Coun­cil adds ex­tra Bal­divis ward seat

Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Pierra Wil­lix

The num­ber of City of Rock­ing­ham coun­cil­lors will be in­creased from 10 to 11 to cater for the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion in the Bal­divis area.

Dur­ing last week’s coun­cil meet­ing, seven coun­cil­lors voted to ap­prove the changes, which will see a new coun­cil­lor added in the Bal­divis ward.

The mo­tion to in­crease the num­ber of coun­cil­lors was sub­mit­ted by coun­cil­lor Mark Jones, who said hav­ing an ex­tra coun­cil­lor would be ben­e­fi­cial due to the in­creased pop­u­la­tion and would re­duce the pos­si­bil­ity of the mayor hav­ing to use a cast­ing vote.

“Ward bound­aries will al­ways be dif­fi­cult to man­age and suit ev­ery­one, how­ever, re­duc­ing the num­ber of wards from four to three will cre­ate bet­ter com­mu­ni­ties of in­ter­est with­out sep­a­rat­ing suburbs,” he said.

In a re­port to coun­cil, City of­fi­cers said there were nine sub­mis­sions re­ceived dur­ing the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod on the change to the ward sys­tem, but “there was no strong pref­er­ence shown for any of the op­tions from these sub­mis­sions”.

But the op­tion for Bal­divis to gain an ex­tra seat was not on the ta­ble and there­fore not an op­tion.

Dur­ing de­bate, Cr Jones said he did not sup­port the ward sys­tem in gen­eral.

But hav­ing 11 coun­cil­lors would be the “best way for­ward” for the next 10 years, un­til the wards were re­con­sid­ered again.

An al­ter­nate mo­tion was put for­ward by Cr Matthew Whit­field, which called for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the op­tion for the City to have 11 coun­cil­lors, after he said an­other op­tion was favoured by res­i­dents.

Cr Whit­field said the pub­lic had favoured the op­tion to have a coun­cil­lor rep­re­sent­ing the Rock­ing­ham ward to be re­duced from three to two, and the ad­di­tional coun­cil­lor in­stead re­al­lo­cated to the Bal­divis ward, while Cr Lee Down­ham said he pre­ferred this op­tion “based on its longevity”.

Crs Whit­field and Down­ham voted against the mo­tion to cre­ate the new Bal­divis seat, but were de­feated 7- 2.

Cr Down­ham had pre­vi­ously said he would not re­con­test his seat dur­ing next year’s elec­tions, mean­ing two seats in Bal­divis would be con­tested.

The num­ber of City of Rock­ing­ham coun­cil­lors will be in­creased to 11.

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