Recent debate on the Swanbourne Village Trust (SVT) development in Congdon St, Cottesloe has heated up with a small, very vocal minority spreading leaflets in letterboxes in the area. These leaflets were laced with incorrect information and assumptions and making statements disguised as facts that are little more than the opinions of a few people that seem to be opposed to change in Cottesloe.
The Misnamed Group : Cottesloe Residents & Ratepayers Association
The name adopted by this group is mis-leading. They are NOT representing the majority of the residents and ratepayers of Cottesloe. Even their own website admits this.
At the 2016 AGM of the Association slurs on the Town of Cottesloe Council were voiced by committee members accusing the Council of not following ‘due process’ and not being transparent with ‘ad hoc re-zoning’ decisions.
This small group, which in itself acts in secrecy and is by no means transparent, claims to represent the 8,000 ratepayers of Cottesloe. They will not declare how many members they have or whether their members are all related by business, payment of rates or rental to Cottesloe. Their members could come from anywhere. There is no requirement to state they belong to Cottesloe when applying for membership. There is no process to delete members when they leave Cottesloe.
The Committee of the Association passed a vote of no confidence in the Town of Cottesloe Council and implied incorrectly that they spoke on behalf of Cottesloe ratepayers in that they were against the Swanbourne Village Trust Rezoning Application which had been passed for advertising by a majority vote through the Council in April 2016.
Architect, Garry Baverstock pointed out that the SVT project went through a very rigorous and meticulous planning process over a period of two years with an appointed planner for the project. Almost on a weekly basis, Manager, Development Services, Andrew Jackson was briefed to ensure SVT met the Council’s planning scheme and State Government requirements.
Businesswoman and Cottesloe ratepayer, Julia Hayes, a new member of this Ratepayers Association, took the Committee of the Association to task at the AGM of the Association, asked a series of questions including:
- the number of members on the membership register
- how resolutions of the Association were approved by members
- by what means members were involved in any decision making process before edicts were issued
- how the greater environment of residents and ratepayers of Cottesloe are consulted
Julia was also aware that she and other members of the Association she knew personally had never been invited to meetings and minutes of the meetings were not made available upon request. The Chairman agreed that resolutions were NOT based on any consultation with members, were NOT based on any consultation with the community at large, but that all decisions were made by their committee of ten people.
Later Julia, a retired Chartered Secretary, pointed out the minutes of the AGM were incorrectly reported, leaving out what she thought was relevant information regarding the incorrect claims of the vocal minority.
She was further surprised that the large amount of support the SVT had received from public information sessions was not reflected in any edicts issued by this Association.
Julia noted afterwards that the majority of active discussion at the AGM related to the cleanliness of the toilets at Indianas and whether people should be forced to have lawn verges rather that native plants.
This incorrect claim by a small self-interest group inferring that they represent community views, appears to be happening in other Perth suburbs. In Bayswater, a group of its concerned ratepayers have set up their own progressive association ‘Future Bayswater‘ to add a balanced voice to the small minority that seemed to be opposed to just about any change.
Photo Credits: Nick Melidonis, www.nickmelidonis.com