Staff advise ‘no’ to project

SENIOR Vincent council staff aren’t keen on rolling out underground power across the rest of the city and, according to one councillor, seem to be deliberately obstructive.

Last year the elected council asked staff to prepare a strategy to roll it out but new special projects director Gaby Pieraccini—brought in to take big projects out of the CEO’s hands—advised against pursuing it.

She told councillors it’d take too long, cost too much, the city had “limited capacity” to undertake the project, and there was a lack of community commitment.

Councillors weren’t happy with her brief report, and deferred a final decision until it could do more community consultation.

Most elected members seem keen on pursuing the project, with mayor John Carey having campaigned on “a realistic plan for underground power”. However, Cr Matt Buckels says he doesn’t see it as a priority and says “I’d rather put in a pool”.

Former councillor Dudley Maier says staff appear to be the tail wagging the elected dog: “At every turn the administration have produced reports of questionable quality. This report is no different. It contains very little information and makes unsubstantiated claims.”

Mr Maier says a claim it’d take too long didn’t stop Subiaco embarking on its 48-year plan.

And he points out the “lack of community commitment” wasn’t reflected in consultation on the Moir/Brookman/Lake Streets, where most respondents say they are happy to pay.

Since 2008 he’s been trying to get staff to look into how Subiaco funds underground power. The response took four months and all he received was a three-paragraph reply, with scant information.

He asked again several times over the next couple of years.

“I was sick of getting vague information from the administration,” he said.

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