City of Bayswater councillors can’t understand why the residents in Inglewood and the parts of Mt Lawley and Dianella that are proposed to be moved out of the City of Stirling and into the new greater Morley council don’t want to move and are embarking on a $75,000 campaign to convince them otherwise, according to a recent article in the August 20 issue of The Voice newspaper.

The Deputy Mayor was quoted by the paper as saying that he was sick of hearing that nobody wants to amalgamate with Bayswater and claimed that it had the best rubbish collection facilities of all the WA councils.

I think the City of Bayswater Councillors are missing the point.

I’m going to put myself out there and make some generalisations about what I think affected Inglewood, Mount Lawley and Dianella residents feel about the proposed boundary changes that I believe the City of Bayswater Councillors are failing to grasp.

  • Residents care more about maintaining and enhancing the vibrancy of Beaufort Street and their near city communities than rubbish bins.
  • Residents don’t identify with Morley or a council that intends to have Morley “as its strategic heart”.  The furthest North Inglewood and Mt Lawley residents prefer to travel is Inglewood Coles.
  • The Bayswater Council, in its press release on the changes and website, says the boundary changes will  “include an additional area west of the City of Bayswater to Alexander Drive and the whole of Noranda.”  Residents of Inglewood, Mt Lawley and Dianella aren’t sure what to make of Bayswater’s ongoing failure to acknowledge them.
  • Dianella residents have been waiting for years for Centro Dianella and the surrounding land around it to be developed into an attractive shopping, entertainment and business precinct.  They are concerned, quite rightly, that the boundary changes will set back Stirlings’ proposed re-development of the area even further, or worse still, knock it on the head all-together due to a focus on Morley.
  • The light rail project, which residents overwhelmingly support as an infrastructure project, is likely to be even further delayed due to a new council becoming involved.
  • The Beaufort Street Festival, which is supported by many Mt Lawley and Inglewood residents, relies heavily on Council support and received $30,000 from the City of Stirling this year. Last year, City of Bayswater Councillors voted not to fund the Maylands Festival, leaving festival organisers in the lurch and chasing private sponsorship to hold the event. Bayswater is committed to the Autumn River Festival and is yet to indicate if it would continue to support the annual Beaufort Street event – the largest and arguably most popular street festival in Perth.
  • The City of Stirling’s Summer Arts Festival incorporates many Inglewood and Mt Lawley parks and venues into its program, bringing free or low cost art, music and entertainment to those suburbs and its residents over the Summer months.  The City of Bayswater doesn’t, to my knowledge, have an equivalent cultural offering.
  • The City of Stirling has a significantly more advanced program in, and track record of, heritage protection. Whilst the City of Bayswater has a heritage program, the Mount Lawley Society, the local heritage group, points out that it has a less successful track record in applying it.
  • Residents are on the whole happy with the job that the City of Stirling has done – couple that with concerns over what could lose and there is no incentive for them to support a change.

Instead of sending out flyers to affected residents telling people how good it is, here’s what I think the City of Bayswater should do:

  • Acknowledge the affected suburbs and residents in its press releases and website.
  • Listen to residents and local interest groups and get across the local concerns and issues.
  • Reassure residents that the Beaufort St Festival will continue to be supported and funded and that the City of Bayswater will look to take up the City of Stirling’s commitment to local arts and entertainment events in Inglewood and Mt Lawley.
  • Commit to the redevelopment of Dianella Centro as per the City of Stirling’s plans.
  • Commit to maintaining the vibrancy and enhancement of Beaufort Street and acknowledge that as near city suburbs, Inglewood and Mount Lawley have different  but just as important needs to suburbs like Noranda and Morley.
  • Reassure residents that there will be no delays to the proposed light rail project due to  boundary changes.
  • Meet with key local stakeholders, like the Mount Lawley Society, to discuss heritage concerns and commit to continuing the City of Stirling’s great work on these.

Or, it could just acknowledge that the majority of residents don’t want to lose current services or have the status quo change and could support the move for them to stay in Stirling.

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What do you think? Have I misjudged residents views? Are people being too hard on Bayswater? Is there even a need for change? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.