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Councillor profiles - This month from City of Albany, WAMayor Dennis Wellington, City of Albany, Western Australia
Albany is Western Australia’s oldest European settlement, pre-dating Perth by two years.
Looking further back, Albany’s Minang Noongar Aboriginal heritage goes back at least 25,000 years.
Albany was the final departure point for the first and second convoys of Australian and New Zealand troops to the battlefields of the First World War, a fact of which we are very proud.
Our rugged south coast setting contains some of the most spectacular scenery in Western Australia.
After many years as a premium niche holiday destination, Albany is now fast becoming a major player in the WA tourism space.
Albany has a busy port in one of the most spectacular natural harbours in the world, Princess Royal Harbour.
With a population of about 36,000, Albany is the administrative and cultural hub of the Great Southern region.
Albany’s major economic drivers are agriculture and tourism.
The best thing about Albany is being able to live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
In terms of attractions, the new $10 million National Anzac Centre, which was funded by the Federal and State governments and is owned and managed by the City of Albany – is a truly world class experience worth travelling for.
We have just delivered one of the most significant and challenging events ever staged in regional Western Australia, the Anzac Albany commemorations between 30 October and 2 November 2014.
The Australia-wide 2014-2018 Anzac Centenary commemorations were launched in Albany on 1 November 2014 with an unprecedented program of events attended by hundreds of Defence personnel and a range of dignitaries including Governor general Peter Cosgrove, Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott and Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key.
Among the four–day program of events was the official opening of the National Anzac Centre.
This was a major logistical challenge involving a great deal of work and collaboration between all levels of government and a range of other stakeholders.
The events were unanimously well received as an uplifting and fitting tribute to the first ANZACs. Albany will continue to stage commemorative events over the 2014–2018 period.
We have also recently completed a range of infrastructure projects related to the Anzac Centenary, including a major State-funded $6 million upgrade of the Mt Clarence Desert Mounted Corps Memorial, our new Town Square funded by Lotterywest, and a major upgrade of our most historic streetscape: Stirling Terrace.
In terms of other projects, the City of Albany has secured $26 million towards a major upgrade to its central sporting precinct: Centennial Park.
This ambitious project, which will be staged over a number of years, aims to create a high quality shared sport and recreation precinct to be used by the whole community.
Albany is also in the process of implementing an ambitious five year “Cycle City Albany” strategy with the aim of improving Albany’s bicycle network and culture.
Giving back to the community
I have been on Council since 2001.
I have always had a strong interest in being involved in my community.
I am a former president of the local Squash Club, as well as former president of the Rainbow Coast Raider Basketball Team.
Becoming involved in my Council was a natural progression stemming from my love of Albany and my interest in giving something back to my community.
I spent 25 years in retail locally and I have also worked in real estate.
As a result I have a keen interest in the economic development of Albany.
I believe I have had success in improving the perception of the City of Albany organisation and Council in the local community.
There have been many memorable moments during my time on council, but launching the Anzac Centenary alongside Sir Peter Cosgrove and Prime
Ministers Tony Abbott and John Key is a huge highlight.
Being able to listen and learn are the key aspects of being a good Councillor, and the best part is being in a position to make a difference.
The amount of time you are required to commit if you are serious about being a good Councillor can be challenging sometimes.
The best advice I received was to not take myself too seriously, and I hope to leave things in Albany better off than they were.