A MEETING over the attempt to change the status of Kalamunda from Shire to City has angered ratepayers who attended.
They said Shire President Andrew Waddell acted unprofessionally because he responded emotionally to being abused and yelled at and prevented from speaking by local residents.
But Alan Malcolm, a spokesman for the Save Kalamunda Shire Action Group, said he felt sorry for the President.
He said it was not Cr Waddell’s fault and that the blame lay with the local residents, whose rude and unruly behaviour prevented the president from speaking.
The special public meeting, which drew more than 250 people, was held at a High Wycombe hall on Wednesday, January 18.
Mr Malcolm said the hall was filled to capacity with people wanting to have their say. He said he was not impressed with the behaviour of people at the meeting.
“I wanted to hold the olive branch out to Cr Andrew Waddell but the unruly behaviour of many made it difficult for him to have his say,” Mr Malcolm said.
“I believe the council failed to acknowledge the depth of the community engagement needed on this issue and it is a hard job to do,” he said.
Cr Waddell said it was obvious that the issue stirred up a lot of feelings.
“It was hard for me to speak because people yelled out over me and it was very emotional. They didn’t listen and they didn’t let me speak.”
The shire president said the council was keen to understand what the main objection to the change of status was.
“I still am not clear why they are opposing it except for the sake of it,” he said.
Cr Waddell said there were misconceptions from the community about what it meant to move to a city status.
“It does not mean increased salaries for staff or councillors, high-rise buildings or a hike in rates,” Cr Waddell said.
“It can attract investment in a competitive market for people looking for a unique lifestyle with access to everything they need to live comfortably,” he said.
Cr Waddell said the Shire of Kalamunda’s sense of place would remain the same, as would the name of the suburb.
Mr Malcolm said 240 people voted to pass a motion at the meeting for council to rescind the application to change to a city until adequate consultation had taken place.
The annual electors meeting will be held at the Kalamunda Shire Offices on February 6.