The West

Seven separate municipalities to go west
Seven separate municipalities to go west

They oversee 97,000 ratepayers, have seven different council buildings, 68 councillors and cover 64.8 square kilometres.

Regardless of what form the inevitable council reforms take, the days of having seven western suburbs councils are numbered.

The Metropolitan Local Government Review's preferred scenario would merge Claremont, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Nedlands, Peppermint Grove, Subiaco and Cambridge (minus West Leederville) with part of Fremantle.

Claremont would become the hub for the larger council, which despite having the most municipalities would still be the smallest of the proposed mega-councils.

The review found a single local government would provide a more consistent approach to planning, particularly along the key transport corridor of Stirling Highway, which runs through multiple municipalities.

But the mayors of the councils remain split on the future of the area.

Cottesloe mayor Kevin Morgan is strongly opposed to a merger and instead wants the existing councils to operate through a corporate joint venture vehicle to be overseen by a Greater Perth Authority.

Nedlands mayor Max Hipkins said he was open to reform but was opposed to 12 councils, while Claremont mayor Jock Barker said he would prefer his council be merged with only Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove.

Cambridge mayor Simon Withers said he did not want Cambridge to be part of a western suburbs grouping because it was based around Cambridge Street.

"We are focused on redeveloping and reinvigorating the length and breadth of Cambridge Street," he said. "That focus would be lost if we were part of a single western suburbs council."

Subiaco mayor Heather Henderson said her initial reaction was one of despair and urged the Sub- iaco community to send a clear message to the Barnett Government at the next election.

Rhianna King

The West Australian

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