Joy Stewart to leave council

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Cr Joy Stewart will retire in October.
Camera IconCr Joy Stewart will retire in October. Credit: Gareth McKnight/Gareth McKnight

Rockingham councillor Joy Stewart has announced she will retire in October after 14 years, citing “a section of the community” being determined “to gain control of council at any cost”.

The councillor represents the Rockingham and Safety Bay Ward and was not up for re-election until 2023. This means there will be six, rather than five spots on council up for grabs at the October 16 elections, as well as the first ever popularly elected mayor.

Cr Stewart, pictured, said while the role had been a challenge, she also felt a great sense of achievement in the work she had accomplished.

“It has been a privilege to have represented the people of Rockingham for the past 14 years. I believe I have contributed to the good governance and the future sustainability of the City,” she said.

She said driving a greater focus on addressing the needs of seniors and people with disabilities, a stronger focus on the environment and the protection of Cape Peron from residential development were among her proudest achievements. But in addition to recent health challenges, Cr Stewart said she had found it “increasingly difficult to be motivated ” due to a toxic social-media environment and a wave of populism.

“The disrespectful toxicity of social media, the rise of political populism and pursuit by a section of the community to gain control of council at any cost, and the unwillingness of some for discussion, compromise and teamwork on council, has meant I have had very little satisfaction or enjoyment, as late,” she said.

Cr Stewart said despite these issues, she was appreciative of the support of many of her past and present fellow councillors.

“I am appreciative of the professionalism, dedication and support of the City staff and the friendships I have developed across this fantastic community,” she said.

“I look forward to the City continuing to prosper for future generations.”

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