Small town burden: Cottesloe Council staff say operations could be affected by work ahead

Stock image.
Stock image.

COTTESLOE Council staff have said the town’s operations are being hindered by more requests for residents’ comment on top of current projects when a councillor’s request for public opinion on a new bike path was rebuffed at the August meeting.

“More generally, the administration currently has a formidable workload , which is not going to be easing any in time in the near future,” a staff report.

Cr Sandra Boulter asked for residents to comment on the Fremantle railway principle shared path (PSP) when councillors debated more trees for cockatoos on the route.

Cr Boulter wanted the PSP put in the community consultation policy, make residents’ replies have names and addresses, and submissions be split into ratepayers, residents, originals and form letter groups.

The report had “several concerns”, including the council previously agreeing to Main Roads’ PSP route, the project not being Cottesloe’s, and the need for public comment not being clear.

“If council chooses to take on another submission period, it should consider the impact it will have on other areas of the town’s operations, and more importantly, whether or not the community, having been consulted on so many things, is going to be engaged in a meaningful way,” the report said.

In months ahead, the staff will have to get community opinion on at least nine proposals, while also working on two other projects and changes to Local Government and Planning acts. Asked this week if she would continue asking for public comments, Cr Boulter said she supported the council’s consultation policy, which “recognised the importance of consultation in democratic governance”.

“An effective consultative culture fosters community engagement in decisions that have the potential to effect Cottesloe’s amenity and environment,” Cr Boulter said

Councillors rejected PSP public consultation but gave in-principle support to a cockatoo habitat corridor.