New merger proposal adds up

The option would create two new western suburbs councils and is an alternative the council’s preferred G4 comprising Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Claremont and Peppermint Grove, and the State Government-proposed G7 merger of all westerns suburbs councils.

‘I don’t believe for one minute that we can stay just as Cottesloe and we must do the right thing for our ratepayers, and that is to have two councils left in the western suburbs,’ Cottesloe Mayor Jo Dawkins said.

A G5 of about 55,000 residents would leave Cambridge and Subiaco councils to combine to form a similar-sized council.

But the Government has advocated councils with 100,000 residents.

The Local Government Advisory Board will recommend new council boundaries to Local Government Minister Tony Simpson by mid-2014.

Mrs Dawkins said the G7 would be the only model considered by the board unless it was given an alternative like the G5.

A Cottesloe council survey found about 57 per cent of residents favoured a merger slightly larger than the G4, but the G7 was opposed by ratepayers and councillors.

Cr Rob Rowell said a G7 larger than State electorates failed to recognise the ‘logic’ of a council’s street-level roles representing the interest of communities, and councillors would require political support to be elected.

‘It means (the G7) becomes a province of party politics or, as the message from the eastern states tell us, it’s the province of the developers,’ Cr Jack Walsh said.

Mr Simpson commended Cottesloe Council for its G5 support and said it should send a submission to the board.

‘Where there is discussion about a G5, there’s always hope,’ he said.

Asked about political influence in a G7, he said experienced councillors focused on building strong councils should be elected by residents at October 2015 elections, and that ‘party politics shouldn’t come into it’.

He said developers wanted red tape cut and streamlined building approvals. ‘They don’t want to stand for council, as they’ve told me, they just want more timely processing of planning applications, rather than having to wait months for a decision,’ Mr Simpson said.