Ratepayers cop $109,000 bill for special council meetings

Subiaco Mayor Penny Taylor with her dog Chloe Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au   d495250
Subiaco Mayor Penny Taylor with her dog Chloe Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d495250

SUBIACO ratepayers have been left with a whopping $109,000 bill after a futile attempt to change the Planning Minister’s mind over a controversial new planning scheme.

Councillors called for two special meetings to be held at the start of the year in a last-ditch attempt to get Rita Saffioti to reconsider the scheme despite years of consultation.

Ms Saffioti ignored the outcomes from the meetings and labelled a move to gag the Mayor Penny Taylor and chief executive as “unprofessional and counterproductive”.

The second meeting was held on January 23 despite City staff returning the approved planning scheme to the minister’s office on the same day.

The two meetings cost just short of $109,000 to be held with $56,700 in estimated staff costs, $49,600 in legal fees and a small amount of other costs.

Staff costs related to the meeting will continue to rise with several motions still to be dealt with.

Mayor Penny Taylor said the cost of the legal fees included advice on whether motions passed at the first meeting were legal and valid.

Both meetings achieved little and failed to rid the modified scheme of its 17 modifications made to zoning in the Daglish, Subiaco and Shenton Park areas.

Western Suburbs Business Association president Mark Hann said the association would rather see the $109,000 spent on special council meetings going towards initiatives that promoted business growth.

“It is disappointing from a small business aspect to see those sorts of funds spent,” he said.

“Our preference would be to have the money spent on other activities.

“Subiaco street party, that sort of initiative I would like to think that is a positive thing for businesses here and the community.”

The cost of the legal services was about a fifth of the total spend by the City on external lawyer advice in 2018-19 which came in at $266,000.