Council adds extra Baldivis ward seat
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.