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Harvey councillors retain status quo request to outline major project priorities to chief executive officer

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The Shire of Harvey will stick to its current forward capital works plan after an attempt to prioritise major projects was defeated twice in the final meeting before council elections.
Camera IconThe Shire of Harvey will stick to its current forward capital works plan after an attempt to prioritise major projects was defeated twice in the final meeting before council elections. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/South Wester/RegionalHUB

Attempts by multiple Harvey councillors to pritoritise the Shire’s $91.4 million in major projects has gone nowhere after the idea was shot down twice in one meeting on the eve of this year’s elections.

An elected member’s motion by Cr John Bromham to create a priority list of the council’s highest-value proposals for chief executive Annie Riordan to seek funding for caused plenty of discussion as elected members clashed over what to do.

Cr Bromham initially proposed having part one of the Australind Community Precinct as the main priority, followed by the Harvey Library redevelopment and Leschenault Leisure Centre court expansion.

He described the council as similar to a board of a company which needed to provide guidance on how to use limited resources effectively.

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“What I’d like to see is projects get across the line, and you’re not going to do that without setting some direction,” he said.

“That’s the job of the council. If you’re not up for that, that’s fine but the fact is, we should set direction for the CEO for moving forward on priorities.”

Following concerns about the Australind Community Precinct not being ready for development, Cr Bromham’s motion was defeated 2-9.

But discussions on the issue continued when Shire president Paul Gillett moved to have the LLC court expansion moved to first priority, followed by the Harvey Library and the precinct development, describing the situation as “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”.

Ms Riordan was dragged into the debate multiple times during the 33-minute long discussion, answering councillor questions about her opinion on the issues raised.

She confirmed any changes to the prioritisation of projects would affect the Shire’s forward capital works plan, which currently stands at nearly $164 million over the next five financial years.

Cr Craig Carbone said the move would force the Shire to “lock up” funds and loans for the highest priority item at the expense of other projects.

“I think we should set the sights a little bit lower and finish some of the smaller cost projects before we start looking at these big ones,” he said.

Cr Tania Jackson admitted the council “. . . have a lot of projects in front of us, and that should have been thought about before we put so many projects in front of us”, before stating she could not vote for a proposal which excluded the Yarloop Workshops.

Deputy Shire president Michelle Campbell argued the council was already committed to the workshops, alongside ongoing costs for operating the Stanley Road waste management facility.

She said the three major projects were dependent on the Shire receiving funding “somehow, somewhere”.

“If we don’t provide some sort of guidance to the CEO on where her priority goes in regards to sourcing funding for these projects, then they just won’t go ahead,” Cr Campbell said.

“We won’t achieve anything.”

The final vote was lost 7-4, with councillors Gillett, Campbell, Bromham and Krispyn in the minority.

As a result of the defeat, the Shire will retain project priorities as they currently stand in the forward capital works plan approved by council earlier this year.

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