AFTER spending seven months trying to get Vincent council to fix a traffic safety issue just metres from city hall, Leederville local Ross Ioppolo has decided to run for council.
He says while the experience was “incredibly frustrating” he hopes to turn it into a positive and steer the council more towards listening to local solutions.
“There’s an opportunity to re-engage with the community,” he says, noting quite a few south ward locals he’s chatted to have felt disenfranchised lately.
“In most cases residents are the ones who have the solutions to problems in their neighbourhood.”
The instigating issue was verge parking on Vincent Street which blocked residents’ view while coming out of their driveways.
“It was like playing a game of Frogger trying to get across the road, without seeing the traffic,” he says.
Mr Ioppolo first contacted council about it in January but says he couldn’t get clear answers about what its policy was, whether verge parking could be banned, and whether his issue was being progressed.
After hearing of a neighbour’s similar experience over the same issue, he gathered a petition signed by just about everyone on the street and put it to councillors.
A report went to councillors in July noting this was a staff matter, but nonetheless informing council that staff had decided to ban Vincent Street parking, taking effect late August.
Mr Ioppolo says “from a resident’s perspective… when there’s no transparency about what has happened after you reached out to the City of Vincent, and no timeframe, and no adequate or meaningful engagement and communication, it’s incredibly frustrating”.
With a finance background and having worked as a CFO, he says in private industry complaints such as his would be handled like a ticketing system. “You’d log it, have it on record, and once it’s closed you’d close it out, and you’re very transparent about how long issues take to get resolved.
That promotes accountability because you have a history of performance.”
If elected he’d like to see council take a more active role engaging residents, and is keen on supporting the revival of precinct groups which once boldly represented resident interests before largely fading away in the past decade. He says even something like council supporting the return of the local history walks would be a good way to get people interested in their area and engaged with council.
Mr Ioppolo says he has no interest in other areas of politics, saying “I’m really only doing this because I want change for council and administration, purely for residents’ sake.
“Local government is that last bastion of community and in my view that should transcend politics.”
He’s running in south ward where there are two seats being contested. Incumbent councillor Jonathan Hallett is seeking another term, while after 12 years in the job Josh Topelberg has decided not to re-contest.
In north ward there are two four-year spots and one for a two-year stint, as councillor Sally Smith is retiring two years before her term expires.
by DAVID BELL