Sunset on Sammels’ City reign

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels has announced he will retire in October.
Camera IconRockingham Mayor Barry Sammels has announced he will retire in October. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

The longest-serving mayor in WA has announced his decision to step down from the City of Rockingham’s top job, leaving at the October elections.

Mayor Barry Sammels was first elected as a councillor in 1997, before becoming deputy mayor in 2001 and mayor in 2003.

Cr Sammels said he had never planned to join the council, but had been encouraged by members of the Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce.

“I didn’t expect to win but I did. I never had an ambition to be deputy mayor or mayor at the start, it just evolved over the years,” he said.

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Cr Sammels said one of the biggest challenges he had faced as mayor was the growth of the region and handling the infrastructure development that went alongside this growth.

“It has been really challenging to get all that infrastructure in place, especially in areas like Baldivis,” he said. “There are so many organisations popping up the more the population grows, and so it has been really important to make sure the infrastructure is there to support this.”

Alongside the challenges, Cr Sammels said there had been many enjoyable moments in his role.

“I think getting out and meeting people in the community has been the best aspect of the job,” he said. “So many people at these events are volunteers, people giving their time and energy to be involved for the love of it. Getting to know these people, work with them and talk about their issues has been the nicest part of my role as mayor.”

Cr Sammels said while he had enjoyed his time on the council, he had felt the time was right to step down from the role.

“I think you know when your time is up, it’s a bit like when you play sport, you know your time is coming to an end and that is sort of how I feel at the moment. It is time to pass the baton on to someone else,” he said.

“I want to thank my family for their support over all these years. It has been hard, there are a lot of times you are not home during the evening or at weekends.

“I also want to thank all the councillors, past and present, I really appreciate their camaraderie and friendship, and the City staff and CEOs for their hard work and support. Lastly I want to thank the community, I hope I have served them well.”

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