Councils trading blows over merger

Last week Kalamunda president Sue Bilich described Belmont’s submission to extend its boundaries to encompass the whole of Shire and parts of the Cities of Swan and Canning as an attempt to become ‘the Greater City of Belmont’.

‘After six weeks of trying to negotiate a joint submission with Belmont in which we have tried at every opportunity to work together, Belmont is clearly set on a takeover,’ Ms Bilich said.

But Belmont Mayor Phil Marks said Kalamunda had refused to discuss equal representation, despite the local government minister’s openness towards fair representation and transitional arrangements following the merging of councils.

‘The Shire’s assertion that they have tried to negotiate a joint submission is premised on the basis of Belmont simply agreeing to Kalamunda’s position meaning that the larger population would result in inequitable representation on a newly formed council,’ Cr Marks said.

‘This is hardly negotiation and would result in Belmont’s finances, significant reserves and assets being placed under control of a Kalamunda biased elected body.

‘We have no intention of becoming the Greater City of Belmont ” Belmont’s submission clearly states it will work with the communities of the new district to establish a fresh name and identity.’

Mr Congerton said the board would hold its first meeting at the end of the month to assess the 19 local governments’ merger proposals on issues including finance, demographics and transportation.

‘It’s just not predicated on one thing, the board looks at a raft of issues,’ he said.

‘At the moment we are analysing the submissions for their compliance’