Pub­li­can gets last seat in dra­matic fash­ion

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Pe­ter de Krui­jff

Kar­ratha pub­li­can Bart Par­sons was the win­ner of a game of one-ball bingo in the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions on Satur­day.

Mr Par­sons had tied with Julie Pope ini­tially on 620 votes apiece for the last Kar­ratha ward seat on the City of Kar­ratha coun­cil.

Af­ter six hours and three min­utes, and af­ter three re­counts, the names of both hope­fuls were in­serted into a pair of blue balls and shaken around in a box to de­cide who would be elected.

Re­turn­ing of­fi­cer Michelle Ja­cobs pulled out a ball and read Mr Par­sons’ name to his re­lief.

Mr Par­sons had be­come so ner­vous in the course of the night he stopped re­ply­ing to phone mes­sages from friends want­ing to know how the count was go­ing. It was one of the most dra­matic scenes from this year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions in the North West.

It was a tense night in the City of Kar­ratha cham­bers with close re­sults and a chook raf­fle to fin­ish the night.

Three mem­bers of a polling block which ad­ver­tised heav­ily in the dis­trict were elected com­fort­ably.

It may be a co­in­ci­dence that wa­ter de­liv­ery driver Daniel Scott’s busi­ness is called Nev­er­fail as the new coun­cil­lor re­ceived the most votes with 733 in his first tilt at lo­cal pol­i­tics.

“It was a pretty over­whelm­ing feel­ing on Satur­day night, to be hon­est,” Mr Scott said about be­ing elected.

“I have talked to past coun­cil­lors to get an un­der­stand­ing of how it operates so I can hit the ground run­ning hope­fully.”

Re­turn­ing coun­cil­lor Pe­ter Long (719) and former cit­i­zen of the year Grant Cu­cel (658) were the other two mem­bers of the block to be elected.

Former coun­cil­lor Mar­garet Bertling didn’t ad­ver­tise but has such a high pro­file in the com­mu­nity she re­ceived the sec­ond most votes, 719.

Garry Bai­ley re­ceived the glut of votes for the new Wick­hamPoint Sam­son-Roe­bourne-Cos­sack-Pas­toral Ward seat, pick­ing up 210 votes. He had nearly dou­ble that of clos­est com­peti­tor Beth Smith (114), and well ahead of Wick­ham’s Mar­cus Tutt (62).

The story of the night though, was the come­back by Blanche Bar pub­li­can Bart Par­sons, who came from about 30 votes down against Julie Pope early, to only eight be­hind half­way through the vote in the race for the fi­nal Kar­ratha seat.

The other four seats looked all but de­cided for most of the night, and for a while hope­ful Penny Lit­tle kept up pace with Mr Par­sons and Mrs Pope.

She fell off in the late stages of the count as Mr Par­sons and Mrs Pope fin­ished tied with the win­ner de­cided by two balls be­ing drawn out of a box.

Mr Par­sons was con­vinced to run as some­one who could bring a young voice onto the coun­cil.

Un­like other coun­cils in the Town of Port Hed­land and the Shire of Wyndham-East Kim­ber­ley where a com­bined six in­cum­bent coun­cil­lors were ousted over con­tentious is­sues, Mr Long did not seem to suf­fer the ill ef­fects of the com­mu­nity ire sur­round­ing the Pil­bara Un­der­ground Power Project up­heavals.

Just like when he was first elected mayor last term, Mr Long said the pri­or­ity was to see the Art Precinct be­come a re­al­ity.

“Sec­ond is to ad­dress the an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour around town,” he said.

“The thing hap­pen­ing is the hospi­tal will start be­ing built and we’re try­ing to give as much in­put into the de­sign as pos­si­ble.”

Pic­ture: Pe­ter de Krui­jff

Elected coun­cil­lor Bart Par­sons, with the blue ball that de­cided his fate, and re-elected coun­cil­lor Pe­ter Long cel­e­brate af­ter a six-hour count for the City of Kar­ratha coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lor Ge­off Har­ris fist pumps at the end of a long night when Bart Par­sons was named the last new coun­cil­lor for the City of Kar­ratha.

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