In­vest­ment drive to build su­per city


Comment News (Armadale) - - Front Page - Ben Smith

IT has been just over six months since Glenn De­whurst be­came Mayor of the City of Gos­nells and he has loved ev­ery mo­ment of it.

The for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer, busi­ness­man and cock­a­too sanc­tu­ary founder mem­o­rably came to power af­ter his name was drawn out of a hat af­ter a three­way tie in the may­oral vote.

A quar­ter of the way through his term, the Mayor has spo­ken of his de­sire to see Gos­nells be­come a ‘su­per city’.

He said while Gos­nells was oc­ca­sion­ally for­got­ten due to its lo­ca­tion be­tween two big cities in Ar­madale and Can­ning, he be­lieved Gos­nells had the po­ten­tial to match them.

“We’re be­tween two powerhouse cities, Ar­madale and Can­ning, where a lot of money is spent and we seem to be lost in that mid­dle,” he said.

“We’ve got cities ei­ther side of us get­ting Fed­eral and State money, with a lot of pri­vate in­vest­ment go­ing in, and we’re get­ting missed.

“But we can be­come a su­per city and quite frankly we can do it with­out the State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ment (money).

“We need their bu­reau­cracy but we can get this paid for, as other cities have done in the past, (by get­ting) the right kind of busi­nesses into the city to cre­ate jobs.”

Cr De­whurst said he was do­ing his best to drive in­vest­ment in the city.

“I have con­tacts with peo­ple who have a lot of money and I’ve been try­ing to at­tract them to the City of Gos­nells,” he said.

“We’ve had a cou­ple of keen in­vestors come.

“How­ever, they’ve asked for a part­ner­ship with the City and the coun­cil­lors have agreed they don’t want that part­ner­ship.

“My main fo­cus was eco­nomic growth and in­creas­ing em­ploy­ment and wages for the peo­ple in the City of Gos­nells.

“I’m find­ing it dif­fi­cult be­cause I’ve got to re­spect the di­rec­tion of the coun­cil­lors; they’ve de­cided they don’t want to go that way.

“At­tract­ing the right com­pa­nies, who give money lo­cally, is what we want and I’m very pas­sion­ate about get­ting in­vest­ment into the city.”

Over the first six months of his reign, Cr De­whurst has en­dured his share of con­tro­versy.

The coun­cil de­bated whether his shar­ing of a Facebook post by an anti-Islamic group breached the City’s code of con­duct.

He faced fur­ther scru­tiny when he sub­mit­ted a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion in his daugh­ter’s name to “help build her on­line pro­file”.

How­ever, he said he had not taken any of the crit­i­cism to heart and for ev­ery critic he had found an ally.

“Ini­tially I was tak­ing it per­son­ally but I spoke to a mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and they said ‘it comes with the turf, you’re not go­ing to have ev­ery­one happy’,” he said.

“I’m cer­tainly on a mis­sion and the feed­back I’m get­ting is the coun­cil cer­tainly needs a shake-up.

“Not just a shake-up for the sake of a shake-up but to ac­tu­ally drive eco­nomic ben­e­fits, jobs and growth.”

Cr De­whurst said he also wanted to see more trans­parency at Gos­nells’ coun­cil meet­ings in the form of video record­ings.

“I want to see our work­shops done in pub­lic view so the pub­lic can see how the coun­cil­lors are think­ing,” he said.

“When you have de­vel­op­ment go­ing through, there’s frus­tra­tion of peo­ple who come to our meet­ings but don’t have a right of re­ply and coun­cil­lors can’t ask them ques­tions.

“Coun­cil­lors are talk­ing about hav­ing au­dio record­ings of coun­cil (meet­ings), but I think if you’re go­ing to have ab­so­lute trans­parency, you need video record­ing.”

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