Showdown in Swan council as 20 canidates fight for seats.

Prospective councillors and candidates contesting the local elections.Picture: David Baylis           d442580
Prospective councillors and candidates contesting the local elections.Picture: David Baylis         d442580

THE City of Swan has 20 candidates vying for seven council seats in next month’s local government election – a number not seen since the 2001 election.

The boost in prospective councillors is a state-wide trend as 1021 candidates vie for 449 vacancies, compared with the 2013 elections when there were less than 800 nominations.

In the City of Swan, highly debated council matters like paid parking, Hazelmere’s proposed pyrolysis plant, high-density development, rate increases and perceived loss of heritage have motivated some new candidates to nominate.

Meanwhile, others say they are simply seeking to provide a different approach to council decisions.

Many divisive issues, especially within the Midland-Guildford ward, have been presented to councillors in recent years, prompting four special electors’ meetings since May last year. Prior to May last year, there had been no special electors’ meetings in at least four years.

Traditionally, the Midland-Guildford ward has been the most hotly contested seat and this year’s election is set to be no different.

Eight candidates will contest two Midland-Guildford ward seats currently held by Mark Elliott and Sandra Gregorini.

Maura Howlett, Kent Acott, Joe Marino, Ian Johnson, Todd Burgess and Rex McCrae are the remaining Midland-Guildford ward candidates.

Guildford-based candidates are also spilling into other wards, with Andrew Kiely vying for the Swan Valley Gidgegannup ward and Rohan Sadler running in the Altone ward. Both say their priority is to stop the Hazelmere pyrolysis plant.

Swan Mayor Charlie Zannino will be up against vocal opponents Rod Henderson and Mr Kiely to hold his position in the Swan Valley Gidgegannup ward.

Mr Henderson challenged Cr Zannino for the Swan Valley Gidgegannup ward in 1999, 2003 and 2011 but was unsuccessful.

This will be the first election since 1999 Cr Zannino has faced more than two opponents.

Altone ward councillor David Lucas hopes to defend his seat against new candidates Patricia Gale and Rohan Sadler.

Long-term Ballajura councillors Mel Congerton and Maria Haynes were elected unopposed in 2003 and 2011 but are up against 20-year-old Adam Kovalevs and Darryl Evans this year.

Natasha Cheung, who was the Ellenbrook ward councillor for eight years, is the only incumbent councillor not recontesting her seat.

Either Cate McCullough or Rob Howes will take her place after the election.

Ballot papers and candidate profiles were sent last week and polls close at 6pm on October 17.