Pool backflip with twist
AT LAST it has come to this.
Exactly a year ago, The Herald said Toodyay needed a ratepayer association to help protect local community interests.
It followed two years of reporting on council decisions that revealed how out of touch many of our councillors seemed to be with local community needs and values.
Take for instance Toodyay’s protracted public swimming pool saga.
It caused two leading Julimar volunteer fire fighters to sell their dream retirement home and leave the shire last month because Toodyay still doesn’t have a pool after decades of broken promises.
Instead of building a $3.7 million pool in 2014, our council announced a massive $27.6 million multi-sports complex and other facilities – none of which got built.
Shame on you councillors.
Now – on the eve of fresh shire elections – our council suddenly reveals plans for a new $5 million pool with just $860,000 in the shire kitty and a near-deficit budget.
Who can forget last year’s sneaky attempt to axe two magnificent ANZAC Memorial Park trees without telling anyone, and the failed bid to dud the town vet for a fast buck – again without first telling anyone?
And all the while, our shire was bleeding hundreds of thousands of dollars on a secret court case that ended up costing ratepayers at least $570,000 instead of getting a pool.
Then there’s last year’s ‘unlawful’ rates that had to be quashed, leaving hundreds of ratepayers in the dark for months.
Many of those same ratepayers now face massive rates increases that were advertised mid-week in the back of a Perth newspaper near the sex ads with – surprise, surprise – no ratepayer response, and an obscure notice in the back of a shire newsletter.
It’s no surprise that a new Toodyay Progress Association formed last February to monitor shire performance has taken only six months to call for a State Government inquiry.
Nor is it surprising that the shire “totally rejects” the call and chooses instead to attack the association’s credentials and timing.
When current councillors up for election last faced the polls four years ago, only one seat was contested and everyone else got in without a single vote being cast.
Don’t be surprised if it’s different this time around.