Doors to open at Capel meetings

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Cr Michael Southwell
Camera IconCr Michael Southwell

The first “big change” to council operations as promised by Capel shire president Michael Southwell has been made after he announced the end of closed door meetings and workshops.

According to Cr Southwell, workshops have been renamed as forums in a bid to make council operations more accessible to the public and was just the first of a number of upcoming changes brought about by the decisive results of the council election.

“I have never been able to see why you would have those sort of meetings behind closed doors and not allow the public in,” he said.

“No decisions are made, we simply exchange information and views on current issues concerning the council or our community ... there’s no reason to close the doors.

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“I think people will see the way council goes about its business is going to change and hopefully those are changes for the better.”

Cr Southwell has hinted at and spoken about the various changes he planned to make as shire president ever since he was elected unopposed at a special council meeting last month, with this being the first change he alluded to.

Supported in the change by shire chief executive Ian McCabe, the president has wasted no time in laying the ground work for other changes to be made to council operations.

These changes include changing the ordinary council meeting times to 6pm, recording and publishing council meetings and the noting of councillor votes on agenda items, all items that were expected to be decided on at a special council meeting last night.

“I hope there is debate because it’s a good thing and people can listen to the various points of view,” Cr Southwell said.

“I hope council considers questions from all sides and comes up with the appropriate decision.”

Other agenda items for the special meeting included the request of a draft budget based on a 0 per cent rates increase, the acknowledgement of “the tourism and marketing potential of Gelorup” and formally advising the State Government the council did not support the southern alignment of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road through the Gelorup corridor.

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