BAYSWATER ratepayers will get to choose their own mayor under new local government reforms making their way through Parliament.
But it will come at the cost of some elected representation, as the City’s population of 75,000 will be too small to justify any more than eight ward councillors and a mayor.
Bayswater currently has 11 elected ward representatives, one of whom is chosen by their colleagues to wear the mayoral robes. North, central and west wards have three positions (with mayor Filomena Piffaretti having been elected in north ward), while south ward has two councillors.
Following local government minister John Carey announcing the latest tranche of reforms in July, Bayswater will this week vote on whether to adopt the “direct election” of the mayor by voters at the 2023 council elections.
While the legislation mandating the change is unlikely to be passed before those elections, Bayswater CEO Jeremy Edwards has been told Mr Carey will soon be writing to councils urging them not to wait.
The changes are also expected to spark a full review of the council’s ward boundaries.
“No details have been provided to local governments regarding the intended transitional arrangements for the proposed reform,” a report to this week’s council meeting said.
“However, it appears … the minister intends for the changes to be implemented across two ordinary council meetings.
“This may either require adjustments to be made to the ward boundaries twice, or for the Local Government Advisory Board to consider a temporary relaxation of its elected member to elector ratios policy.”
Council officers noted that they’d have to get cracking, as a ward and boundary review can take four to six months, and they need to have a proposal ready for the Local Government Advisory Board before January 31, 2023 in order to make any changes in time for the next elections.
by STEVE GRANT