City of Joondalup on restarting arts and culture celebrations

This summer, Government News will be speaking to CEOs of local councils on their lessons and highlights of 2021 and their upcoming plans and projects for 2022.

James Pearson

This week’s conversation is with the CEO of City of Joondalup James Pearson, who joined the council last year.

His priority is to shape a stronger future for the community in Joondalup and to work with Council and the community to realise Joondalup’s vision to be a global city.

Prior to joining Council, he was the CEO of the Western Australian Chamber and led public affairs for two of Australia’s largest public companies in the resources industry.

What are your lessons and highlights from 2021?

We had to be resilient and adaptable; we were determined to provide as close to normal service in our many services and programs to our community as we could, despite, in many circumstances, having to change the way we delivered them.

That required good planning, objective assessment of our priorities and resources and how to match them, and how to minimise the impact of restrictions, such as working from home and social distancing, on our service delivery and engagement with our community.

Our people, in leadership, management and delivery roles, were essential to our success; I am immensely proud of their efforts.

“We look forward to supporting arts and culture within our city and bringing our community together through this year’s exciting festival line-up.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2022? 

One of the most exciting things, after a two-year break due to the pandemic, is the return of our signature community arts and culture celebration and event, the Joondalup Festival in March 2022.

The cancellation of this event in 2020 and 2021, while disappointing for the thousands of residents from our municipality and across the northern suburbs of Perth who missed out on one of the highlights of their year, has given us a chance to make some significant changes to the festival format, transforming it from a three-day event into a three-week arts and culture celebration.

This year’s program will include ticketed events and some programming elements will be held outside the Joondalup City Centre for the first time. 

Highlights this year include performances from local theatre and ballet companies, art installations, and plenty of opportunities for our community to engage.

Our artists and performers, just like our broader community, have shown great resilience in the face of the pandemic. We look forward to supporting arts and culture within our city and bringing our community together through this year’s exciting festival line-up. 

“We will continue to maintain our reputation as a Bold Creative and Prosperous City on the global stage as the state’s borders re-open.”

What are your big projects and plans for 2022? 

Delivery of the City’s new Strategic Community Plan. This is the City’s highest-level plan, which will provide strategic direction for the City and its operations over the next decade. Our community has had significant input into its content and I look forward to seeing the plan being adopted by our Council later this year.

Ocean Reef Marina, the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken in our City and one of metropolitan Perth’s largest ever projects, continues to take shape. Recently, Mayor (Albert) Jacob and I had the opportunity to visit the construction site, coinciding with the crossing of the marina’s two breakwaters and heralding the imminent start of land reclamation – a big milestone in the construction phase. I am proud of the significant role the City of Joondalup, our council and community have played in the Ocean Reef Marina story.

We are redeveloping and upgrading one of Perth’s largest and most popular leisure centres, the Craigie Leisure Centre.

Joondalup Council will consider the establishment of a robotics and automation precinct in Joondalup, opening our City to further investment and the industries of the future. 

We will continue to maintain our reputation as a Bold Creative and Prosperous City on the global stage as the state’s borders re-open and we welcome people and capital from across the nation and overseas, to deliver the jobs, opportunities and ever-improving amenity that our community expects.

What do you think will be your biggest challenges for 2022? 

Some of the biggest challenges will be the impact of increased community transmission of COVID-19 on our workforce, services and community; helping local businesses to survive and thrive; and delivering Capital Works on budget and time, in the face of increasing costs and shortages of supply and labour.

How will the pandemic change the way you’re going to do things in 2022?  

We will put even more focus on business continuity and well-planned, flexible responses to both the predicted challenges and the unexpected things that we’ve learned to live with. Our people at the city and our community expect and deserve nothing less.

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