A look back at the year that was in Mandurah’s council chambers

It has been a huge year in the City of Mandurah’s council chambers, with the approval of some big projects that have and plan to reshape the coastal city. 

At the end of 2017, the City of Mandurah dealt with a major shake-up with a new-look council being voted in during the November local government elections. 

Rhys Williams claimed victory over his predecessor Marina Vergone by 3502 votes. 

While young, Mr Williams wasn’t a new face to the chambers after first being elected to city council at the age of 21. 

From the first day in office, Mr Williams has spruiked his vision of stimulating the business sector of Mandurah and boosting the local economy. 

This focus led the council to adopt a city centre business unit, aimed at fostering a strong and stable plan for the future. 

The initiative has created a “think-tank” of local business representatives, artists, event organisers, community groups and organisations who are keen to capitalise on the city’s growth and better the CBD. 

Part of engaging a team of passionate people about the area was to gain an understanding of what central businesses need to thrive. 

A key issue raised through that consultation was the topic of crime and safety

High profile incidents in the Smart Street Mall, which included the brick attack on a young couple in April and the sickening punch that knocked a woman to the ground in July, saw the City of Mandurah implement a range of initiatives to combat the issue and shelter business from its impact. 

These included upping the ante of security patrols and making the times they monitor the CBD sporadic, continuing the rollout of CCTV cameras and reshaping the layout of the Smart Street Mall

Greater infrastructure plans are also in the pipeline, with the release of the City of Mandurah's waterfront development concept designs. 

Revealed in October, the plans for the Smart Street Mall, eastern and western foreshore are tipped to be complete in 2021. 

A new and extended skate park, a giant floating pool and a multi-functional entertainment space were just some of the concepts that have been created in a bid reshape the city’s central area.

However, it is not just business in the city centre that has received the local government’s attention. 

The City of Mandurah is reaching outside of its border to work in partnership with the Shire of Murray to boost the upcoming Peel Business Park

A long-term project with huge potential to attract investment in the region, the park has prompted local governments to establish a joint-economic growth plan, which would see the creation of a regional subsidiary and strategic advisory group. 

Another commitment to ensuring businesses thrive in the Peel region is the adoption of a new procurement policy

The deal ensures local businesses vying for City of Mandurah work could be given an edge over their non-local competitors.

However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing at the City of Mandurah. 

In August, Mr Williams found himself in a war-of-words with the federal member of Canning Andrew Hastie after the parliamentarian’s office distributed a flyer that claimed the local government had been “missing in action” on the Lakelands Train Station debate. 

The flyer promoted Mr Hastie’s efforts on the major infrastructure project in the city’s northern suburb and prompted councillors to debate their stance on the issue at an official meeting.

The bickering between the local government and parliamentarian has not ended there this year though. 

In November, the two were at odds over a full-page advert in the Mandurah Mailwhich was commissioned by the local government to highlight their Mandurah Matters vision.

Mr Hastie accused the City of Mandurah of “cheerleading for Labor” or “incompetence” over wording in the newspaper advertisement, which the local government has since apologised for.

The Mandurah Matters campaign, which will cost ratepayers more than $170,000, has been a big talking point in the community after it was launched October.

According to the local government, the campaign has been aimed at creating a “shared vision for Mandurah” through hosting consultation programs, information sessions, community workshops, a summit event and various “activations”. 

The re-branding campaign comes off the back of some major changes to the city with the official opening of the redeveloped Mandurah Forum and the new Mandurah Traffic Bridge.

The projects have been years in the making and engaged various representatives from local, state and federal government. 

Big wins for the City of Mandurah this year have included recognition in state ranger, resilient and tourism awards. 

The local government’s push to be a major player in WA’s push to be more sustainable and innovative has also paid off throughout the year. 

Mandurah was the first WA local government to implement moving floor technology at its waste management centre and take advantage of “Internet of Things” – a device to monitor water flow in real time.

Thanks to being the state’s top solar panel postcode, Mandurah was also selected to host an Australian-first integrate bulk battery storage trial.  

During the year, Mandurah was named as one of the top local governments for recycling in the state. 

After receiving the title the City of Mandurah decided to join with long-standing partner Cleanaway to launched a campaign to become the best.

Mandurah also hosted some impressive events, including the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games, CrabFest, Future Proof 18, Wearable Art and Stretch Arts Festival.

For more about the year that was in local government visit the Mandurah Mail website or view past meeting minutes on the City of Mandurah’s website. 

Would you like to share a highlight from local government this year? Contact our team via editor.mandurahmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au.