Waste plan leads to angst

Shire of Chittering chief executive Gary Tuffin, councillor Michelle Rossouw and
Shire of Chittering chief executive Gary Tuffin, councillor Michelle Rossouw and

Scattered residential estates within the Shire ” and properties between them ” will receive general waste and recycling bins for kerbside collections by the end of the month.

The collection service will cost ratepayers an average of $5.96 a week but will boost the Shire’s recycling rates from 3 per cent to about 30 per cent within a year.

However, following the announcement of waste collection services in the Shire’s budget, community dissatisfaction manifested over rate rises, volunteers and council accountability.

It led to a community meeting of almost 200 locals in Muchea last Monday, requesting assurances over the three key issues.

Meeting convenor and former Shire of Chittering councillor of nine years, Steve Vallance, said he would call on the council to hold a special electors meeting.

‘I got close to 200 signatures at the meeting and with that we’re going to hand to the council to hold a special electors meeting within the next 35 days,’ he said.

‘The points of the discussion will be the size of rate rises in the future, encouraging support of volunteers and the transparency, accountability and communication of the Shire council.’

This year’s rate rise of 6 per cent was in line or modest compared with other surrounding local governments like City of Swan (5 per cent), Shire of Gingin (7 per cent), Shire of Toodyay (10 per cent) and Shire of York (12 per cent).

Shire President Robert Hawes said much of the issues raised at the meeting were based on misinformation.

‘Mr Vallance’s comments on rate increases are somewhat interesting,’ he said.

‘During his period on council, (he) voted in support of 10.10 per cent, 9 per cent and 12.5 per cent increases, with 5 per cent being the lowest during his nine years on council.

‘Mr Vallance commenced his presentations speaking on the destruction of social capital, which was very interesting given the Shire now holds more community events and provides more community interactive services than it ever has in its history.’

Mr Hawes said community engagement in the Shire had never been higher.

‘This year to date has seen the release of 37 press releases, compared to 30 in 2013, and 16 in 2012 informing the community of the Shire’s activities,’ he said.