Mayor re­cov­ers af­ter as­sault

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - FRONT PAGE - Lisa Thomas Justin Bian­chini

THE City of Swan is re­view­ing its pro­cesses to en­sure safety of coun­cil­lors and staff af­ter Mayor David Lu­cas was as­saulted with a mi­cro­phone at a spe­cial elec­tors meet­ing on Mon­day night.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Fo­ley said there were se­cu­rity guards at the spe­cial meet­ing, but the in­ci­dent had prompted a re­view of the City’s se­cu­rity pro­cesses.

“Although there was se­cu­rity present at the meet­ing, the City is re­view­ing its pro­cesses to en­sure max­i­mum safety of coun­cil­lors, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers for fu­ture meet­ings,” he said.

A 67-year-old man was charged af­ter al­legedly as­sault­ing Cr Lu­cas with the mi­cro­phone when the meet­ing had closed.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened just be­fore 8pm in front of a crowd of 200 res­i­dents who had met at the Mid­land Town Hall to dis­cuss the Mid­land Oval re­de­vel­op­ment plan.

Cr Lu­cas re­ceived a head in­jury as well as a knee in­jury dur­ing the in­ci­dent and was treated at St John of God Mid­land Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal.

Pa­trick Ir­win from Save the Mid­land Oval group said the man al­legedly re­spon­si­ble for the as­sault was not af­fil­i­ated with their group.

“I have emailed David Lu­cas with my sym­pa­thy and cer­tainly have con­firmed to him that we have no knowl­edge of or af­fil­i­a­tion with the per­son who al­legedly at­tacked the Mayor,” he said.

“I also hope that this does not dis­tract from the valid points we made, as it is such a cru­cial is­sue for the fu­ture of Mid­land.”

The 67-year-old man will face Mid­land Mag­is­trates court on July 10.

A PLAN to build apart­ments, re­tail and of­fice space on the Mid­land Oval was likened to the clear­ing of Beel­iar Wet­lands for Roe 8 in a heated spe­cial elec­tors meet­ing on Mon­day night.

More than 200 res­i­dents and ratepay­ers turned out at the Mid­land Town Hall to ar­gue for the need for more green pub­lic open space in the Mid­land Oval re­de­vel­op­ment mas­ter­plan.

Six mo­tions were raised at the meet­ing and car­ried, with ref­er­ence to stop­ping con­struc­tion and in­creas­ing green open space.

Res­i­dents said it was not too late to stop the de­vel­op­ment.

Res­i­dent Tony Mann said the Mc­Gowan gov­ern­ment had no is­sues with chang­ing plans for Roe 8 af­ter the 2017 State Elec­tion, so there was noth­ing to stop the City go­ing back to the draw­ing board and keep­ing the in­tegrity of Mid­land Oval and al­low­ing more green pub­lic open space.

Kala­munda MLA Matthew Hughes spoke at the meet­ing, say­ing he would do all he could to en­sure the City of Swan would be ac­count­able.

“I will do all I can that the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Depart­ment ex­am­ines closely the de­ci­sion of this council,” he said

Long-time Mid­land res­i­dent Carl Moore said he had grown up play­ing sport on Mid­land Oval and hoped his grand­chil­dren would as well.

He said he was con­cerned the oval de­vel­op­ment would end up sim­i­lar to Scheme 12 in the 1980s.

“Plan­ning Scheme 12 in the 1980s for a com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment ended in the State Gov­ern­ment hav­ing to bail the City out by mov­ing DOLA (the for­mer Depart­ment of Land Ad­min­is­tra­tion) to Mid­land. It was a to­tal fi­asco,” he said.

Mid­land MLA Michelle Roberts said Mid­land lacked green open space and big trees.

“There are few more im­por­tant met­ro­pol­i­tan centres,” she said.

“Be­fore there was El­len­brook or Bal­la­jura, there was Mid­land. I’ve been to towns and cities all over and they have park­lands and big trees; we lack that here.

“We are here be­cause we have a vi­sion for Mid­land and we care about Mid­land. It’s dif­fer­ent to the vi­sion of the City.”

Ms Roberts said the last thing Mid­land needed was more re­tail and of­fice space.

“De­spite a num­ber of va­cant spa­ces we see the council pro­vid­ing com­pe­ti­tion; when any­one walks around Mid­land the last thing they think is we need more re­tail and com­mer­cial space,” she said.

Pa­trick Ir­win ques­tioned why the com­mu­nity would want to pay $100 mil­lion to lose its only green pub­lic open space.

“A good plan is to keep our cen­tral park and de­velop around it; a good plan wouldn’t be to de­stroy our oval for apart­ments and a shop­ping cen­tre,” he said.

Greens MLC Tim Clif­ford said the City’s ver­sion of progress was dif­fer­ent to that of the com­mu­nity.

He said it made no sense to have no park for the com­mu­nity to en­joy.

“I’m ap­palled,” he said. SWAN Mayor David Lu­cas was quick to bounce back af­ter Mon­day night’s al­ter­ca­tion at the Mid­land Town Hall.

The next night he of­fi­cially opened the Quest Ho­tel Mid­land be­fore of­fi­ci­at­ing at a cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony in the town hall.

He was also quick to wit when he ad­dressed guests at the apart­ment’s ho­tel open­ing.

“I’m just go­ing to check this mi­cro­phone. I did ask for one with a big fluffy bit of foam around it,” he said.

He told the Gazette he was thank­ful for mes­sages of sup­port from peo­ple for and against Swan’s plans for Mid­land.

“I just want to put it be­hind me and move on,” he said.

“The City of Swan is a great place to live, work and play, so busi­ness as usual.”

Paramedics tend to the man al­leged to have as­saulted Mayor David Lu­cas.

Mayor David Lu­cas in the af­ter­math of the as­sault.

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