LETTERS 22.3.14

With all due respect
PAUL COLLINS of Coolbinia is critical of the proposed amalgamation of councils (Voice Mail, March 8, 2014).
Mr Collins refers to “community of interest” locations (eg, Inglewood’s community of interest location being centred on Beaufort Street towards Mt Lawley, not Morley).
With all due respect to Mr Collins, the concept of an area of local interest went out with button-up boots, or more specifically the motor car. If you look at the beautiful old houses in Mt Lawley/Inglewood, many had either no garage, or the garage was an afterthought. People didn’t, as they now do, travel far from home to undertake their daily business.
In the old days there was a strong sense of local community as people shopped locally and dealt with local trades and service people. There were no supermarkets and the corner shop reigned supreme.
For better or for worse, we have moved on. It is called “progress”.
To promote the view that somehow ratepayers will be disadvantaged through an amalgamation of councils and that for some unexplained reason it will create inefficiencies in service delivery is fatuous; using that logic we would be better off with more councils than we already have. There will always be those who resist change, and for those 184 concerned Stirling residents who attended the community rally in Inglewood and the 200 in Dianella, I acknowledge their concerns because change is confronting. However, the benefits of an amalgamation are obvious; one doesn’t need a degree in economics to understand that getting rid of duplication of services and to have smaller local government would ultimately result in lower council rates.
Kelvin White
The Ed says: We’ll hold you to that Kelvin…when you get that lower rates bill, you let us know. But forgive us if we don’t hold our breath.

Crazy battle
THIS crazy battle with councils struggling to protect themselves  and their ratepayers from the state government’s “boundary realignment” tactics to create larger more powerful councils, should be spelled out more clearly as a struggle for social justice.
The question needs to be asked—when Brisbane is in the process of de-amalgamating its gigantic council because being too large has been a failure, just why is WA hell bent on making the same mistakes?
Bigger councils have been shown to breed corruption—look at the histories of Cockburn, Wanneroo and Stirling councils for example, because such large size councils are too difficult for ratepayers to monitor what goes on internally and their voices get crushed.
The ideal size for effective running is up to a maximum 60,000 population. Vincent council has shown it can be successful in its decision-making because its councillors are able to be easily contacted and its ratepayers’ voices can be heard.
Residents can have their three-minute say at council meetings. In Vincent there still exists a community spirit where ratepayers know their neighbours and people are happier.
Democracy is still alive.
This does not happen at Perth city council forums—you have to write in in advance and hold your hand up. You may or may not have your voice heard. The experience is one of being overridden by a dictatorship.
Larger councils become self-serving entities. Merging councils does not mean better benefits nor services for the public. Unequal merging cannot be tolerated. Adjusting borders is even sneakier.
My submission to the WA local government advisory board two years ago pointed all this out: whatever has happened to logic and common sense in WA? We do not want dictatorships nor do ratepayers want to stand for the massive cost of boundary realignment/amalgamations
It really is sad that most West Australians do not realise the impact that local councils have on their lives. This really is another aspect of social justice.  Local councils were created to serve people’s needs—not the other way round.
What we want is social justice leading to true democracy, not larger councils.
Marie Slyth
Carr St, West Perth

Saint Twiggy
HAS Perth spawned its own William Wilberforce?
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest visited the Vatican this week.
In 1789, in the UK parliament, Wilberforce was first to rail against the slave trade, rampant then, and ongoing today—albeit low profile.
In the Vatican, Mr Forrest announced what amounts to his taking up the Wilberforce banner.
Is this “Saint Twiggy” in the making?
Bill Proude
First Ave, Mount Lawley

A waste
WHAT an appalling waste of prime land adjacent to a railway station the Oxford Street Reserve plans are. The most sensible proposal in keeping with proper town planning rules is for high-rise accommodation, to service adjacent shops and railway.
The plans are so amatuerish: Angle-parking off a main road, a no- no. A nature playground, I’m holding my breath. The southern end, some 20 per cent of the site appears to be lawn.
What is stage 2? Back to the drawing Board and transplant the date palm.
Robert Hart
Anderson St, Mt Hawthorn

End the jam and let’s go undergound
I AM very concerned to have noticed a notice of motion in Vincent’s March 11 council meeting agenda regarding the underground power project.
The council consulted with the Brookman and Moir Street community in 2013 and there was overwhelming support—more than 72 per cent (50/69) in favour.
Following this the council wrote to the community and outlined a clear and unambiguous underground power project implementation plan.
I believe that to have been a contract and commitment by the City of Vincent to manage the project, which is funded by the ratepayers.
The purpose of community consultation is to assist decision-making, and when decisions are made, they should not be subject to unnecessary and costly recycling. The council surely cannot afford to recycle every decision it makes at the behest of lobbyists who were against the original decision, or have changed their mind.
I have owned my home in Brookman Street for 20 years, and undergrounding of the power has been a consistent discussion point in the community throughout this period.
Please do not introduce further costly and unnecessary delays into the project in Brookman and Moir Streets.
Mark Greenshields
Brookman Street, Perth

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