NO disrespect to Logan Howlett’s opponents in Cockburn’s upcoming mayoral election, but in reality they’ll need a Pyongyang-like arsenal to knock him off.
Since his predecessor Stephen Lee’s forced resignation and the extraordinary by-election in March 2009 that delivered him the top seat, Mr Howlett’s council has gone from strength to strength.
It’s recent community survey shows punters are more than happy with life in their bailiwick; they’ve pinched the Dockers from Fremantle, fought off the forces of amalgamation that sought to annihilate the city, scored one of the biggest and best kids’ playgrounds in Perth, keep safe in a state-of-the art surf club, have a new integrated health centre, shop in their bustling new city centre, have voted with their flippers over Cockburn Arc by sending memberships through the roof, and they’re even getting healthy by the droves climbing up the Manning Steps.
In fact, things are going so well that Mr Howlett wants to spread the love.
If re-elected in October, he wants the council to partner with some of the struggling regional councils around WA to provide mentorship.
He cottoned onto that because of one of the other traits he’s pushing in his campaign; Logan’s everywhere.
Go to a festival and he’ll be opening it, attend any council or committee meeting and he’s there, attend a school fair and he’ll be dragging the grandkids along, and when he attended a meeting of regional councils because he’s also on WALGA they were gobsmacked – no city-slicker chain-wearing mayor had ever shown interest in them before.
But he says there’s a lot to learn from them as well, if you’re prepared to listen.
“From the day I was elected in March 2009, every day has been a campaign day, we never stop,” Mr Howlett says of he and his wife Pat, who’s a constant companion at his side.
He puts in 80 to 90 hours as mayor every week, belying his few opponents characterisation of him as a bit of a plodder.
And despite having lived that gruelling schedule seven days a week for the last eight years (give or take a rare holiday), he reckons he’s raring to go for another term.
He wants to see the city’s new strategic, financial, community and workforce plans to fruition.
There’s also new sports facilities in Visko Park (groundworks started last month) and a skate park in Bibra Lake that he’s itching to see built.
He says despite the pain, fighting off the merger was his proudest moment, followed by seeing off the “Greater Fremantle” movement.
“One of the defining meetings was at the PCYC in Hilton Park and when I finished speaking there was a huge roar and the floorboards were rocking.”
by STEVE GRANT