PERTH’S biggest council has made history, with Mark Irwin becoming Stirling’s first popularly elected mayor – but a former leader failed to be re-elected as councillor.
The incumbent had a nervous three-hour wait for results to be officially announced on Saturday night but need not have worried, having secured nearly 40 per cent of the 38,018 votes and was favourite across all seven council wards.
Mr Irwin told the crowd gathered at the City of Stirling administration building he was humbled and thankful for the result.
“I’m very excited for the future of Stirling and hopefully after tonight we will have a strong team going forward,” he said.
Despite an influx of in-person ballot papers lodged before voting closed, only 26 per cent of ratepayers voted in the historic election, a decrease on the 27 per cent turnout rate in 2017.
Cr Elizabeth Re was the next most popular mayoral choice with 23 per cent of votes and Cr Adam Spagnolo, whose campaign signage was prolific throughout the City, won 18.5 per cent.
Former mayor Terry Tyzack received 9.25 per cent, followed by Cr David Lagan with 5.85 per cent and newcomer Sanjeev Gupta on 4.11 per cent.
Cr Spagnolo, who recently told Community News his family had received threats during the campaign, shook Mr Irwin’s hand after his win became apparent.
Former mayor loses re-election bid
Voters maintained the status quo in most council wards, with councillors Keith Sargent (Balga), Stephanie Proud (Doubleview), Karlo Perkov (Hamersley), David Lagan (Inglewood) and Joe Ferrante (Lawley) re-elected.
But former mayor and councillor Giovanni Italiano failed in his re-election bid in the Osborne Ward, which was won by active community campaigner Lisa Thornton.
Ms Thornton won 47.92 per cent of the vote, with Mr Italiano next favourite with 22.3 per cent.
Newcomer Felicity Farrelly was elected to the Coastal Ward, which Mr Irwin did not re-contend, with 51.2 per cent of the vote.
Former Balcatta and Liberal Party MLA Chris Hatton, who was unseated at the 2017 State Election, won the second Hamersley Ward position after the death of former councillor Andrew Guilfoyle in February.
The mayor and councillors will be sworn in at a special council meeting on Tuesday and the deputy mayor will be elected by councillors.
Speaking to Community News after his election, Mr Irwin said he believed the council was “certainly on the right track” but there was still lobbying to be done to deliver the vision for the Stirling City Centre, light rail from Glendalough to Scarborough and other important infrastructure.
“I’m really excited, humbled and confident that we’re going to move forward as a very united council,” he said.