Resident suggests change to Weeroona Island boundaries

WHERE NOW?: Robin Skirrey stands beside a sign and wonders whether the island has more in common with Port Pirie than Mount Remarkable District Council.
WHERE NOW?: Robin Skirrey stands beside a sign and wonders whether the island has more in common with Port Pirie than Mount Remarkable District Council.

Discussion has again flared about the merits of Weeroona Island joining the Port Pirie Regional Council area.

'OUTBACK': Islander Robin Skirrey points to a boundary south of the township which he says is where 'civiilsation' finishes and the area becomes an 'outback' zone in the eyes of a government department.

'OUTBACK': Islander Robin Skirrey points to a boundary south of the township which he says is where 'civiilsation' finishes and the area becomes an 'outback' zone in the eyes of a government department.

Islander Robin Skirrey is investigating such a move because he feels the residents have more in common with Port Pirie than Melrose, located in the Mount Remarkable District Council.

He has some support for the proposal, but is yet to gauge the full reaction.

Mr Skirrey, a former police prosecutor, said he wanted to gather the "facts” rather than base his assertions on “hearsay”.

He said he would check rate bills to determine whether service costs were likely increase with any switch.

“I have started collecting information. I have some material on the boundaries as they are now and I have a rates notice from Port Pirie and I want to get a couple more,” he said. “There was a big issue on the island that rates were going to increase.

“Port Pirie was on a city rate and Mount Remarkable council had about 15 rates. They rated the land on Weeroona Island as unimproved value whereas Port Pirie was improved value.

“About three years ago, they changed the rating system from about 15 to four rates and now rate on improved value like Port Pirie so I would say our rates would be reasonably similar regarding the value of a house.”

Asked why he thought islanders should join the Port Pirie zone, he said “because Port Pirie is just there”.

“We shop in Port Pirie and use the toilets and library. We don’t drive to Melrose to go shopping and conduct our business there,” he said.

“I think if we are connected to Port Pirie, we are going to be in a better position.

“It takes 15 minutes to drive to Port Pirie compared with about 45 minutes to go to Melrose.” Mr Skirrey said that under the old boundaries, his house would have been in Port Pirie and his shed in Mount Remarkable.

He pointed to an anomaly regarding Centrelink zones, saying a boundary from the Causeway around the southern high-water mark separated the island from “civilisation” and it was considered “outback”. “It is where civilisation finishes and we are all in the bush,” he said.

Mayor Leon Stephens said the matter of Weeroona Island’s future had not arisen with his council, “but it is worth hearing the other side of everything”. Mount Remarkable chief executive officer Wayne Hart declined to comment.

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