Poll back-flips

I WAS quite clear in my letter (Poll wording a worry, Gazette, January 7) that to conduct an expensive poll on the issue of amalgamating Belmont and Kalamunda councils, Belmont must present fairly and honestly information on both sides of the issue as to the benefits and any disadvantages of the merger to their residents well before the poll.

After all, it is their money paying for the poll.

I did not state anything in my letter about a “no cost-benefit analysis by the State Government’ as Belmont Councillor Patrick Gardner wrote in his letter in last week’s Gazette headlined “Residents must have a say”.

What I did write was Belmont councillors are representing ratepayers’ interests and welfare first and they must instruct council bureaucrats to provide the cost-benefits of amalgamation to councillors and for residents’ information.

However, all I have seen so far is Belmont Mayor Philip Marks doing fabulous back-flips on this poll issue that would make Premier Barnett blush with envy as to his own back-flips since his re-election.

First Mayor Marks said in a Gazette report published in September last year, “The City will not waste tens of thousands of dollars of ratepayers’ money on an election referendum on amalgamation because it has no standing.”

Then four months later Mayor Marks said in another Gazette report, “It was always our intention to hold a poll.”

Again in the same article, “The motion (the poll) was put forward by Cr Patrick Gardner only a week after councillors and officers agreed in a meeting to draw up a plan opposing amalgamation.”

Drawing up a plan opposing amalgamation (without an equally weighted ‘plan’ acknowledging the benefits of amalgamation) before, and not after, consulting on the issue with their employers (ratepayers) sure sends, at least to me, a message that the councillors don’t consider as their top priority the ratepayers’ and residents’ interests.

There you have it residents of Belmont.

Call me a cynic if you will, but I have no confidence in Belmont council putting out any fair or balanced view on the benefits of amalgamation to the residents before a poll, let alone having faith in it to do the poll wording.

KEVIN BETTRIDGE,

Rivervale.