Status quo plays out in ward review at Cottesloe Council

Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers.
Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers.

AN overwhelming two-thirds of Cottesloe residents who responded to public comment want their small council not to change from four wards, eight councillors and an elected mayor.

“It ensures and more equitable election process and focus on local issues,” respondent James Atkinson said.

The 6641-resident council of one suburb is required to review the boundaries of its wards, councillor numbers and mayoral election method every two years, and before the local government elections scheduled for October next year.

In the six weeks to November 21, it had 116 responses to its review of four options comprising keeping the current system, having no wards and eight councillors, no wards and six councillors, or any alternative suggested by the public.

A staff report said 66 per cent of the responses favoured no change and seven per cent wanted the second option of no wards and eight councillors.

“With a small council area it is reasonable to expect all councillors to be, or become familiar with, all of its parts, and make decisions with the whole town’s interests in mind,” option two respondent Robert Morrison said.

A fifth of respondents wanted the town to reduce its councillors to six.

“Decisions made in any one ward will always have an effect in the other wards in our small town,” third option supporter Ann Kay said.

Cr Sandra Boulter told her colleagues that the Local Government Board has previously said the council was too small for four wards and eight councillors.

She said many residents mistakenly thought they could only contact their ward’s councillors, and not all the council’s members, about an issue.

However, her colleagues went with the majority of respondents.

“We have been out to public consultation and it’s overwhelmingly in favour of the status quo, so let’s do it, and no change,” Cr Rob Thomas said.

It was agreed to advise the board to make no changes.