Barton fumes at secret carve-up

A SECRET City of Melville submission to carve up Bicton with neighbouring Fremantle has enraged ward councillors Susanne Taylor-Rees and June Barton.

The Bicton-Attadale councillors say they had no knowledge of—let alone being invited to have their say on—the submission before it went to the WA local government advisory board.

“We only knew it existed when we were informed by a ratepayer,” they told the Herald Thursday.

“We then had to confirm it existed with the LGAB. Not one ratepayer is aware of what’s on the table.”

The submission asks the board to keep Point Walter and the golf course in Melville but the rest of the suburbs it will cede willingly to Fremantle as part of Colin Barnett’s mergers plan.

The council is refusing to answer specific questions about its submission: “In light of the latest reform announcements from the LGAB this week, the city will issue a media statement early next week regarding all things concerning the reform process” is all it will say.

Mayor Russell Aubrey has previously said Palmyra and Bicton are, “among our most highly treasured suburbs in Melville, with Point Walter undoubtedly our main recreational and events venue”.

02. 35NEWS

He said taking away its only public golf course and the ability to hold foreshore events at Point Walter would result in a loss of $750,000 in revenue.

Cr Barton says the submission was lodged August 13 but details were presented for the first time this week, and only after she and Cr Taylor-Rees kicked up a fuss about the lack of transparency.

They had initially been told the submission was confidential because it included financial details about Canning council.

A week later, Mr Aubrey and officers delivered a presentation to the LGAB based on the August 13 submission.

At this presentation, the LGAB informed Melville the proposed Fremantle-Melville boundary of Stock Road was not negotiable but then asked Melville what its minimum sustainability requirements were. The council said Point Walter and profitable golf course needed to stay.

“The CEO told us on Tuesday without Palmyra and Bicton, Melville would become the Peppermint Grove of the area,” Cr Taylor-Rees says, criticising the brief as inadequate.

LGAB chair Mel Congerton says a new submission period is opening for Melville and Cockburn boundaries. Submissions must be received by September 15.

by CARMELO AMALFI

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