Mayor Tracey Roberts discusses the top two challenges facing the city – public transport and employment – and how the council is addressing these issues.

What is your vision for the city?

My vision for the City of Wanneroo is for it to be a thriving, welcoming community where people enjoy living. I hope that visitors to our wonderful city enjoy their Wanneroo experience and want to come back time and time again.

How will technology help?

Technology enables us to promote our wonderful part of the world to those who live overseas and encourage them to visit. We have 32km of coastline, beautiful national parks and consider tourism to be very important for the local economy as it encourages local and interstate visitors to the region and provides a real boost to our restaurants and other service providers.

Technology will also allow the City of Wanneroo to continue to engage with investors. We are a thriving city well-placed for success and we are looking at improving infrastructure to create more opportunities. Neerabup Industrial Area has been identified as a good location for prospective investors to purchase land or start their business. It is planned to be the most significant new industrial estate in Perth’s North West Metropolitan Corridor and is expected to generate up to 20,000 new jobs.

How will you develop your digital services?

The City of Wanneroo is implementing additional online services in order to enable our customers to connect with the City at a time and place that suits them. A variety of options are already available on our website which allow residents to order rubbish bins, renew animal registrations, apply for building permits and pay their rates online, just to name a few. We are also working with several departments to develop a package of online forms that will save time, offer convenience and be more efficient.

The council is futuristic, innovative and always looking at opportunities on how we can expand. The City is currently exploring with other councils the option of online voting to improve voter participation rates in Council elections and to have a more inclusive and efficient electoral process.

What has been the greatest innovation from your civil service?

This year, the City of Wanneroo took part in its first national advocacy campaign through its membership of the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA). The campaign is called Fund our Future and City residents were the most vocal of the outer metropolitan areas across the nation – more than 16,000 emails were sent to politicians between April and July. That is a considerable effort by the community and a result of our hard working advocacy team.

Our City has an inclusive team approach and are affectionately referred to as ‘Team Wanneroo.’ We are very engaged with our community, we listen and together we promote what a wonderful place the City of Wanneroo is to live, to work, to invest and to recreate.

How is the city using feedback from citizens?

The City of Wanneroo is committed to fostering a culture of community engagement. We understand the importance of engagement and provide many opportunities for residents and stakeholders to participate.

The City is always looking at opportunities to engage with our community. We connect with our residents to identify improvements to ensure we have a vibrant city in which to live and work. We ask, listen and implement.

What has been the biggest challenge that the city overcame in 2016?

Public transport and local employment are two of our biggest challenges. Having to travel long distances to work impacts negatively on lifestyle, health and family life. This prevents people from enjoying where they live and engaging with other community members. This can then create a neighbourhood of people not engaging, otherwise known as dormitory suburbs.

Our vibrant, rapidly growing community deserves local jobs for local people and we are working incredibly hard to make sure the City of Wanneroo continues to thrive. Key factors in achieving this are road improvements and public transport networks that make commuting easier for everyone.

Connect Wanneroo is a community advocacy campaign backed by the City of Wanneroo to demand the State Government commits to funding rail to Yanchep and immediately extending the Mitchell Freeway to Romeo Road, Alkimos and continuing through to Yanchep. The campaign has received immediate and strong community support which demonstrates how crucial these key infrastructure projects are to all our residents.

What is your top priority for 2017?

Our top priority is to improve infrastructure to inspire confidence in prospective investors which will create opportunities for people to work locally, enabling them more time to spend in their community, enjoying where they have chosen to live.

Certainly the voice of our community is very supportive of local employment and local infrastructure. The City has received overwhelming support for Connect Wanneroo and Fund our Future earlier this year and we will continue to campaign for better infrastructure for our residents.

What is the biggest area of spending for the city?

The City will continue to invest in community infrastructure with a A$90 million capital works project this budget. Major building projects include the Wanneroo Civic Centre expansion, Yanchep playing fields, Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club, community centres and road upgrades. The capital works program aims to balance the demands for new infrastructure against the need to maintain, renew, upgrade and replace existing assets.

As a City, we are growing at a rate of up to 140 new residents each week so it is vital that we ensure we provide the recreation facilities, community hubs and meeting places, roads, pathways, parks and open spaces that our residents need and expect. We must respond to the growth and it is a challenge we take seriously.

If I were to visit your city, what one place would you recommend?

I recommend Yanchep National Park. It is a beautiful place where you really have that sense of connection to nature, beautiful flora and wildlife. You can hear the engaging birds sing and smell the unique aroma of the bush. It is a place that evokes all of the senses and a truly beautiful part of the world that has a real sense of place.