Scaffidi joins council

THE balance of power around the Perth City Council horseshoe has changed with the election of Lisa Scaffidi.

Mrs Scaffidi won the July 8 extraordinary election forced by the death of Noel Semmens.

Her nearest rival was council veteran Jim Leahy who polled 591 fewer votes.

Mrs Scaffidi does not want to make sweeping changes to council.

She wants to first take her time to learn the inner workings of council.

“I think council is doing quite well and the administration is excellent,” Mrs Scaffidi said.

“However, the controlling vote won’t have the power it once had.”

It was the threat of a floating cafe in the East Perth Redevelopment Authority area that sparked Mrs Scaffidi’s interest in council.

She and other EPRA area residents started to regularly attend council meetings following the proposal.

“From there I’ve taken an interest in Northbridge and central city issues,” Mrs Scaffidi said.

While Mrs Scaffidi is keen for council to be more open, she does not think turning extraordinary elections into referenda on issues before council is the best approach.

“I feel the Pride Parade question did not need to be asked. Going to ratepayers on a lot of issues is not the answer. We’re elected to represent them,” she said.

“I want to do my homework on each agenda item and talk to people in the areas affected by each item.

“I will vote based on how the majority of these people feel.”

Mrs Scaffidi is also the WA executive director of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

“In some ways the two roles will be complementary,” she said.

“Through CEDA I’ve been working on the Future Perth project with the Ministry for Planning.

“That should dovetail nicely with what I’ll be doing on council.”

One of the criticisms levelled at Mrs Scaffidi during her election campaign was her husband’s demolition of the old Railway Hotel on Barrack Street.

The hotel was torn down despite a Heritage order forbidding demolition.

Mrs Scaffidi said the Railway Hotel was a non-issue.

“My husband restored the facade of that hotel at his own cost,” she said.

“He’s looking at putting a development on that site in the short-term.

“Joe (Scaffidi) lost a lot of money on that site. He was the first mortagee on that site and was left holding the baby when the other partner went broke.

“Besides, it’s not the only hole in the ground on Barrack Street.”

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