Interview: Mayor of the City of Kwinana
‘State-of-the-art’ facilities, digital pet registrations, and the Kwinana Adventure Park.
Mayor Carol Adams shares about how the council revamped its landscape by investing A$340 million in modern community facilities.
What is your vision for the city?
The City of Kwinana’s mission statement focuses on four key areas; strengthen community spirit, lead exciting growth, respect the environment and create great places to live. Kwinana is one of the fastest growing communities in all of Australia, with the population set to more than double in the next 20 years. My vision is to see the City continue to grow while maintaining the community spirit and strong ‘sense of place’ Kwinana is known for.
Moving forward, Kwinana will maintain its profile as one of Australia’s most critical industrial precincts, adding new major infrastructure, and 21st century technologies, further boosting the state and the national economies.
How will technology help?
Technology will play a crucial role in local government operations over the coming decades. Already we are seeing changes throughout council business, whether it be the way we process planning developments, how residents register their pets, pay their rates, book a facility and everything in between.
The challenge we face is staying current as the rate of technology advancement continues to accelerate. Councils which stay ahead of this fast-changing technological landscape will be best positioned to meet the needs of their growing communities and the complexities of 21st century living.
Technology has already helped us immensely in terms of improving communication with residents. Through online communications such as Facebook and the City’s new and improved website, we have developed an audience of residents engaging in conversations about City news, events and projects.
How will you develop your digital services?
We have big plans in the digital space over coming years and decades. Harnessing the power of big data will be key in this process. The City of Kwinana has an immense amount of information, skills and knowledge at our fingertips and if we can successfully integrate this into our business systems, we’ll be able to provide services to residents in a faster, more effective manner.
By continuing to invest in our digital services and online presence, we’ll not only make it easier for our residents to connect with the City but also with each other.
What has been the greatest innovation from the civil service?
Our City Centre Revitalisation immediately springs to mind. This A$340 million projects saw the complete transformation of Kwinana’s key commercial and social spaces. A range of state-of-the-art facilities, including a A$22m community library, A$7.5m Youth Space and A$5.2m Adventure Park, have been completed as part of this infrastructure program.
As a result the City of Kwinana community has access to a range of new venues and technologies which had been non-existent in the past. This project has been so successful that many visitors to Kwinana comment that the City Centre is unrecognisable from what it was 10 years ago.
What has been the biggest challenge that the council overcame in 2016?
As one of Australia’s fastest growing communities, we face huge challenges in terms of meeting the service and infrastructure needs of our rapidly growing population. Our biggest challenge is to balance the many competing priorities that demand Council’s attention. This is no easy feat and requires an acute understanding of community needs. Fortunately the City places great emphasis on community consultation which ensures our decision-making is always built on a strong understanding of our residents’ vision for Kwinana.
By ensuring the connection between council decisions and community vision, we can confidently deliver new and exciting projects, such as the hugely celebrated Kwinana Adventure Park, while maintaining an excellent standard of vital council services such as roads, waste management, security and environmental sustainability.
What is your top priority for 2017?
The City’s biggest priority for 2017 is securing a commitment from the Western Australian Government for the planning and eventual construction of a new port in the Kwinana Industrial Area. Known as the Outer Harbour, this long-planned infrastructure project could deliver up to 87,000 new jobs (direct and indirect) to our region once completed and become a catalyst for sustained economic growth in Western Australia for decades to come.
What is the biggest area of spending for the council?
In 2016/17 the City’s expenditure largely fell within the areas of recreation, environmental management and community facilities. This is not a surprising fact, given Kwinana has one of the largest percentages of natural bushland, parks and nature reserves in Perth. Add to this the City’s recent work in designing and constructing important community facilities including the Darius Wells Library, Zone Youth Space, community centres in our suburbs of Wellard and Bertram, sporting complexes, as well as the brand new Kwinana Adventure Park. All of these parks, reserves and facilities require a great deal of resources to maintain and continually improve.
If I were to visit your city, what one place would you recommend?
The most exciting and certainly the most loved place in Kwinana is without a doubt the new $5.2m Kwinana Adventure Park. This state-of-the-art play space is like no other in Western Australia, featuring a Tree Maze, Splash Pad, double flying fox and fully accessible and inclusive play equipment. Since opening in October this year, the Park has been buzzing with activity every hour of the day, every day of the week. The positive response from the community has been overwhelming, with people travelling to Kwinana from far and wide to spend the day at the Adventure Park.