Moving council meetings ‘confusing’

Moving council meetings ‘confusing’

Councillor Matthew Whitfield put forward the motion to host monthly city council meetings in different suburbs for a year, as a way to engage more with the community after a backlash from recent rate rises.

But the motion is unlikely to be adopted, with the Corporate and Community Development committee voting in favour of the officer�s recommendation to reject the proposal, three votes to two.

The motion suggested hosting council meetings in Baldivis, Cooloongup, Golden Bay, Hillman, Port Kennedy, Rockingham, Safety Bay, Secret Harbour, Shoalwater, Singleton, Waikiki and Warnbro venues rather the city�s council chambers.

Cr Whitfield said the response from ratepayers to the recent 7 per cent rate rises prompted the motion, and he suggested there was a need for the city to �get in touch� with the community and encourage more people to attend council meetings.

�We need people to get in touch with (the city) so they can be informed, and facilitate open discussion,� Cr Whitfield said.

�People feel intimidated about coming to council and speaking; if we go out to their communities they can be in comfortable surrounds and gain confidence by bringing friends for moral support.

�No one else (in WA local government) does this, why can�t we be pioneers and have a 12-month trial?� Cr Sammels said he doubted attendances would increase as a result of going to different suburbs.

�People know to come to the (chambers for council meetings), they know where it is and when, so it could cause confusion if we went elsewhere each month,� he said.

�We have a fantastic council chambers and we should use it.�

Cr Whitfield will have to persuade at least four of the five remaining councillors not on the Corporate and Community Development committee to back the motion at next Tuesday�s meeting for it to be adopted.