KALAMUNDA ratepayer Shire Action Group needs to seriously look again at the boundaries of the Shire today, the areas of potential development and the way this council operates.
There are only 12 ' mum and dad' Councillors to supposedly represent 60,000 people.
Furthermore, very few residents now take any serious interest in their formal proceedings unless something is rumoured to be under consideration that appears to affect them very personally.
Hardly any ratepayers were present when a decision to make the change was proposed at the council meeting on November 28.
The reasons for the proposal were stated on pages 203- 4 of the agenda papers, publicly available as is usual on the preceding Thursday.
One wonders if anyone other than Councillors actually read them, since there is public question time and opportunity for delegations at the start of every meeting?
The level of apathy amongst ratepayers about this shire and council business is very high, yet these few people are actually entrusted with a huge budget and all planning decisions regarding the future urban and rural aspects of developing all areas around our homes.
Public apathy was further demonstrated very recently when the Shire engaged the community in a review and updating of its forward Community Strategic Plan, that is the means by which it sets priorities and measures its performance.
The extremely low public attendance at those meetings and written input further illustrates this apathy.
The shire and council are also themselves actually responsible for managing the overall process of ' community engagement,' but that is obviously now out of date and demonstrably inadequate.
The Kalamunda ' village' settlement itself, in what was a predominantly rural setting populated mainly by lovers of natural environment and treechange adherents, is fast becoming a minority interest part of the shire.
Massive future growth is expected elsewhere, as in the lowland localities of Forrestfield North and High Wycombe when the new rail station is completed in 2020.
In hindsight, many local Kalamunda residents who are objecting to ' city' status were those highly vocal in simply opposing amalgamation with Belmont.
That was proposed to strengthen the number and professional calibre of Shire staffing to cope with planning and managing future development as part of the rapidly growing urban Perth City Region.
Some of us then argued there was more logical sense in amalgamation of the Kalamunda Hills part of the Shire with Mundaring - that obviously has similar rural economic values and bio- diverse terrain.
Maybe city status is inevitable for the lowland ' foothills areas, why not then revisit amalgamations but differently?
Place the Kalamunda Scarpland territory with Mundaring, reorganise and rename this as a permanent Hills Shire region.
This could help prioritise both local and international tourism and seriously show- case the Hills orcharding and natural tree- shaded native bio- diverse environment as a major economic, social and recreational parkland asset. PETER FORREST, Kalamunda.