Interview: Mayor of Nedlands City Council
Public arts, border defense, and moving to the clouds.
Mayor Max Hipkins discusses about preserving heritage, defending the city’s borders and pooling tax data.
What is your vision for the City of Nedlands?
As a small inner city within the Perth metropolitan region, our vision is to retain the spacious green character of existing residential areas as redevelopment pressures are accommodated. Our river and ocean foreshores have to be freely accessible to the public, heritage preserved and the arts promoted. The City of Nedlands contains four of the top ten of Perth’s most desirable suburbs – Dalkeith, Nedlands, Mt Claremont and Swanbourne. Protecting the City’s liveability and attraction is the top priority.
What is the top priority for 2017?
The top priority for next year is preparing supporting documents for, and finalising, a new format Local Planning Scheme. Promotion of the arts, particularly public art, is to receive more attention. Water security for parks and gardens is also a priority. Maintaining and renewal of city infrastructure is on-going.
How will technology help?
Understanding our community is critical to developing our long term financial planning and strategic objectives, simplifying the tools sets that enable real time interaction is critical to community engagement and informed decision making.
How will you develop your digital services?
Over the past 3 years the City has undertaken extensive work centralising its information systems which will enable staff to have an holistic view of ratepayers and property assisting in better communication and informed decision making.
What has been the greatest innovation from your civil service?
Transition to the cloud would be the greatest innovation, mass storage, hosted services such as phones, outlook, word, excel, SharePoint has enabled a mobile workforce, centralised information management - business continuity is a big winner too.
How is the city using feedback from citizens?
Feedback is collected in a number of different ways depending on the circumstance (ie community engagement surveys, questionnaires, face to face consultations etc). The outcomes are communicated back to the community utilising the same methodology by which it was gathered. The City welcomes feedback via its online community engagement hub; “Your Voice”, which provides an opportunity for the community to have its voice heard about the City’s priorities and decisions. We gather feedback to understand and use our community’s views, concerns, aspirations and knowledge to guide our decision-making processes, to strengthen community cohesion, city amenity and the quality of life for the City of Nedlands' community.
What has been the biggest challenge that the city overcame in 2016?
The biggest challenge over the past year has been defending our borders from an expanding City of Perth. Boundary changes have resulted in the loss of university and medical precincts. Other major challenges have been the preparation of a new Local Planning Scheme for submission to the State Government and renewal of city infrastructure.
What is the biggest area of spending for the city?
Our largest area of expenditure is in the development and improvement of the City’s infrastructure and has been consistently so for the last number of years – this represents our stated strategic direction of increasing our investment in the renewal of assets that are a vital part of the community’s vision for a liveable, thriving City.
If I were to visit your city, what one place would you recommend?
It is recommended that you should see our low density riverside residential areas – green and spacious. We believe them to be suburbs of world class, only a few kilometres away from downtown Perth.