A NUMBER of sitting councillors in the Shire of Kalamunda lost their seats in a surprise result at the weekend.
Long-term council members Margaret Thomas and Frank Lindsey were both out-polled by new challengers in the local government elections.
Mrs Thomas had served two terms at the Kalamunda Shire. She is a Justice of the Peace and a CPA with a Bachelor of Commerce, and also holds the office of CEO and CFO of Retirees WA, a not-for-profit organisation that provides services to seniors, including aged-care and housing. She was replaced by Tracy Destree, who polled 58.31 per cent of the vote in the North ward.
High Wycombe midwife Sara Lohmeyer was successful in the seat vacated after the death of former councillor Bob Emery. She and challenger Clinton Nordhoff polled closely with just 1403 votes going to the successful candidate and 1048 going to Mr Nordhoff.
Cr Lohmeyer said she was delighted with the result and by 11am on Sunday, had received 300 calls of support and congratulations on her mobile phone.
Incumbent Cr John Giardina polled a strong 27.88 per cent of the vote and first-time candidate Michael Fernie polled 27.76 per cent in a tightly fought ward. Losing his seat was Cr Frank Lindsey, who has served eight years on council.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in the result,” Mr Lindsey said.
“I enjoyed the two terms I served and realised how frustrating it is trying to get planning issues actioned.
“I don’t think the general public realise what’s involved in planning, particularly in issues like Wilkins Road and aged care,” he said.
“Often the results of planning matters don’t bear fruit until many years later.”
Cr Fernie is an agriculture producer from Pickering Brook who ran in the South East ward.
Cr Fernie said he had no driving force as such on council; he said he came to the seat without an agenda but wanted to take his commitment to community one step further.
“I’m seeking a new challenge and a change in direction,” the 44–year-old said.
Justin Whitten lost his seat after one term and an additional six months on council.
He lost by only 27 votes and said he would miss his time at the council meetings.
“I’m sure I will feel a bit lost for a while but I’m not sure that I will run again,” he said.
Mr Whitten said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time as a councillor.
Cr Allan Morton was re-elected along with newcomer Brooke O’Donnell.
Cr O’Donnell has lived in the Shire for 12 years. She has two children and has pledged to be an open and efficient councillor for her ward.