Mayor leaves proud legacy


Kalgoorlie Miner - - OPINION - Sam Tom­lin

It is in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to de­scribe the loom­ing de­par­ture of Mayor Ron Yurye­vich as any­thing other than the end of an era.

Since his elec­tion to what was then still the Shire of Boul­der in 1988, he’s spent nearly a quar­ter of a cen­tury ded­i­cat­ing him­self to this city and this re­gion.

The num­bers speak for them­selves: his 19 years as mayor will see him top out Ray Fin­layson (16 years), who he de­feated in the 1992 may­oral elec­tion, and come in be­hind only Sir Richard Moore (29 years), whose gov­er­nance ef­fec­tively laid the ground­work for the city as it stands to­day.

But it’s not just longevity Mr Yurye­vich shares with his il­lus­tri­ous pre­de­ces­sors — it is legacy as well.

The Kal­go­or­lie Golf Course, the Burt Street re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion and the Ray Fin­layson Sport­ing Com­plex — these are projects driven by Mr Yurye­vich that have changed and will change the face of the city.

The de­vel­op­ment of the sec­ond run­way at Kal­go­or­lie Air­port — some­thing the mayor points to as a per­sonal high­light — gave the city ac­cess to an un­prece­dented rev­enue stream and al­lowed much of the con­struc­tion that has come since.

He has re­mained a pas­sion­ate op­po­nent of the in­sid­i­ous spread of fly-in, fly-out work prac­tices in the best way pos­si­ble, en­sur­ing the com­mu­nity grew into a place young pro­fes­sion­als and their fam­i­lies would be more than com­fort­able re­lo­cat­ing to.

As much as the “Live, work and play” slo­gan be­came some­thing of a lo­cal po­lit­i­cal cliche, it’s un­de­ni­able that — par­tic­u­larly in his sec­ond may­oral stint post-2003 — Mr Yurye­vich, in part­ner­ship with long-term CKB chief ex­ec­u­tive Don Bur­nett, has played a key role open­ing up the city to fam­i­lies and tourists alike.

And in a pe­riod when the State Gov­ern­ment has al­lowed a steady stream of rev­enue and re­sources to flow out of the re­gion, Mr Yurye­vich has never halted in his public crit­i­cism, and his will­ing­ness to stand up for the peo­ple he rep­re­sents.

He’s copped his fair share of public flak in re­turn, be­com­ing some­thing of a light­ning rod for public crit­i­cism of the City, but boasts an elec­toral record that shows, when push came to shove, Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der vot­ers were pre­pared to back him in.

Given the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise he de­vel­oped, it’s no sur­prise the State Gov­ern­ment be­gan to call on his ser­vices as a spe­cial coun­cil com­mis­sioner, ev­ery­where from Perth to Ger­ald­ton to WA’s north, and he con­tin­ues to be a re­spected fig­ure among lo­cal gov­ern­ments across WA and Aus­tralia.

While there’s plenty to celebrate, it hasn’t all been smooth sail­ing for the boy from Boul­der.

The re­lent­lessly com­bat­ive ap­proach so many ap­proved of also alien­ated plenty of oth­ers, par­tic­u­larly when it came to bring­ing the public on­board for key projects like the stalled re­sort plan for the golf course.

Fights picked with the State Gov­ern­ment over the Gold­fields Arts Cen­tre and the SES head­quar­ters dragged out dis­putes that oth­er­wise seemed re­solv­able, and the tacit ap­proval for a con­tro­ver­sial work­ers’ camp on the city’s out­skirts was a def­i­nite po­lit­i­cal mis­step last year.

He also had an un­doubted ten­dency to take neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity per­son­ally, and was not shy about let­ting a suc­ces­sion of coun­cil re­porters (and ed­i­tors) know about it.

But as some­one who’s found them­selves on the end of more than one an­gry may­oral mis­sive, the pas­sion­ate re­sponses struck me as a re­flec­tion of just how much of him­self Mr Yurye­vich in­vests in his work, and how se­ri­ously he takes the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of his of­fice.

That he has been able to go full tilt in ar­guably the hard­est job in town for the bet­ter part of two decades is a tes­ta­ment to his qual­i­ties as a per­son, and how much he cares about this City.

When he steps down in Oc­to­ber, he’ll do so with a proud record of public ser­vice, and an en­vi­able list of achieve­ments.

The Miner con­grat­u­lates him for his ef­forts, and wishes him all the best for the fu­ture.

Sam Tom­lin is the editor of the

Pic­ture: Mary Meagher

City of Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der Deputy Mayor Al­lan Pen­dal, for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Don Bur­nett and out­go­ing Mayor Ron Yurye­vich hard at work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.