Please tell us whether we have understood your Design King William Road wishes.

As I indicated in my recent Design King William Road Blog Council has listened to what you wish the future King William road should look like. We are pumped too that you see it as more than pavers v bitumen.

Unlike the picture being painted in the media, it is about

  • greening;
  • better access across the street;
  • more outdoor dining and meeting and seating spaces;
  • sanitary conveniences;

This paints a picture of a pedestrian environment more than a vehicle dominated space.

With this information we have put together several design options. These options we are presenting are our interpretation of what you have asked us for.

DesignKingWilliamThey test the structure of the road, the surface of the road and the profile of the street. The options can be seen by visiting our shop front on King William Road or by visiting www.designkingwilliam.com

The first and I suggest most important in designing King William Road is the structure of the street. We offer three options. They are increasing to different degrees greening elements, pedestrian crossing points, outdoor spaces with a commensurate reduction in on street carparking.

The second is (yes) the surface. We offer three options again. They include variations of the extent of and areas to be paved.

The third is one I encourage everyone to understand. It focuses on kerbing between foot traffic areas and vehicle access areas. The options include keeping the traditional kerb and water table kerbing we have now. The other options include an alternative of a roll over kerb and a no kerb option.

The no-kerb option is surely (if I can prompt) the one that provides the safest and more inclusive crossing the street options we can provide. People using mobility scooters and chairs or parent s pushing prams will find this the best option. It will be the best option to for a safe event environment (just like Rundle Mall).

We are inviting you to put your views to us again. You can do this, once again by visiting the ship front or on line at www.designkingwilliam.com

Please do this. It is your street after all.

Bring our own digital systems into the 21st Century

It is absolutely necessary that we bring our own digital systems into the 21st Century. Only then can we aspire to the claim to be leaders in this space.

We should no longer be reluctant to move to a preference for digital communication in fear of missing those in our community still not using smart technology.

Unley Digital use

With those using smart technology being in the vast majority our primary communication focus cannot afford to be other than digital. Communication Cost

The cost per person to access those not yet using technology is far greater than reaching those who are. We must take advantage of this if we are to be efficient in our communications.

All staff should be able to operate “current” technology “on up to date” equipment. Windows 10 and Office 16 is essential.

My experience with the Surface Pro satisfies me that it is an ideal tool for elected members. I suspect staff as well. A portable computer, it can be used as a tablet. It avoids having to have a computer AND a tablet.

If using one machine only, it is preferable that we use a computer pretending to be a tablet rather than a tablet pretending to be a computer. Such provides those of us who prefer having only a computer or only a tablet to have their needs met.

Cloud technology is also a must.

The cloud allows everyone to access files they are authorised to access from anywhere. Not just physically at a Council facility. This includes the public.

Digitalisation allows us to make use of data (if and when collected) unlike ever before in history. That said, we must seek to understand and adopt the management of data. Incorporating this into our system going forward is a must.

We must be in readiness for the State Governments digitalising of the planning system. Developers (including mums and dads) should be able to lodge DA’s electronically. Rate payers under cat 2 notifications should be able to view proposals without physically having to come to the Civic Centre.

One area where much can be gained by a Digital approach is in processing Development Applications.

The smart use of data allows anyone who selects a particular site within the City of Unley to know immediately pertinent facts of that property.

This includes title information, the m2 of the allotment, the zoning, and automatically identifying such things as encumbrances and easements etc.

The ability to identify immediately the amount of roofed area will be possible. Private open space likewise. It will automatically indicate 2nd storey opportunities whether in the roof space or not. It will not only also identify such things as permissible set-backs from front, side or rear set backs. We will be able to readily see such things as the required number of under cover carparks.

All at the touch of a button. No need now to understand the planning in order to navigate manually the printed development plan.

The challenge will be to know what data to keep and what data is of little or no value. This is something that must be appreciated now before systems are developed.

Mapping is another area that can make so much difference to helping us make informed decisions. From showing the impact of shadowing from potential new development to knowing what is happening to our tree canopy.

Car parking likewise. The use of sensors, data bases, cloud technology etc can provide us with opportunities to alert drivers as to where there may be available parks. It can also alert our rangers to those who have overstayed their welcome.

And so much more!

Loss of canopy cover in the City of Unley blamed on Council.

The public debate, fuelled from within Council, on the loss of canopy cover in the City of Unley has been blamed on the Council.

We have had a loss of cover in recent years from 26% of the Council area covered with trees to 21%. A reduction of 20% of the original cover.

The sharp drop has been attributed to the loss of trees on private land. In other words, removal of trees by our rate payers is having an alarming impact on our tree stock. This is then causing a loss of canopy cover, a significant loss.

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It is true that we have lost trees on private land. It is nowhere near as significant however in my opinion as those we have removed ourselves. Council that is. Our street trees and our park trees.

Yes! Council is to blame for the loss of canopy cover. But it is however, for a very different reason.

I ask everyone to stop and take a deep breath. I ask us all to remain calm and put things into perspective. In other words, let us stop the hysteria that something is painfully wrong in Unley.

In 2016 Council implemented a 2nd Generation tree program as part of it’s 2016-19 tree strategy. This policy targeted the renewal of 2,000 trees in 5 years. We knew at the time that this would see a significant loss of canopy cover in the short term.

The aim behind the policy was to avoid too many trees all reaching end of life in a small-time frame. The loss of canopy cover would be catastrophic if that could occur.

I am asking our administration for a report on the progress of the 2016-19 tree strategy.

In the report I want to know not just how many trees we have removed and how many we have replaced them with. I am asking them to calculate what the loss of canopy cover is. How much canopy the fledgling trees are providing is the follow on question. More to the point I am asking them what the potential cover of the replacement trees will be when they mature and when we can expect that.

So! Before we panic, let’s be certain of what is happening. The loss should only be temporary and the direct result of our policy.

If the loss is not acceptable let us cut back the program and/or stop it. Otherwise let us accept there will be a short term pain in order to achieve the long term gain.

Unley Community has been a shining example for all Local Government Communities

The City of Unley Community has been a shining example for all Local Government Communities. 117 of our citizens have contributed to our 2018/19 budget. 29 of those attended our public meetings.

Thank you for your contribution.

This follows the example set last year. It is inspiring given in my 1st 3 years as a Councillor we had 1, 2 and then 4 people respectively attend our public meetings.

You have answered my call to stay with us in this climate of rate capping. Rather than rely on the Government to rate cap us you have taken the responsibility to encourage us to include what you want.

Last year your input impacted on the then proposed rate increase of 2.8%. You wanted more and to achieve it we lifted the increase by 0.2% to 3.0%. This was still inside the rate cap we work on which is CPI plus 1%.

At our workshop on Monday night we had some tough decisions to make. Once again you wanted us to include more, and without suggesting cutting anything to accommodate the cost of the initiative you wanted.

Most of you were looking for even more environmental initiatives than we have already included. That said some of you weren’t too aware of what initiatives we had included. Next year we will need to be a lot clearer in detailing this.

A small handful of you wanted a reduction in rates and for us to focus on roads, rates and rubbish.

The budget will be finalised when Council meets formerly on the last Monday of this month. When we meet we will have to consider whether to include some of the extras being requested or not.

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If they are to be included we will need to consider whether to reduce our projected surplus, whether to reduce other services and/or to increase the rate.

Wish us well please in our deliberations.

City of Unley Community asked to help with Developing our Draft Footpath Trading Policy.

A community consultation on our draft Footpath Trading Policy commenced yesterday. It will run until close of business Friday 29 June 2018.

The Policy covers the management of permits for both outdoor dining and the display of merchandise on our footpaths.

Section 222 of the Local Government Act 1999 requires to develop a Policy. This is something we must do, a legal requirement imposed by the State Government. We therefore have no choice in the matter. As a result, hopefully impacted businesses will realise we are doing all we can to help them benefit from the Policy.

Example of safe footpath trading on Goodwood Road

Businesses play a significant role in providing the vibrancy and cosmopolitan lifestyle of the City. The draft Footpath Trading Policy therefore aims to achieve a workable balance between this and to maximise safety and the accessibility needs of pedestrians.

If we get it right, rather than restrict businesses we will provide opportunities for them to utilise the footpath space in front of their business for trading purposes.

Our aim is to ensure that displays and activities on footpaths are established, operated and maintained in an appropriate manner and our processes align to legislative requirements. We therefore propose that as far as is practicable we have clear 3 zones:

  • A Walkway Zone.
  • A Trading Activity Zone (area for business merchandising and outdoor dining).
  • A Kerbside zone.

After the results of the community consultation are known, we will consequently be able to finalise the Policy.

There are a number of ways for the community to provide feedback including:

  • Completing the online survey by close of business Friday 29 June 2018 – yoursay.unley.sa.gov.au
  • Completing a hard copy survey available at our Customer Service Centre, 181 Unley Road, Unley
  • Dropping in and speaking to our team anytime on Thursday 21 June at Living Choice, 123 Fisher Street, Fullarton
  • Participating in our Business and Community Information Sessions, held at Living Choice, 123 Fisher Street, Fullarton on:

11am – 12.30pm, Thursday 21 June.

2pm – 3.30pm, Thursday 21 June.

7.30pm, Thursday 21 June.

 

PS We will email the various trader associations, all local businesses, the Active Ageing Alliance as well as general promotion via the Messenger, our Unley Life column, via social media channels.

 

Have we understood your input into Design King William?

Over the last month many of you have inspired us with your insights into what is required to make King William Road the most loved main street in South Australia. Thank you for that.

We now want to know, have we understood your input into Design King William.

DesignKingWilliamThe majority of the feedback we have received to date highlights your desire for a more beautiful, active and accessible main street. To design King William Road with more greening, spaces for people, with safer points to cross King William Road. A desire balanced with the need for on-street parking.

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What I have seen inspires me. It re-affirms my own vision of how it can become the most loved main street in South Australia. Thank you.

In response, our design team has prepared three demonstrations of how these elements could be included in the street to varying degrees.

As a result, we need your help again. From Monday we are seeking your input again. This time, to evaluate these 3 designs.

In addition, we will also have three approaches to the road surface. This includes from fully paving the roadway, parking spaces and footpaths, to a bitumen roadway with pavers limited to parking spaces and the footpaths.

Each option is a different look for King William Road. They also carry different construction timelines and levels of disruption for visitors, traders and motorists.

We’re keen to understand what you consider is the best solution while maintaining the charm and character as we re-design King William Road.

From next Monday, this new material will be on display in the shop front, as well as accessible online. We will record your preferences to help inform the eventual design outcome.

My colleagues and I will then be able to make as informed a decision as is possible. Together we can make King William Road the most loved main street in South Australia.

Is the LGA Lunatic Asylum correct in declaring there is no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA?

As covered in my recent Lunatic Asylum blog post a claim being made by many elected members in the industry. This includes from within Unley Council.

They claim there is no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA?

LGA LogoCity of Unley logoIndeed, two questions have been asked in our chamber along these very lines. Questions based on there being no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA.

Answering the first question, to access these services the City of Unley invests $ 55,000.00 per annum.

Our membership entitles Unley of the services of the LGA in both advocacy and assistance.

The LGA is a representative body. Accordingly, it succeeds on the input of its members.  My blog “Are Your Leaders Showing Leadership or Merely Expert Spectators?”examines this observation.

Membership provides us with the following opportunities:

  • For us to share experiences with the wider local government industry;
  • To learn from each other;
  • To work together to find solutions for common obstacles; and
  • Make our work more cost-effective.

This is difficult to monetise. Anyone who is a member of any other association would recognise this. Whether in a sporting club, a social club, or a church, members recognise the need to have an association.

Businesses often ally themselves to an association. Even the trade union movement and all the Unions recognise this through the Council of Trade Unions.

Rate payers fund our membership. Let’s examine some of the benefits.

LGA advocacy is invaluable.

While we may obtain some grant funding by way of direct negotiation, we still need the LGA. We simply do not have the resources to be in continuous dialogue with the State or Federal Government.

We believe we are in the running for some funding for the King William Road redevelopment. Due to the advocacy on the part of the LGA this takes much pressure off the budgeting of this necessary project.

They influenced the implementation of the State’s new planning system.Likewise they provided input into the new Planning and Design Code. This because we we could not have done so on our own with some consistency with other Councils. Consequently, one recent major win here was their successfully obtaining relief for councils from contributing to the SA Planning Portal contributions. Sorry but I can’t remember how much this was but it was significant.

They have made submissions with our input to the State Government on the Community Engagement Charter, Design Code and Accreditation Scheme. Likewise they have advocated on the e-planning portal. This has resulted in a 12-month delay and a saving to councils upwards of $24,000.00.

The LGA provides direct assistance in several key areas.  Thankfully this can be measured financially.

Education and training available through the LGA would cost us at least $ 65,000.00 pa if we were to source like programs ourselves.

Just keeping up with legal changes confronting Councils and delegations and authorisations adds $ 10,000 pa to our costs.

Financial assistance is a major benefit. They provide this by way of low cost loans via their finance arm. As a result they save the 68 councils an average over $100,000.00 pa each. Most noteworthy, some Councils have tested this over time. Their investigations have concluded that the LGAFA to be the best avenue of low cost loans.

Likewise, the workers compensation scheme and the mutual liability scheme save on average across the 68 councils around $ 500,000 each.

This year is an election year. Because of their resources the LGA provides the bulk of the cost of achieving this, saving us around 0.5 FTE and a cost of $ 50,000.00. Especially relevant this is the same as the membership fee.

In conclusion, I suggest anyone suggesting there is no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA is not demonstrating leadership.

Are Your Leaders Showing Leadership or Merely Expert Spectators?

I remember reading once that before you can be a leader you need to be able to follow. Can I ask are your community leaders showing leadership? Or are they merely spectators?

I also remember being a member of a club whose whole 20 some membership formed the management committee. At meetings of this club a group would sit in the background talking about what was happening in their lives outside the club. They would then complain as soon as the meeting was complete about the poor decisions being made by the committee.

Another memory was attending a seminar where the speaker spoke about “the exerts are all in the grandstand”.

He spent 45 minutes differentiating between those on the field and those in the grandstand. He talked of the athletes making mistake after mistake but getting back up again. Of how they left their guts on the field.

He then spoke of those in the grandstand. Those self-appointed experts who spent the entire match criticising those game enough to put their bodies on the line. Those who pulled apart and examined every mistake and who called for the sacking of some of the gladiators.

Back to you! Does this portray your community leader/s. Or do those representing your community on Council have vision. Are they leaders showing leadership.

Are they prepared to enter the debate. Prepared to explore, examine, and be prepared to make decisions. To be part of the solution.

Do they do this at Council level. Do they then also contribute at an LGA level?

In other words, are your leaders showing leadership or are they simply spectating and/or complaining. Do they sit back at Council level, wait for others to move motions and then criticise?

Do they help you through the bureaucracy, whether at Local level or at State and Federal level or do they simply criticise Council staff or the various government departments?

Listen to what your leaders are currently saying about membership of the LGA.

In November you have the chance of rewarding your leaders or replacing them, if you believe they aren’t, with someone who will provide the leadership you deserve.

LGA Rate Capping Stance Prompts Call for LGA to be Dumped.

Everyone knows the State Government wish to impose rate capping on Local Government. We also know that the Local Government Association (LGA) has consistently opposed this.

Now some elected members are nervous of retribution by the State Government because of the LGA campaign.

Many are calling for the LGA to withdraw its campaign. Some for the sacking of the LGA. Others, including from within Unley, are calling for their Council to cancel their membership.

Hang on guys. We do not yet know what the Government is proposing or what form rate capping will take. We do not even know whether it will be approved by Parliament. When we do know then we will be able to direct the LGA to lobby on our behalf.

The question of LGA membership or the future of the LGA I addressed this morning in my LGA Lunatic Asylum blog post.

The question of rate capping remains however whatever happens in the LGA arena.

In my opinion, and from what I believe should be an Unley point of view, I still do not see a need for a State induced rate capping. I have written several blog posts covering this.

Let us recognize that Unley DOES have rate cappingRate Capping.

For the last six years we have set our rate first and adjusted our budget to suit. The cap we have set is CPI plus 1%.

During this time our rates have increased 25% compared to an average 41% in the rest of the industry.

This year we expect to be well inside this, maybe CPI plus 0.3%

.If other Councils were doing this then I venture to suggest the Government would not be threatening to impose an external cap.

Would it not be great if most Councils followed Unley’s lead? We would not be having any arguments now. Not rate capping. Not cancelling membership of the LGA etc.

Local Government Lunatic Asylum Calling for Dumping of LGA

With a Local Government election looming the Lunatic Asylum is now active at Local Government level. Many in our industry, including from within Unley Council, are calling for the LGA to be abolished. At the very least some are questioning whether their own Council should continue to be members.

LGASA

Local Government

I expect many in the Community would agree and I don’t blame you. Your knowledge of the LGA would be based more than likely totally on what you hear in the media or sadly, from us.

Those inside the industry should know better however. Given this I suggest they are members of the local government lunatic asylum.

Associations are only ever as good as their membership. The LGA is no different. It is only as good as its membership. It is the membership that makes an Association strong.

I put it to those inside the industry to take a cold, hard look at themselves. This includes members of my own Council, Unley.

The LGA can only ever be as strong or as weak as they (the elected members) want it to be. Members need to be active, to participate in working groups and the decision-making process. The LGA will be stronger only if its members actively contribute and not expect to get everything done for them without contributing.

Much of the angst I believe against the LGA springs from their fight against rate capping. The claim is they are not representing the industry in this campaign.

Given only a handful of the 68 Councils in SA voted against the campaign, Unley included, to make this claim surley questions whether you should be part of the local government lunatic asylum. While I have blogged previously on this, this may need to be the focus of a later blog.

Many are justifying their stance by claiming that we (Councils) don’t get value for our membership. Once again it is my belief that these Councillors are not contributing to making the Association relevant. More also on that in a later blog.