Marketing Albany as a harbour city, spreading the workload, slowing the sprawl and giving the wider community a fair go are key platform elements of Cr Chris Thomson’s campaign to become Albany’s next mayor. Cr Thomson — the fifth confirmed nomination for the October election — has laid out a 12-point plan and believes he is a good candidate because he has local government experience without being “rusted on to the place”. “I’m a fresh candidate despite the fact I have four years of senior experience on council,” he said. “I’m passionate about Albany, I want to see it progress, it’s been going well, but I think we can do even better. “I’ve been in or around this council or other councils for about 15 years now, so I know the processes and I’m keen to lever off what Dennis has done to take Albany to another level.” A key pillar of Cr Thomson’s plan is an Albany Harbour City concept to capitalise on and promote its natural harbours. He said the 2026 Bicentenary will present opportunities to leverage funding for such legacy projects as many eyes will fall on the city. “In terms of recognising Albany as the first port city of WA and having people come down to realise the potential of all our three harbours — Princess Royal, the sound where the Anzacs took off from and the culture heritage to do with Oyster Harbour,” he said. He said tourists often still did not know the full extent of what was on offer in Albany beyond Middleton Beach and The Gap. “There is so much more than that,” he said. The plan addresses social issues by limiting the City’s impact on the rising cost of living, developing Albany in an ecologically sustainable manner and slowing the urban sprawl. “We do have to get regulation down wherever we can to get more housing diversity into this city,” Cr Thomson said. “That could include tiny housing, it could be other types of ancillary dwellings on big blocks — even in the middle of town here, some of the blocks are huge. “You’d have to design the buildings around the heritage aspects, but lots of people have been able to subdivide without any detriment to the neighbours or — dare I say it — the neighbours’ views.” He thinks Albany will continue to naturally grow in order to reach a population of 50,000: “people are still moving down here at a greater rate than probably anywhere else in the State.” He said medium-density housing development, such as within the Albany Woolstores Precinct and in Centennial Park, would be key to “not inordinately add to the sprawl”. “Urban sprawl is not just an urban issue,” he said. “I think people think of Perth as just this big sprawling megalopolis, but Albany — for its size — is getting that way. “So I’d pitch it to the State that we could have a model site selected whereby we could have a state-of-the-art housing development that meets all the environmental and social needs of the residents and the neighbourhood it’s in. “We could show people what we are talking about and that’s not 25-storey towers.” He also said he would “not sit in an ivory tower” as he wanted to lead as an approachable mayor, with plans to hold weekly coffee catch-ups with members of the community. Additionally, he wanted to spread the workload of attending public events among elected members who he said currently have “limited opportunities to get their faces in front of people”. “So if councillors have a particular interest in a geographic area or particular subject or issue I’d like to divvy it up that way,” he said. “...That would help build that viewpoint in the city that the City is being run by a team rather than just one person.” Cr Thomson also suggested he would be strongly in favour of extending weeknight trading hours along with allowing shopping from 11am to 5pm on Sundays. “I do not believe that a City council, or any elected government, should get in between a vendor and a customer,” he said. “I just think that’s totally redundant in this day and age. “It affects our tourist economy because people come down here to see a limited range of retail choices and there are a lot of shift workers around who have a limited time to shop.” Other elements of his plan include growing Albany’s knowledge-based economy by working closely with universities and TAFE to attract students to Albany, advancing the arts sector in the City and upgrading the leisure centre to include a 50m swimming pool. Cr Thomson joins Cr Greg Stocks, Ken Kelly, Scott Leary and Mario Lionetti as confirmed candidates in this year’s mayoral race. An eight-day nomination period for candidates to officially nominate for local government elected positions opens on August 31.