Still the same

The Adelaide Hills Council’s decision to pursue the abolition of the ward-based representation system is proof that nothing has changed over the past nine months.
More than 90% of community respondents still want the council to be divided into wards.
Half of the elected members also want to retain the current system.
And the other half of the elected members, as well as the Mayor, still want an undivided council.
The most recent decision also demonstrated that most of the councillors who were against retaining the wards were also against some kind of compromise, which could have seen the number of wards reduced, rather than completely abolished.
During the previous elector representation review – held during late 2016 and early 2017 – the council pushed ahead with the decision to abolish wards despite strong community opposition during two consultation periods (both over 90%).
This caused some people to feel as though their views had not been adequately considered.
It’s unlikely that the most recent decision has done anything to change that.
There are undoubtedly valid points on both sides of the argument, when it comes to whether or not the council should be divided.
Those in favor of the wards have argued that maintaining the status quo will ensure residents have a local representative to whom they can turn.
Someone who knows their area intimately, is in tune with the issues facing the local community and who can consider their needs.
Meanwhile, the Mayor has researched councils across the nation and found that a wardless system encourages more people to vote, while voters in undivided councils are also more likely to have their first preference candidate elected.
These factors are, in his opinion, strong evidence to say that councils without wards work better.
However, he and half of his fellow elected members have once again failed to convince the community of the same thing.
For the third time in less than a year the council has forged ahead to abolish wards without first bringing the community along.
In the process it has continued to injure the reputation of the community consultation process – a wound that will likely take a long time to heal.