Costs and benefits in changing to city

Kalamunda chief executive Rhonda Hardy said any costs arising from a change would be introduced gradually.

�As items such as signage reach the end of their life, we would replace them, so it would not be a carte blanche change,� she said.

Ms Hardy said it was the approach used by most local governments that had changed status. All costs would be borne from operational budgets.

�There is no need for any additional burden to ratepayers,� she said.

Ms Hardey said a local government area was eligible for city status when it had more than 30,000 residents, more than half of whom lived in an urban area.

�Our population is currently more than 60,000, and is expected to grow to 81,000 by 2031, therefore more than half of our population lives in an urban area,� she said.

�Importantly, many automatically think that as Kalamunda is a shire, it is smaller and has less population.

�It is categorised �below a city or town. In actual fact, the Shire could have changed status to become a city in the early �80s.�

She said potential benefits to becoming a city could include:

– Better reflecting, and potentially improving, standing with those involved in future development, both private and government, as projected housing growth and infrastructure projects like the Forrestfield railway link take shape;

– Making the council more competitive and attractive to investors;

– Better reflecting the urban growth occurring in the foothills;

– Signalling the area is intrinsic and important part of the Perth metropolitan area;

– Indicating it is serious about being autonomous and sustainable in its own right.

Ms Hardy said the change of status would also allow the Shire to be better prepared for future local government reform.