City of Wanneroo ward system to open for public comment

WANNEROO'S north ward is over-represented and the central ward under-represented in its current ratio of councillors to electors, a report says.

The report on tonight’s council meeting agenda recommends going out for public comment on possible changes to the City’s ward system to correct current and future imbalances.

It said the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) required the City to undertake a ward review before the next round of elections in October 2015.

‘It is expected that each local government will have similar ratios of electors to councillors across its wards,’ the report said.

Figures from the 2013 election showed the north ward had a ratio of 6078 electors per councillor compared to 7551 in the central ward, 6660 in coastal and 6491 in south.

But the report said the deviations were changing as the City’s population grew, particularly in the northern corridor.

‘Over the past three years, population growth has reduced the deviation from the average number of electors per councillor by ward,’ it said. ‘If no changes are made, then electors in the north ward will be significantly under-represented by 2021, and the south ward over-represented.’

The report said there was a wide range of options to be considered, including creating new wards, combing wards, changing the boundaries, having no wards, or changing the number of councillors.

It provided detail of four main options, the first to maintain the current geographical boundaries but change the councillor number from two to three in the north ward and five to four in the south.

The second proposed adjusting the boundary to move Alkimos and Eglinton from north to coastal, and the third option could be to split the north ward between the coastal and central wards, creating three wards instead of four.

The fourth option suggested removing wards altogether, but warned that could mean the ability to deal with different characteristics of each area would be lost.

If approved, the options would go for public comment for at least 42 days.