LONG-time Bayswater council watcher Tony Green says mayor Barry McKenna should resign over his role in the unsuccessful fight against a concrete batching plant that cost the city at least $282,000.
Mr Green is president of the Bayswater City Residents and Ratepayers Association but stressed he wasn’t calling for the resignation in his official capacity, just as a resident who’d been shocked by a big rates increase.
Bayswater council was stuck between a rock and a hard place when a lot of unhappy locals living near the proposed batching plant on Collier Road voiced concerns over dust, noise and traffic.
But the State Administrative Tribunal said the council acted “unreasonably” in refusing to approve it, despite professional advice, and ordered Bayswater to pay $112,000 in costs to the owners of the plant, along with the hundreds of thousands of legal fees of their own.
Mr Green called for Cr McKenna’s resignation during public question time at last Tuesday’s council meeting.
The audio recording of the controversial question, and the mayor’s fiery response, were reported as lost, due to “technical difficulties”, on the city’s website.
Although Cr McKenna has only been mayor for two years and the batching plant battle stretches back to 2011, Mr Green says the SAT found that Cr McKenna, “appeared to have little substance underpinning his own reasons for refusing the proposed development beyond stating a number of times in different ways what the tribunal finds to be implausible statements to the effect that the decision ‘… was for valid planning reasons’.”
Cr McKenna told the Voice “my job as mayor and the job of council is to represent the community on matters that are important and that impact the lives of our ratepayers and residents.
“I will not resign for representing my community and I will not resign for trying to make a difference for those residents impacted by the batching plant.
“The easy thing would have been to walk away from this issue, but it would have been the wrong thing to do.
“Council believed and continues to believe that it considered the concrete batching plant on its merits and that it was right to reject the application. Representing the community is something I am passionate about…”
by DAVID BELL