Like anyone else who picked up a paper and saw the news regarding the new ‘Capital of Melbourne’s West’ project last week, I was very impressed by what I saw.
I was also unimpressed by the story in this newspaper about the new Cherry Street carpark being something of a white elephant. When it was opened, officials were saying it would greatly ease traffic congestion in the CBD and open up many car spaces for shoppers. Clearly, that has not been the impact at all; it has had no impact.
That’s why I temper my enthusiasm for this project, as it always seems like what we are told is never quite what we finish up with. I’m tired of the spin-doctoring and self-congratulating that’s becoming the norm for too many of our council representatives.
The language and tone of their press releases shows a lack of understanding of who they are representing and why they’re, in fact, on council. A corporate feeling emerges in the way some councillors present themselves.
They’re the elected representative of the ratepayers and need to keep that in mind. The City of Wyndham is a multimillion-dollar business, which is why we have well-paid executives like Kelly Grigsby and her staff running the city. Councillors need to remember they are part of a team, and I see less and less of that team ethos.
The coming election is shaping as the murkiest of my time living in the area. The personal nature of correspondence between some candidates is playing out poorly in social media, and one can only imagine how volatile the council will be if these people get elected.
I fear the new council might be unworkable, depending on its make-up, unless some common ground is found before the ballots are counted. Winds of change in the structure of councils are starting to swirl.
Under new Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins, the message is clear: a dysfunctional, unaccountable council won’t be tolerated. I urge all those running for council to answer a few important questions. Like, why you are running? And what do you hope to achieve?
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