Letters of the week March 29, 2024

Ratepayers fall on deaf ears?
Dear Echo News,
One out of 10 for sincerity City of Swan over your recent annual electors meeting response!
The meeting was held on February 5 and 86 ratepayers from all over the city took the time to drive to where it was held in Ballajura.
Many had submitted motions and worked hard to be ready to explain them with the expectation the council would listen and respond.
Of the 31 motions moved, 29 motions were carried, and 2 motions were lost.
However, since then, according to the council agenda for March 13, the main city response to the motions passed by the community seemed mainly to be along the lines of “this is not needed” and “a council report is not considered necessary.”
Should we be grateful that councillor Aaron Bowman withdrew two of the motions for further consideration – one concerning boundary change with Bassendean, the other concerning planning delegations?
No, I believe we shouldn’t be. Since while this was passed, it meant councillor Jennifer Catalano’s alternative motion to consider and debate each electors’ motion separately at a future council meeting was not even heard.
Possibly it was an historic first for an annual electors meeting, since this year there were so many motions that the City of Swan could not get through them all and a further meeting had to be called for March 11 (mind you only thanks to a request from certain councillors). I believe the large number of motions is indicative of a community dissatisfied!
There is more to be said about that second meeting, with rules being changed on the fly at the event, but for now we wait to see if the city will take any serious notice of the second lot of passed motions.
I believe it really is a waste of everyone’s time and effort if the city has no interest in responding to ratepayers motions in a meaningful way – in fact I think it only further demonstrates their continued lack of interest in true community engagement and makes transparent their pretence.
F Irwin


Helena Street chaos
Dear Echo News,
I’ve seen three quendas killed by cars on Helena Street, Guildford, in the past few weeks, and a resident on Attfield Street saw two more killed in as many weeks.
Every year in spring we will see families of ducks being hit by cars, many not even slowing down as they use the ‘Helena Street rat run’ to bypass the intersection of Johnson Street and James Street – so much so I think it should be renamed the quenda run (for your life).
Last year the community was so distressed after seeing duck families hit by cars that the City of Swan placed two A-frame ‘wildlife crossing’ signs near Spring Reserve, but even these did not slow down many drivers.
Last week there was a worker surveying Helena and Attfield Streets, when someone came tearing down and took out her surveying equipment, which had been clearly marked by orange cones.
The driver didn’t stop but did come back later to see if the worker was okay.
If that’s not indicative of Helena Street needing traffic calming, then I don’t know what is.
Helena Street has been identified to be part of the City of Swan’s cycle route strategy, and is also being investigated by the city on implementing the safe active streets program on the road.
As one of the main routes for school children to get to and from school, this cannot come soon enough.
I believe the city has plans to commence work on this in 2026, but what are we to do in the meantime?
C Scanlan


Forrest saved?
Dear Echo News,
Great news for saving our forests!
At the recent Shire of Mundaring annual electors meeting on March 14, a majority of electors chose to raise their hands in voting yes to back a community-led initiative to save our threatened Northern Jarrah Forests Belt, which stretches across a number of shires, including the local shires of Mundaring, Swan and Kalamunda.
Motions read out by members of the community, that were carried through by a strong majority of about 40 electors present, included six forest-loving motions produced by local folk including Nannas for Native Forests Perth Hills branch – which I am a member of – local hyperspectral surveyors, local eco and environmental scientists, and the new Friends of the Northern Jarrah Forest Belt.
In brief, the six motions were for; support for the Friends of the Northern Jarrah Forest Belt in having that ecology UNESCO listed as a world heritage site and biosphere reserve, with feasibility study, a hyperspectral (environmental) survey policy, and community-wide education in forest science, and in community governance education.
And support for de-politicisation of the Environmental Protection Agency, so that only scientific facts are reported, without input and direction of politicians or other vested interests.
As an eco-scientist myself, with experience within the United Kingdom, I confidently claim that with enough community people support for this venture to save our Northern Jarrah Forests, including our scientists, we can expect to get registration for heritage within a year or two, and full biosphere accreditation within three-five years.
S Braun

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