Troy Pickard responds to critcism


Troy Pickard disputes letter saying city’s priorties are skewed.
Troy Pickard disputes letter saying city’s priorties are skewed.

I WOULD like to respond to some of the claims made by John Cussons in his letter in last week’s edition headlined “Priorities skewed”.

Indeed, in the past 10 years, I have refrained from responding to letters to the editor; but I am making an exception on this occasion.

Mr Cussons says that “rates are ridiculously high” and that “we are paying more for rates and services, and getting less”, which is simply not true.

The City recently adopted its 2016/17 Budget, which included an overall rate increase restricted to 2.5 per cent for most ratepayers. This is in fact the lowest rates rise in the City in the past 15 years.

In addition, there was no increase in the City’s domestic refuse charge for the second successive year, despite the rising costs of disposing of waste via landfill.

Rates contribute to the delivery of hundreds of very popular services and programs that the City provides including libraries and leisure facilities, free festivals and cultural events, waste collection and recycling, graffiti removal, traffic management on local roads, security patrols, and child health immunisation clinics, to name just a few.

I would encourage Mr Cussons to use and enjoy these services and programs like most people in our community.

In regards to Mr Cussons’ suggestion that the City “does not subscribe to conducting surveys or feasibility studies”, the opposite is true with Joondalup renowned for having an active, connected and engaged community as a result of our extensive public consultation and engagement strategies.

The City regularly consults with the community on a range of projects and issues that are likely to be of interest to local residents – such as projects like Ocean Reef Marina, construction of new community facilities or refurbishments, road and traffic works and playground and park upgrades.

Mr Cussons’ comments that “projects end up under-used” and “if white elephants were animals, we would be living in a zoo” could not be further from the truth.

Over the past 10 years, the City has invested more than $12 million in new community facilities including Gibson Park Community Centre, Currambine Community Centre, Admiral Park, Forrest Park, Bramston Park and Seacrest Park Community Sporting Facility.

Groups and local residents heavily use these community assets alike. The City has also spent almost $20 million on improvements to Craigie Leisure Centre, which now enjoys patronage of well over one million visitors per year.

The City has supported these projects because it recognises the vital role they have played in building and engaging communities, and enhancing community spirit. I am sure that the tens of thousands of local residents and members of the wider community who have enjoyed the use of these first-class facilities would find it offensive that they are labelled under-used and white elephants, as I do.

Joondalup council does recognise cost of living pressures that many residents are experiencing and has ensured recent rate rises have been modest, while also ensuring major infrastructure projects, important community assets, services and programs are maintained.

Our local community values and enjoys world-class services, programs and facilities, and people are proud to live in a proactive and progressive community such as the City of Joondalup.

TROY PICKARD, Mayor of Joondalup.