It is highly likely that an amalgamated Council will see less Councilors and Wards then currently in both Councils.
The population of each Council area is roughly the same
Willoughby has a Popularly-elected Mayor and 4 wards of 3 Councilors – thirteen Councillors. North Sydney currently has the same structure. However at the last Local Government election North Sydney ratepayers voted to reduce the number of Wards to 3.
If you assume that the Boundaries Commission will possibly look to make the structure similar to the current arrangements, you could see the existing wards reduced to 4. In which case Willoughby would be divided into 2 Wards. In broad terms, there would need to be a decision how to combine wards: West Ward/Middle Harbour ward and Naremburn Ward/Northbridge ward OR West ward/Naremburn ward and Middle Harbour ward/Northbridge ward.
If the Boundaries Commission were to pick up on North Sydney’s move to three wards the outcome would possibly be 3 wards across the amalgamated area which might end up with 2/3 of Willoughby and 2/3 of North Sydney in a ward each with the remaining ward coming from both Council areas.
If you have any thoughts on ward names or boundaries, please leave your comments below.
Depending on the model chosen, the new Council could comprise either a Popularly-elected Mayor and twelve Councilors or a Popularly-elected Mayor and 9 Councilors. The later model hands more power to the Mayor as he/she might have a casting vote more often.
The possibility that the Government might do away with Popularly-elected Mayors is also in the offing. The new larger Councils make it easier for politically aligned Councilors to take control of a Council. A Mayor elected from amongst5 their peers fits the political paradigm better.
The loss of local community representation is too great a compromise for the gains claimed.
I have had the opportunity to speak to important local matters and to represent local concerns in my ward to councillors who are residents and who appreciate intimately the issues involved.
No explanation is given above to justify the savings claimed. I believe significant cost savings could be achieved by alternatives which do not compromise local representation and local knowledge. One such alternative is combined tendering by Councils.
Significant valued histories, past achievements and future plans all face dissolution.
Combination of two such significant CBDs is a poor choice. Amalgamation of Willoughby City and Lane Cove would be a more logical choice.