathy Ritchie.

“As principal of a large school I came into daily contact with residents of all ages – students, their parents, their grandparents and the facilities and services which support them.

“It has given me a powerful insight into the diverse needs of each of these generations from housing options for different generational groups, to recreational facilities to public transport.

“I am keen to listen to and support the concerns of residents and to be an advocate and voice for them.”

Mrs Ritchie said if elected she would support live streaming of council meetings.

“When decisions are made that are not supported by residents it is important that the council and councillors take time to explain decisions and their reasoning for these decisions,” she said.

“One way for this to happen is to allow meetings to be live streamed and for audio recordings to be available on the City website.

“As the Council continues to transition from a shire to a city I believe it is also an opportune time to enhance community participation in the Council by the direct election of the mayor.

“While I hold this view, others may not, so I would propose a plebiscite to be held concurrently with the 2019 council elections which would give the incoming council a clear indication of the preferences of ratepayers.”

Former Kalamunda Shire president Sue Bilich said she also supported live streaming and residents electing their mayor.

“I believe it is time we allowed residents to elect their mayor and council should make it easy for residents to watch their meetings, especially for the many residents who are unable to attend,” she said.

“It would also provide a check on the possible abuse of power by some councillors.”

Ms Bilich also called for improvements to the visual amenity of the City.

“Residents constantly tell me of their frustration with street verges and median strips,” she said.

“Other local governments incentivise residents to plant out their street verges with native plants and when this occurs along the length of a street it greatly improves the amenity of the whole area.

“Three years ago Council passed a motion to further improve the design guidelines for new buildings within the Kalamunda Town Centre.

“Nothing has happened in the interim period which would stop these ugly tilt panel buildings from continuing to blight the Town Centre. I want the inadequacies of the design guidelines remedied.”

Robert Geagea called for all councillors to donate their stipend to charity.

“Unfortunately, the council is a training ground for party politics and hopefuls wanting a shot at a future State or Federal seat,” he said.

“I will donate all the money to charity and the poor, setting up educational scholarships for the needy within the City and I would press for others to do likewise.

“Secondly, I would like to see new opportunities being created for small and large businesses.

“Nothing wrong with coffee shops but we need far more quality tech and science based light industry together with improved tourism and event management.

“Thirdly, I would like council to talk through issues and act decisively to improve the lives of the people in our city.

“They do seem to talk but action is anything but timely and the council remains reactive, never assisting at the time of need.”

Andre Stasikowski said he decided to run for a council seat so he could have a greater influence over decisions at a council level.

Andre Stasikowski.

“Recent issues include the walking trail along Schmitt Road being sold off and subdivided by the WA Planning Commission, a lack of focus on primary care for an aging population in Kalamunda as well as an urgent need for more aged care facilities within the City,” he said.

“There is also concern regarding the Wattle Grove industrial precinct and crime and security.”

Kalem Tymus said he wanted to bring fresh ideas and a local voice into Council.

Kalem Tymus.

“I don’t have an agenda in my pocket, rather a set of two ears and two eyes that are committed to the people of the community I live in,” he said.

“I have had a lot of feedback from residents on the overall visual presentation of Stirk Park and the town centre, with the importance of acknowledging and respecting why so many love living here.

“This includes protecting the small country town feel as you drive in; the character built into the foundations of our homes, businesses and landmarks; the canopy of trees bringing a natural cooling effect over the summer to residents; the beautiful flora in parks and on walking trails; and a large number of social, sporting and community groups/clubs we have to integrate our community.”

The extraordinary election is being held by postal vote on Friday, December 14.

To view the candidates profiles visit bit.ly/2Qg8upW