A record 56 candidates including the dismissed former mayor have entered the race to become the first elected officials at Canning council since a non-elected commissioner was installed in 2012 with the aim of getting things back on track.
Joe Delle-Donne was Canning mayor in 2012 when the council was dismissed following recommendations made by an inquiry commissioned by the State Government.
The inquiry’s report cited dysfunctional governance, poor use of council resources and conflicts of interest as justifications for the recommendation.
Mr Della-Donne maintains his council had acted in the best interests of ratepayers at all times.
City of Canning Chair of Commissioners Steven Cole said previous council members should learn from the lessons of the past if they were to be re-elected on October 17.
“I do hope they take cognisance of what was expressed in the panel of inquiry, and their practices are materially different from those in the past which led the government to act as it did,” Mr Cole said.
Community leaders are also expressing concern at the possibility of members from the previous council returning to office.
Resident of 35 years and president of the Wilson Residents and Ratepayers Association Geoff Rees said the city would be better off having a new council.
“There are some very good people running for mayor in this election and they are young,” he said.
“It would be good to see someone younger take on the role.”
First time mayoral candidates Jesse Jacobs and Christine Cunningham both contested the seat of Cannington in the 2013 state election.
Jacobs, 34, a former Liberal party candidate, said he was sure there was a mandate for change within the city.
“For too long the City of Canning has been, without being too blunt, a property developer’s club,” he said.
“Over the last 10 to 15 years people have seen the council hijacked by self-interest.
“What is good about the democratic process is people decide for themselves who will lead them.”
Cunningham, 42, a former Greens party candidate said it was “absolutely marvellous” there were some younger “cleanskins” running for mayor.
“There are a few of us from Generation X,” Ms Cunningham said.
“I think we need to leave the past behind.
“The rules and regulations are now very strong, and we need to get on with being really good at running the board.”
Mayoral candidate Blair Campbell said any influence of major party politics over local government was deeply concerning.
“The eastern states have major parties putting up candidates in local government elections,” Mr Campbell said.
“This has never been the case in WA but it is fairly clear a Liberal party candidate and a Greens party candidate are running in this election.
“All we need now is Labor and the Palmer United Party.”
The absence of an election over the last three years and the campaigns to save the city from amalgamation appear to have activated peoples’ interest in the council.
Western Australian Electoral Commission returning officer Nikki Armstrong said it was the highest number of candidate nominations she had ever seen for a single council.
The 56 candidates running for Canning is more than double the previous record set in Gosnells in 2013.
Mr Cole said there was a lot of spirit in the City of Canning and a strong desire to return to democracy.
“The people have expressed to me from time to time that I am not perceived to be a fair representative of them,” he said.
“I am perceived to be to be an administrator appointed by the minister …
“They do look forward to being represented in office and I respect that.”