It was another successful and very interesting council meeting last night. There were plenty of questions from local residents, there was debate on a number of key issues and there was decisions made that affect everyone in Rockingham.
If you’re so inclined you can read the full 117 page agenda here.
If you’d prefer the highlights, read on…
- Ms McPherson raised the issue of a lack of bins available on and around the jetties in Rockingham. She says that because of a lack of available bins on the jetty, people are discarding their fishing gear.
- Mr McKeown raised the issue of street drainage being inadequate during the recent storm.
- Mr Mumme raised his concerns about how future developments like the recently cancelled Mangles Bay Marina might be handled.
- Ms Hughes and Mr Burgin both asked about the possibility of traffic calming along Arcadia Drive after the recent accident in which a pedestrian was killed.
- Ms Park and Mr Ellis both voiced their concerns about our Sister City relationship and the proposal to send a delegation of Councillors, City Staff and Community Members to Ako before the end of the year.
- Mr Green asked questions about the potential to rezone land in Cape Peron in support of a proposed Coastal Park.
All of the questions above will be answered in full once the city officers have had a chance to prepare a report. Everyone will receive an answer to their question and they will be made public as part of the agenda for next months Council Meeting.
Proposed Reconsideration of Telecommunications Infrastructure (Mobile Telephone) Secret Harbour District Centre – State Administrative Tribunal
This proposal was in front of council for the third time. There was a great deal of debate around this issue, as there had been on the two previous occasions. My concern, and the reason I had previously voted against the proposal was because I wasn’t satisfied that Telstra had sufficiently investigated alternate locations. Since then Telstra has attended mediation with 2 council representatives and more information has been provided. It is now clear that other locations were investigated and as you’d expect, nearly all resulted in a public backlash. It’s human nature that everyone wants to use their mobile phone, but no one wants to live next to the tower. The sad fact is that no matter where the tower is put, someone will complain, but it has to be put somewhere. I voted in favour.
The tower was granted approval 7-3.
Proposed Amendments to Planning Policy 3.3.2 – Bed and Breakfast Accommodation
This is a perfect example of something that tends to get overlooked and not often discussed. The proposed changes were fairly technical in nature so it’s not exactly exciting stuff. Nevertheless it’s an incredibly important update because it gives more clarity and reduces the amount of confusion around what is and is not allowed within the City of Rockingham for those who want to operate a Bed and Breakfast. I’ve spoken about my desire to see more work done to support and grow the tourism industry in Rockingham. These changes, whilst only small, form part of a bigger picture that is working towards making things easier for all involved. Hopefully now, our current B&B operators, and those considering opening a B&B in the future can spend less time navigating the red tape, and more time promoting and running their business.
The amendments were granted approval 10-0
Budget Review – February 2018
The budget that the City works within is reviewed three times during the financial year. The City staff are incredibly skilled at ensuring their predictions are accurate and there is rarely any large discrepancies between the budgeted and actual figures. Of note in this review is that the city has lost around 5.75 Million in revenue from the Miller Road Landfill Facility. This is due to the loss of a contract with a regional council.
The landfill facility generates a great deal of income for the city and goes a long way towards helping fund the new infrastructure that everyone wants whilst keeping rate increases to a minimum. The facility will likely continue to operate for another 30 years or more, but with the state governments waste levy increasing, and a trend towards producing less waste (which is a very good thing), the City will need to become less reliant on the income from Millar Road.
On a positive note, solar heating at the Aqua Jetty has saved $227,000 and $286,000 is expected to be raised through hire fees now that the Mike Barnett Sporting Complex is City run.
The budget review was granted approval 10-0
Completed Review of the Council Policy – Leasing
Much like the amendments to the planning policy covering Bed and Breakfasts, this was a fairly technical review. The new policy will establish a uniform and equitable approach to community leases, ensure that a commercial lease returns a market rent and clarify what is the responsibility of the lessee and lessor.
The review was granted approval 10-0
Recommendation from the Global Friendship Committee
Given how often large budget items pass through council without any discussion, it surprised me that there was a great deal of debate, and public interest in something that represents approximately 0.0002% of our annual budget. That said, I wholeheartedly agree that the Council has a responsibility to ensure the City spends every dollar wisely, and I genuinely believe that the $35,000 budgeted for this trip is money well spent.
Some of the detractors pointed out that there is little to no financial benefit to the City through maintaining this Sister City relationship. My answer to them is that we don’t expect our public libraries or our parks to return a profit, but we all agree that are important in maintaining the type of community we all want to enjoy. The Sister City relationship falls into that category. Yes, there is the potential to increase tourism, to establish potentially profitable business partnerships between businesses here in Rockingham and in Ako, Japan, but that’s not the main purpose.
The main purpose of the Sister City relationship, in my eyes, is to encourage community groups, youth groups, sporting groups and the like to get out of their comfort zone and interact with people they wouldn’t normally have the chance to interact with. The Councils of both cities have the responsibility to maintain the relationship and act as a conduit to enable more community groups to make the trip.
Maybe in the past that hasn’t been achieved, but that’s my goal.
That is why I voted in favour of the trip, that is why I was nominated by Cr Elliot to be part of the delegation, and that is why I pushed for the inclusion of this line in the motion when the issue was being discussed by the Global Friendship Committee.
“That Council approves the invitation of expressions of interests from community members to participate in a community delegation to the City of Ako, Japan in conjunction with the
Nearly 20 years ago, I was part of the Rockingham Scout Group when we, along with the Warnbro Scout Group, hosted a group of Scouts from Ako, Japan. I was 17 at the time, we went camping, we bonded over our shared involvement in Scouting, we learnt about each other’s cultures. All in all, it was a fantastic week and the type of experience that most 17 year olds never get the chance to enjoy. There was an attempt at fundraising for a return trip, but sadly it never happened. An international trip with 20+ youth members, takes time to arrange and a great deal of funding. We didn’t have the resources, which is why I’m pleased to share the news that community members who are part of an incorporated organisation will be able to apply for a community grant up to $3000 to help with costs to visit Ako, Japan. I’ll be working closely with a number of community groups to assist with fundraising and grant applications to see that as many people as possible have the opportunity to establish a relationship with the counterparts in Ako.
The proposal was approved 6/4
Recommendations from the Christmas Festival
This has been Cr Joy Stewart’s passion for quite some time. Each year the City holds a Christmas Lights event on the Rockingham Foreshore. Cr Stewart has wanted to see this expanded to include our very own Christmas Pageant. I’m pleased to announce that December 2018 is going to be very festive around the Rockingham Foreshore and the Village Green.
The proposal was approved 10/0
Recommendation from the Neighbours Unite Advisory Committee
The Neighbours Unite Advisory Committee has been running for a number of years. The Neighbours Unite Volunteers work tirelessly to help make our neighbourhoods a safer place. The program runs well, is fully funded by the city, and is growing exponentially. As a result there was little need for the advisory committee, so it’s been shut down. Just to clarify, Neighbours Unite will continue, it’s just the council advisory committee that’s no longer required. If you’d like to get involved with Neighbours Unite, you’ll find information on the City of Rockingham Website. I’d like to mention my personal thanks to Toni Williamson, Bob Cooper and Tony Gale for all the work they have done, and continue to do.
The recommendation was approved 10/0
Next Council Meeting
Council meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 6:00pm. In April this falls on April 24th. I think it’s great to see people attending and showing an interest. Yes, much of what the council does can be a little dry, but at the end of the day it’s your city and your council. It’s your responsibility to make sure your voice is heard.
It was great to meet representatives from the teams that keep Rockingham safe again earlier this week.
Representatives were in attendance from the Department Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), Rockingham Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (RVFRS), Secret Harbour Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (SHVFRS), Baldivis Volunteer Fire and Emergency Service (BVFES), Singleton Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade (SVBFB) and of course the City of Rockingham.
These groups do an amazing job for the community, and sadly much of their work goes unrecognised. Not only do they give up their own time to fight fires, putting themselves in danger, often in conditions most would find unbearable, but they assist land owners to reduce the risk of bush fires around their property, they engage with the local schools and community groups and are a generally all round great bunch of people.
Bush Fire News
There are a number of different organisations and government departments that are involved in managing and responding to fires. Some groups do everything from fighting fires to responding to car accidents, others specialise in fighting bush fires. As a result, communication between these groups is vital. I’m proud to report that according to the guys in attendance that the new policies in place from the senior ranks are making communication and teamwork even easier.
We’ve been very lucky with a lower than average number of incidents over the normally busy summer months, but that’s not a reason to become complacent as there’s still plenty of hot days ahead and still plenty of risk of fires starting.
Overall property owners who are required to have firebreaks in place have done a great job, with the majority having the work done correctly and on time. 170 work orders and 50 infringement notices were issued though, so there is still some improvement needed by landowners across the City.
All the volunteer groups around the city reported ongoing training and healthy numbers of volunteers. A few of the groups will be looking to recruit new members in the near future, so if this is something that would interest you, keep an eye out for their promotions or get in contact directly.
Rockingham Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (RVFRS)
The Rockingham Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service has been in operation for 49 years. The Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services works hand in hand with the Career Fire & Rescue Service based at the same station.
The Rockingham VFRS is made numerous volunteers who dedicate time to the service of the community within the state of WA. The volunteers are on call and attend emergencies as and when required 24/7.
There are over 2,000 Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) members from 88 brigades in Western Australia who provide firefighting and prevention services throughout the state.
VFRS firefighters undertake a range of responsibilities including:
Containing hazardous material spills
Road crash rescue
Fire safety education
Through comprehensive training, VFRS firefighters learn to operate the wide range of equipment, vehicles and appliances used for fire suppression including charged hose lines, portable pumps, tankers and communications.
DFES provides VFRS training in:
Personal and team safety
Structural and bushfire fighting
Vehicle driving both on and off road
Leadership and emergency management procedures
For incidents involving road crash rescues and hazardous materials emergencies, specialised equipment such as the ‘jaws of life’ hydraulic rams, cutters and spreaders, decontamination equipment and protective clothing are used.
Not all firefighters’ work involves firefighting or rescue. Volunteers actively promote fire education programs through schools, service groups, seniors’ homes and local businesses. Training for this type of work is also provided by DFES Fire Services managers.
Secret Harbour Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (SHVFRS)
Secret Harbour Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service is Western Australia’s 2nd busiest VFRS brigade for primary turnouts in the Perth metro area. Our team of 24 volunteers responds to over 100 emergency calls each year, as well as attending community events, hazard reduction burns and school visits.
Baldivis Volunteer Fire and Emergency Service (BVFES)
Eighty Road, Baldivis. Baldivis station is open to the general public every Monday evening from 7:30pm until 10:00pm.
Our Mission is to provide the Baldivis community, and wider City of Rockingham community with a professional fire and emergency service while maintaining and disseminating relevant and timely information.
Singleton Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade (SVBFB)
The Singleton Volunteer Bush Fire brigade headquarters is located in Munja Street, Golden Bay next to the community centre, and has been an active brigade in the City of Rockingham for approximately 30 years. The brigade currently has about 50 members.
The brigade’s fire district is bounded by Stakehill Road to the north, Mandurah Road to the west, River Road to the east and the shire boundary in the south. The area contains the Anstey Swamp and Paganoni Swamp reserves as well as the remains of the Peel “A” pine plantation (including the munitions reserve)
The brigade has 6 operational vehicles; 4 x light tankers (Toyota Landcruisers) which carry approximately 600 litres of water, 1 x 2.4 medium tanker which carries 2000 litres of water, and 1 x water tanker which carries 8000 litres of water. These units are positioned at three (Singleton, Golden Bay, Karnup) locations within the City of Rockingham’s fire district.
The brigade holds a Training session monthly on the third Wednesday of the month commencing at 1830 (6:30pm), followed by a general meeting at 1930 (7:30pm) in August until April, and a monthly social BBQ on the last Friday of each month commencing around 1800 hours (6:00pm).
Rockingham City Reception Room, The Mayor, Rockingham City Pipe Band and Sausage Rolls – Can only mean one thing. It’s another Citizenship Ceremony.
The City of Rockingham Citizenship Ceremony was held on March 6th. It was another full house to witness another 55 people from all over the world becoming Rockingham’s newest Australians. As always the Pipers representing the Rockingham City Pipe Band were well received with many people joining in signing during their rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
The Mayors customary shout of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, got the expected response from the audience, Oi, Oi, Oi, and a few laughs too.
The City holds regular Citizenship Ceremonies throughout the year, for more information on how to become an Australian Citizen, visit the Australia.Gov.Au website.
I really should get into the habit of taking a few selfies when I go places. It would save me the trouble of putting together silly graphics like that one.
It’s been a busy, but fairly typical few days.
Tuesday 27th February
- Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast
- Rockingham PCYC Committee
- Customer Service Review Committee
- February Council Meeting
Wednesday 28th February
- Mature Adult Learning Association Enrolment Day
- Rockingham Volunteers Centre
- Cultural Advisory Committee
Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast
Early start on Tuesday morning attending a breakfast at the Gary Holland Centre and watching a presentation by Nathan Viles, Senior Economist of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA.
The good news is that the CCI believes things are looking up for the Western Australian economy. They believe the worst is behind us and we will soon see positive change. Some of the highlights of the presentation include;
- 28% of WA businesses are expecting to increase their workforce in the next quarter.
- Short-Term business confidence is the highest it’s been in four years.
- 2 out of 5 businesses are looking to increase production.
- 74% of consumers believe they have improved or similar job prospects as this time last year.
- 67% of consumers say they are in a better financial situation than this time last year.
- Wages are forecast to increase 1.7% this year and 2.4% next year.
So overall it looks like things are looking up.
Image taken from the presentation
Whilst the presentation was great and really informative, my favourite bit of events like these is getting to meet lots of people. Some of the people I shared a table with include the guys from a really successful local business that counts Shell, BHP, Alcoa and the Australian Defence Dept as clients; RMD Tankers.
Not content with just being a successful business, RMD Tankers are also giving back to the community by funding a scholarship that offers young Rockingham residents the opportunity to take part in one of the Leeuwin Foundation voyages. I spent some time talking to the Leeuwin Foundation CEO, Carol Shannon who’s been involved with the organisation for 30 years.
If you’re not familiar with the work the Leeuwin Foundation does with young adults, you can find out more information here.
Rockingham PCYC Committee
The team at the PCYC is going from strength to strength. I was really impressed by how quickly things are changing at the centre. Attendance numbers are up, new programs are starting all the time, and they’ll soon be hosting a massive skate park event that is sure to draw crowds from all over Perth. Something that’s now on offer and is a little different to anything I’ve seen locally in a long time is the Junior Darts Academy. Places are filling up fast, it’s on at 10am every Sunday and is open to ages 10-17.
Customer Service Review Committee
The Customer Service Review Committee oversees – as the name suggests – how the city deals with residents and ensures any complaints or issues are dealt with properly. Like any big organisation sometimes mistakes are made and people are left upset or disappointed. I’m pleased to report that overall customer satisfaction is up, issues are rare, and when they do occur, steps are taken by the CEO to ensure we learn from our mistakes and make changes so it doesn’t happen again.
It’s common sense that you can’t please everyone, all the time, but I think the staff at the City come pretty close.
February Council Meeting
The council meetings are always interesting, and this time was no exception.
Questions were asked by members of the public on topics such as weed control, the proposed Mangles Bay Marina – I’m against it, but at this stage I’d just like the state government to hurry up and make a decision so we can all get on with our lives – finding a new venue for local sporting clubs and the proposed Montessori School in Karnup.
The Tourism Strategy Development Advisory Group
The Tourism Strategy Development Advisory Group (TSDAG) has been established and will soon meet for the first time. I’ll be the Council representative – which I’m very excited about. The TSDAG has been setup to provide local industry perspectives and expert advice during the development of the Rockingham Tourism Strategy. Other participants in the committee include local business owners and operators in the accommodation, tourist attraction, and restaurant industries, representatives from Tourism WA, Tourism Rockingham, the Rockingham Visitors Centre, the Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce, Experience Perth and the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions. This is the group that will make recommendations as to the future tourism marketing by the City of Rockingham.
Paramount Private Estate
A new subdivision in Baldivis has been given approval for their proposed street naming theme ‘Paramount Studios’. For those who’re unhappy with the idea, please keep in mind that the development sits on what used to be ‘Paramount Stud’ which was involved in livestock breeding. The examples of the proposed street names are all American, and I’ll be honest, a little boring, but they are just that, examples. So who knows, we may see a few Australian actors from Paramount Studios being named, as long as they’re dead. Turns out that the Geographic Names Committee, which is part of Landgate doesn’t allow streets to be named after living people. So we can have Andrew Street or Burns Road, but we won’t be seeing Andrew Burns Boulevard until after I’m gone.
Rockingham Montessori School
The approval application from Rockingham Montessori was knocked back. I can see the potential in this. When it does finally go ahead I believe Rockingham Montessori will be the premier Montessori school in the state. Having it in the City of Rockingham is something I’m very supportive of. Unfortunately, at this stage the guys in our planning department can still see too many holes in the proposal covering things like traffic management on a main road, bush fire readiness and a few other things too. I really hope we see the application before council again soon, as I know the school has a lot of support. None more so than Cr Mark Jones, who announced that he’s so supportive of the school, he’s enrolled his kids.
Community Grants Program
A number of community grants were awarded, some of which were.
- Baldivis Childrens Forest received funding to assist with their running costs.
- Rockingham Districts Historical Society received funding to maintain the Rockingham Museum.
- Rockingham PCYC received funding to support their Basketball program.
- South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare received funding to control a serious weed problem near the Paganoni Regional Park.
- The Rockingham Model Railway Group received funding to support a feasibility study into the development of a Hobby Hub.
- Rockingham Sporting Football and Social Club received funding to upgrade the canteen facilities at the club houses.
A fairly heated debate took place over two subjects. One was the procedures that are in place that guide the decision making of the Community Grants Program. I think Cr Lee Downham made some great points and I suspect we’ll be hearing more on the subject in the future.
The other hot topic was Cr Matt Whitfield’s proposal for a review of the Planning Dept. He’s quick to point out that we have a very well respected team within the industry, but that he’s pushing for a review to see if things could be even better and that this is on the back of information received from ratepayers. Given Baldivis is a growth suburb with new developments happening constantly, I don’t think it’s surprising that Cr Whitfield has more to do with the planning department than most councillors.
Overall it was another successful example of democracy at work and I’d invite everyone to attend the next one that will be held on Tuesday 27 March 2018 at 6:00pm in the Council Chambers, Civic Boulevard, Rockingham.
Mature Adult Learning Association Enrolment Day at Rockingham Central Library
I spent a bit of time with Cr Joy Stewart, Esther Grogan and the rest of the team at MALA Rockingham during their enrolment day held at the Rockingham Library. Courses on offer cover everything from The Science of Light to The Philosophy of Existence and Death. From Crochet for Beginners to DNA and Family History. Talk about a broad, eclectic, range of topics.
Mature Adults Learning Association (MALA) is a local Western Australian organisation intended to provide opportunities for people to expand and enrich their knowledge in a friendly, social environment. It is for those who recognise that learning is a lifelong process, desire to keep their minds active and would like to find some practical ways to do so. MALA provides learning experiences in a relaxed environment. Lectures are based on exceptionally wide range of topics delivered by experts in their various fields. It is a non-profit, voluntary and independent organisation providing educational and social opportunities for the over fifties in the Perth, Mandurah and Rockingham areas of Western Australia. Our Rockingham Branch was formally launched on August 22nd 2014, at a well attended meeting at the Murdoch University Library in Dixon Road, where all courses are held. – Taken from the MALA Facebook page
Rockingham Volunteers Centre
It would have been rude of me to spend a few hours at the Rockingham Library and not drop in to see Meg and her team at the Rockingham Volunteers Centre. I didn’t stay for long as they were all incredibly busy, but they are still very keen for more local organisations to register with them. They have budding and enthusiastic volunteers ready to go, we just need to find suitable places.
Cultural Advisory Committee
The Cultural Advisory Committee provides advice and guidance on cultural development and the arts, whilst representing the community’s needs and aspirations in line with the City’s Cultural Development and Arts Strategy. I’m not normally an attendee, but stepped in on behalf of another Councillor who was unable to attend. I must say the committee are very passionate about the arts and our city. There’s a very clear desire from many in the arts community to see more events like the recent Romance On The Green, and to see more facilities made available like the Rockingham Arts Centre.
Something that was discussed and would have to be considered a long term objective was the possibility of constructing a Performing Arts Centre. At this stage it’s not something that’s under consideration by the City in the short-medium term, but I’d have to agree it would be nice to have a facility along the same style as the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and it would suit our vision for the new Rockingham Tourism Strategy. So who knows what the future may hold on that front.