Craddock resigns, West Ward postal ballot set for May 25
HUNDREDS of Toodyay voters will go back to the polls on May 25 after the surprise resignation of veteran West Ward shire councillor Sally Craddock last month.
The Toodyay Shire Council voted 7-0 for the WA Electoral Commission to run a postal ballot in the shire’s biggest electorate, which includes Morangup, Julimar, parts of Hoddys Well and Moondyne.
West Ward’s 1047 electors who were registered to vote in last October’s shire elections are represented by three councillors.
West Ward Cr Paula Greenway was re-elected last year for a further four years, while Cr Rob Welburn and former Cr Craddock were both elected in 2015.
Photo: Former West Ward Cr Sally Craddock was often a lone voice in the wilderness.Read more
The by-election will fill the remainder of former Cr Craddock’s four-year term, which expires in October 2019.
Ms Craddock said it had been an honour and a privilege to serve the people of the Shire of Toodyay.
She said it had been an extremely hard decision to make but believed for personal reasons that it was the right thing to do.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for me over the past 15 years for their support,” she said (see Letters Page 4).
The vacancy leaves the council with only eight councillors for its next three meetings, with Shire President Brian Rayner holding a casting vote in a 4-4 deadlock.
Nominations for the West Ward vacancy will be called and advertised.
Cr Greenway defeated two other candidates to win last year’s single West Ward vacancy.
She was returned with 214 votes, while Morangup candidate Craig Brook ran second with 158 votes and Andrew Walker polled 82.
More than half of last year’s registered West Ward voters live in Morangup (see map, below), where a proposed open-cut bauxite mine and increasingly heavy truck traffic on Toodyay Road have become issues of major local concern in recent years.
In Hoddys Well, voters have been fighting plans for a massive new landfill site for millions of tonnes of metropolitan rubbish.
Moondyne is a mainly rural area north of the Avon River between Julimar and Chittering.
The rest of the electorate includes most of the more densely-populated Julimar rural subdivision and parts of West Toodyay.
The shire switched last year from running its own ‘in-person’ voting on election day in polling stations at the council chamber and in Morangup to a 26-day postal ballot run by the WA Electoral Commission in Perth.
It resulted in a 50 per cent turn-out across the shire that easily beat last year’s state-wide average of 34 per cent and ended Toodyay’s previous low voting trend that ranked among WA’s worst for voter participation.