In the absence of our Mayor, I attended today’s Local Government Association AGM. It was a good day for me, and I expect everyone in our community will be pleased with the result.
On behalf of Unley Council I was able to address a problem with our State’s Development Assessment procedures that create conflict between groups of people causing emotional stress. A chance to do something around opposing emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated
We put forward a motion on the use of independent experts for assessment of regulated trees. The aim of the motion was to provide more clarity and assurance around the assessment of regulated and significant trees under the Development Regulations.
It allows people to believe council is allowing the removal of trees that are healthy, and not posing a threat to person or property. At the same time others can see council as ignoring the safety of people (particularly children), in favour of keeping trees.
This comes from there being potentially two reports with conflicting expert observations.
The motion below was put forward by me on the day and seeks for the emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated with a view to avoiding conflict and disappointment. It had a 90.9% support from those councils present.
That the Annual General Meeting requests the LGA to:
- investigate with councils and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure the development of a Planning Circular which outlines the ‘special circumstances’ which should apply to request an expert or technical report relating to a tree; and
- advocate for arborists involved in the assessment of Significant and Regulated Trees to be included in the Accredited Professionals scheme and Code of Practice to be established under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act.
We now await the investigations.
A win for the Labor Candidate for Badcoe, Jayne Stinson. Armed with a 900 plus signature petition, she has successfully lobbied her party to back her campaign to upgrade the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.
The State Government’s announcement today of providing funding to Council for improvements to the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sporting Complex is, I suggest, profound. For the Liberals, this is surely a devastating blow across the bow in the fight for Badcoe.
The Liberals and their candidate (our Mayor), Lachlan Clyne have had the rug pulled out from under them. This the Government has done, by promising the funds now. Yes! To be paid now, prior to the election. A commitment that cannot be undone after the election. A commitment I find hard to see the Liberals matching.
This is welcome news to the City of Unley’s western community. That is subject to any conditions we are unaware of. Readers of this blog would be aware of the work Council has done on master planning of this precinct. You would also be aware of my efforts to ensure the best possible result for our community.
Looking back, I am happy that I took an early and ongoing leadership role in promoting (through the upcoming State election) the project as one warranting State Government grant funding. After introducing the project to Jayne Stinson as soon as she gained preselection back in March, I took the opportunity to introduce her to the Presidents of the Sporting Clubs. Their subsequent conversations have reinforced Council’s views of the needs. And then some.
In the meantime, we have been hard at work on our Master Plan.
We invited and received comment from our community some two years ago. Protracted discussions with all the precinct’s sporting clubs followed.
We are close to having a near shovel ready project. Good timing it would seem.
Watch this space for further information including Council’s response once we receive the official conformation and detail of the Grant.
Recent media headlines have identified that the Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.
I am pleased that both the Labor (Jayne Stinson) and the Liberal (Lachlan Clyne) candidates are focused on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand. For someone acutely aware of the state of the current grandstand facility this is heartwarming.
Some of the credit/blame for Jayne’s focus is probably due to me. I canvassed among other things redevelopment of the Goodwood Oval Grandstand when I first met her. This was a week or so after her candidature was announced earlier this year. I then followed up by introducing her to the Presidents of the resident football and cricket clubs. She has taken this prompting seriously, conducting her own survey.
Lachlan Clyne, as Mayor of Unley, is of course only too aware of the state of the Grandstand. He is also aware, up until recently, of what work Council has put into determining a way forward.
Trouble is the candidates have been so keen they have been replicating what council has already done.
They have both been conducting their own public surveys. Surveys designed to see how the locals feel about replacing the current grandstand with new club rooms. Surveys on one option only.
Council did this as the first stage of our master planning for the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Reserve some 4 years ago. This has allowed us to identify the priority projects and consider options. Something the candidates are not doing.
There have also been reports that they are publically asking Council how much we would be prepared to contribute to the redevelopment. Hang On Guys! This and Millswood is a Council owned facility.
As the Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand we ask the candidates how much their parties are prepared to contribute to this and the other three projects.
We will shortly, hopefully at the November Council meeting, have options available to consider. Options that have been costed for all three projects to come out of the Master Plan. That includes the Grandstand, the tennis lighting and the Croquet club rooms.
From memory we have committed around $1.0 m in our long term financial plan. We await on how much the future State Government is prepared to contribute to our project.
There is nothing quite like sport to inspire and lift a community. And in South Australia and Adelaide the sport with the capacity to inspire and lift is Aussie Rules (AFL) Footy.
This is what we have seen this week with the back to back success of the Sturt Football Club. We in Unley get to experience and taste the euphoria that comes with Premiership success for the second consecutive year.
The Sturt Football Club yesterday defeated Port Adelaide by the slenderest of margins. They got to lift high the Thomas Seymour Smith Cup in triumph. Final Scores
Sturt 7.8 50
Port Adelaide 7.7 49
Much of my pre-Council community service was in the world of sport and in particular, football. I know only too well the benefits that sport and certainly AFL football brings to a community.
Sporting clubs are some of the strongest community organisations in Australia and South Australia. Football Clubs are the best example of this.
They bring together people of all types. They attract people of all social standings and bring them together. We see CEOs and assembly line workers work together for the benefit of their club. Male and Female and people of different cultures, all arm in arm with a shared passion.
Football Clubs, and Sturt is no exception, give to the community in numerous ways. As I said earlier they inspire and lift a community. They provide hope to their community.
In the lead-up to the recent Grand Final we saw double blue coloured balloons lining Unley Road, King William Road and Goodwood Road. There was a buzz in the air along these streets. That will multiply this week on the back of a success of which the community will take ownership.
Hours away from closing their doors just a few years ago, this club (both on and off the field) epitomises everything you wish to see in your community and an example for all communities to follow.
Congratulations Sturt Footy Club.
Our Mayor has gone on leave. In his absence I have joined what I have affectionately called the Unley Actors Guild. In other words, as Deputy Mayor, I have now become Acting Mayor.
In my 7 years at Council I have oft observed the following procedure.
- A member of our Administration sends me an email;
- I respond immediately to this email;
- My email attracts a prepared response to say that member of Administration is on leave and if my matter is urgent contact “x”;
- In contacting “x” I find he or she is wearing the “Acting Manager of this or that tag”.
This I was unfamiliar with until joining Council. In private enterprise and more appropriately in an SME I simply never experienced anyone wearing an “acting title”.
Little did I realise that one day I would join this club, courtesy of the Mayor’s decision to run for the Seat of Badcoe.
Mayor Lachlan Clyne, not that he has to unless and until elected to the seat of Badcoe, has decided he will resign as Mayor in January. The timing of his decisions, both to go on leave and to resign, is to avoid Unley having to fund a bi-election for Mayor in the lead up to our own election. If he were to resign in 2017 now we would be forced to have a bi-election.
Once he has resigned, Council will hold an internal election. We will elect from within our number both an Acting Mayor and a Deputy Mayor to see out the tenure of the current Council. Our elections are due also next year, in November.
Signing Off: Deputy (Acting) Mayor.
Member of the Unley Actors Guild
Hot on the heels of my blog recently on a 3rd candidate in the battle for Badcoe, endorsed Labor candidate Jayne Stinson engages with our local community in the Battle for Badcoe.
She held two public meetings yesterday. The first was held at Dora Guild Playground; the second at Page Park. I attended both.
Of interest was the presence of the President’s or immediate past presidents of three of our local premier sporting organisations.
Goodwood Saints Football Club and Goodwood Cricket Club promoted their joint pursuit of female participation in their respective sports. Both clubs are leaders in their competitions and are active in female participation. Later Jayne spent the afternoon as guest of the Footy Club watching the “A” grade beat and pass University in the top five.
They are both keen to see renovations to the Grandstand. Renovations that are long overdue. Renovations that have become urgent given female participation in both Football and Cricket. They lobbied for grant funding for Council’s proposed upgrades.
Millswood Bowling Club and, by way of a phone call to me to promote their needs, Millswood Croquet Club promoted their respective grant funding needs. The Bowling Club is in urgent need for upgraded female toilet facilities and likewise a need for disabled facilities. The Croquet Club in need of new premises.
All four have embraced the principles of Council’s Active Unley strategy. This has resulted in the needs promoted.
Their lobbying backs up my lobbying with Jayne earlier this year.
Other issues included looking at safety of the pedestrian rail crossings at the Clarence Park Rail Station. The introduction of quieter and faster trains while removing gates has created a more dangerous environment than ever before noting this is a Station that has previously seen a death of a young child.
In the meantime, I am looking to catch up with the 3rd candidate later this week, Cr John Woodward.
A third Player has emerged in the fight for Badcoe. A week ago now, Cr John Woodward announced his intention to stand.
His candidature should add some spice to the campaign. He will be running as an independent against the endorsed candidates for the two major parties. As you will know from two of my previous posts in the Fight for Badcoe they are as follows. Jayne Stinson for Labor and City of Unley’s own Mayor Lachlan Clyne for the Liberals.
John adds another dimension to a seat I have previously identified as a possible litmus test for the formation of the next Government.
Like the two other candidates he will come as no stranger to a portion of the Badcoe electorate. That said I am unaware of ever having met him. Having had a number of conversations with both Lachlan and Jayne I will make a point of catching up John.
What I have ascertained about John comes from his Facebook Page and Website. He is seeking a more collaborative approach to solving problems, NOT the adversarial, bickering, nasty personal attacks that we see from our two major parties.
For more information about John check out John’s election website.
There is yet no announcement from the Greens or from NXT regarding endorsing any candidate. With John’s announcement the other two candidates are out and about.
Lachlan has been pounding the streets in those sections of the Seat of Badcoe where is is not as well know. Jayne, on the other hand is holding two community meetings in little ol’ Clarence Park tomorrow morning.
They will be as follows:
9 am thru’ 9.45 at Dora Guild Playground
10 am thru’ 10.45 at Page Park.
Yesterday I focused my blog writing on the extreme emotions around trees. Today I look at the value of the trees of Unley.
As I blogged yesterday trees, and therefore the trees of Unley, are both an asset and yet a liability.
Trees are a considerable asset to the community on many levels. They are an important element of the rich culture heritage of Unley. Our trees compliment the environment. They enhance our enjoyment of open spaces by making them more comfortable and pleasant. Just as importantly they provide a wide range of other benefits. Benefits such as shade, cooling and habitat for wildlife.
Conversely, trees constitute a potential risk to our community. There are several risks to both property and more importantly to person. The older they get the greater the risk. These risks include from both underground and aboveground.
Underground risks include movement causing damage by lifting to paths, roads and to buildings. The movement can create trip hazards in our vast footpath network. Above ground dropping limbs can cause property damage and (as highlighted yesterday) are a risk to personal safety.
Like other assets, such as buildings, trees require considered and ongoing maintenance. As with buildings this maintenance should be designed to maximise the benefits they provide and to minimise risks.
So what is the value of the trees of Unley?
Our Tree Strategy Policy 2016-19 is taking a proactive stand toward maintaining and growing our urban forest.
The core of this is recognising for an urban forest to be sustainable there must be a wide age-distribution of trees to create a cycle of succession.
Council’s urban forest has 26,000 trees. 23,000 of these trees are located in some 450 streets. The remaining 3,000 of these trees are in our parks and gardens.
A recent audit of our trees indicates that 20% of our trees realistically require replacement in the next five to ten years. More urgently 7% of our trees (1,570) will require replacement in the next 5 years.
During this time, we plan to remove 1,924 trees. More importantly we aim to plant 2,806 new trees. Rather than just replace trees we have determined are in need, we have identified opportunities to plant trees where none exist now.
Anyone following the media in Adelaide would be aware that trees bring out emotions at the extremes. Often only at the extremes.
There have been many a local media article identifying these extremes recently. In particular, we see this repeated in Adelaide’s inner suburban areas. We have seen the emotions rise to the extreme at both ends of the scale.
At one extreme, we saw the recent save our tree campaign focused on the Government’s redevelopment of Glenside Hospital. At the other end, we often see people expressing concern for the safety of their kids.
We have seen it regularly in the City of Unley with development applications for removal of significant trees.
One such recent application before Council’s Development Assessment Panel has typified that trees bring out emotions at the extremes. Our Panel considered one such application recently.
On that night the gallery was full of people desperate to save the tree the subject of the application. Emotions ran high on the night. Their energy and their emotions unfortunately resulted in their interrupting the proceedings. One unidentified person then graffitied the front fence of the applicant.
This prompted a storey in the Eastern Courier Messenger and in the Advertiser. The storey, in turn, prompted a significant social media response at the other extreme.
Those responding were overwhelmingly of the view that trees should take second place in the hierarchy to humans. They were just as passionate. Any hint (no matter how slight) of there being a risk was enough to say down with the tree.
Definitely, trees bring out emotions at the extremes. And there seems to be no middle ground. It is either one extreme or the other.
Council’s are often caught in the middle here, unable to be seen in good light. Like an umpire at a sporting event, always wrong according to half the supporters.