KATY MAIR has made a stunning political comeback after being voted in for a second tenure as Melville mayor.
Ms Mair, who did five terms in the top job from 1995 – 2007, fared well with preferences after incumbent mayor George Gear’s primary vote of 4347 gave him an early lead of around 300.
But she was the beneficiary of a haul of preferences when Jane Edinger dropped out of the race in the third round, despite Cr Edinger having an informal “agreement” to cross-preference Clive Ross.
While Cr Ross received 345 of Ms Edinger’s preferences, Ms Mair raked in 656 to give her a lead over Mr Gear which built as the count continued throughout Saturday evening and for another eight hours on Sunday.
She finished 1303 votes clear, 7982 – 6679, based on a turnout of 31.8 per cent of electors.
Ms Mair told the Herald it had been a “tough election”.
“The former mayor George Gear and myself were running pretty close until all preferences were distributed and I won,” she said.
“Preferential voting gave me the opportunity to be mayor in 1995 and again this election.
“I think optional preferential voting is a good system.
“It was easy for residents to manage because it is similar to state and federal elections.
“They had the option to number one candidate, which a large number did, or just for the candidates they knew, or rank all candidates.
“It also offers broader agreement in the selection of elected members.”
Ms Mair said she’d like to see Melville more “activated” under her leadership, making its parks and shopping precincts more interesting for residents to visit.
“I want to see other organisations, culture and arts supported to activate our city and make it an interesting place to live and visit.
“We’ve got our major centres of Riseley Street and Westfield Booragoon, and I would imagine there’s a few other places where we can create some activity with Town Teams.
“I would like to see a little bit more focuses on tourism, and integrating all the activities we’ve got.
“We’ve got our grants system to activate our spaces as well.
“If we can integrate all those programs, we can make a much more interesting city for people to visit or to live in and just be able to go down the road and enjoy it.”
Another major project on the horizon is the City’s Cultural Heart Project, which will see a new library and cultural centre constructed alongside the Westfield Booragoon expansion, with greater connection between the two through a main street.
Ms Mair acknowledges there’s a dead spot between the council and Westfield areas, particularly at night when it’s gloomy and few people are around.
“With the activation of the Main Street, it means that we can actually bring people into our civic centre and perhaps run activities – perhaps musical events.
“We’ve got some wonderful musicians in our city, who might want to put on a trio or quartet and have a little bit of evening music, near the library and coffee perhaps being served.
“It could actually be wonderful for soirees.
“People have said to me they want to see little more activation over the weekends in our city, and that could be one way of doing that,” she said.
Another surprise result from the mayoral race was newcomer Michael McGoldrick, whose “Vote for Macca” signs across the city must have captured voters’ attention, as he was just 200 votes short of Mr Gear at the final round.
Three new faces have joined the council following the election, with Daniel Lim a strong winner in Applecross/Mt Pleasant. He defeated former councillor Steve Kepert, whose campaign wouldn’t have been helped by charges he’s facing over refusing to vote on council items during his previous term.
In Bateman/Kardinya/Murdoch ward Soo Hong took the seat by a whisker, with less than 30 votes separating her from Tony Stokes after the primary round.
She extended it slightly with preferences from Lindsay Nicholas, but the final margin was still just 70 votes.
Scott Green came within 39 votes of being elected by an absolute majority in the Central ward primary vote, despite being in a field of five.
The first round of preferences saw him over the mark with 1238 more votes than his closest rival.
Tomas Fitzgerald, Matt Woodall and Glynis Barber were all returned.
by STEVE GRANT