Football Clubs (in this case Sturt Football Club) inspire and lift a community

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.

Sturt players holding the Thomas Seymour Hill Cup.

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.

 

I have Joined the Unley Actors Guild

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.

In his absence I (as Deputy Mayor this year) will join the Unley Actors Guild and take his place. I will have this role until sometime in January.

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

 

 

Jayne Stinson engages with our local community in the Battle for Badcoe.

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.

Jayne was entertained by President Craig at the Goody Saints v University match

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 third Player has emerged in the fight for Badcoe. A week ago now, Cr John Woodward announced his intention to stand.

A Councillor for the City of West Torrens Keswick Ward, John announced his intention to run via Facebook and Twitter a week ago.

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.

 

What is the Value of the Trees of Unley

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.

 

Trees bring out emotions at the extremes. Often only at the extremes.

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.

 

Council Development Assessment Panels set to change

Word is that 1 August 2017 will see the commencement of the assessment panel provisions of the Planning Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act). 1 October 2017 is set to be the designated day for the new system.

This means changes for our own Development Assessment Panel (DAP). First up, the Council Development Assessment Panel will now be known as a Council Assessment Panel (CAP).

The change though with the most impact will be the change to the membership of the Panel.

The current membership of the Panel is 7 people. Elected members fill three of the positions on the panel. The remaining four members are filled by independents appointed by Council.

The effective number will reduce to no more than 5 from 1 October however. More to the point, there can now only be one elected member of Council on the Panel.

Membership of the panel will now have to be reviewed by Council. It means we must reduce the elected member representation.  We can and I expect will retain the 4 independent members on our Panel.

We will need to consider keeping only one of the current elected members on the panel or starting again. The opportunity for all elected members now exists to nominate for membership of our panel.

Last night I attended Unley’s Development Assessment Panel meeting last night as a spectator. Interestingly there were two apologies dropping our 7 strong team down to 5.

As a result, if the new Council Assessment Panel was in operation 2 apologies would see the members of the Panel in attendance reduce to 3. Members of the Public were disturbed that the number on the night (5) was too small a number.

Finally, as has always been the case, assessment panels will be relevant authorities by virtue of the PDI Act, not because they receive delegated authority from another body, such as a council or the Minister.

 

Is the Gourmet Gala too expensive to run?

Should we disassociate ourselves from future TDU’s. I ask everyone a separate question. Is it the TDU you have a concern with or the Gourmet Gala with its cost of $ 266,000 per event?

In other words, is the Gourmet Gala too expensive to run? Should we continue to run the Gourmet Gala?

The Gourmet Gala is held the night before a stage start for the TDU. It certainly does compliment the race start the next morning, making for an extended celebration.

 

But again, is it the TDU?

The Gala does require an investment by council of some $ 266,000 to stage. This is a significant investment.

But is it? It is actually in the order of just $ 10.00 for every rate payer, whether residential or commercial.

Some see this as focused on an elite group, others just a big party that we can do without. Others, a party we could hold at another time, at another venue, at far less cost than $ 266,000. A solid argument.

If it is all about party time in Unley we certainly can look at doing it at less cost. The Unley Way to go held many moons ago on Unley Oval is evidence of this.

The gourmet gala many do not realise goes well beyond this however.

The Gourmet Gala attracts people from within and from outside to King William Road as a destination. Up to 30,000 at a time which is far from an elite group.

This, in turn, must be economically good for business in King William Road. We are told by qualified experts that it has provided an economic benefit to the strip of over $ 5.0m to the City of Unley between 2011 and 2017. An average of close to $ 730,000 per event.

Some traders disagree, losing money on the night. These traders I suggest do not see the marketing potential of such an event. That is a debate however for another time.

So, when this comes up again, let us focus on what we are actually debating. Is it the TDU or is it the Gourmet Gala? Or is it both?

The above is far from an argument justifying the Gourmet Gala.

There is much more to consider as we consider any future commitment to the Gala. This conversation I think needs to expand into at least a 4th post just to explore alternatives to the Gala.

So watch this space.

City Strategy & Development Committee concurs with Local Knowledge Assessment

Last night our City Strategy & Development Committee met and discussed the Ministers two DPAs. Refer my recent blog on the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment.

We concurred with the Local Knowledge Assessment by our Mr Brown of the Ministers (Specific Sites) DPA. Led by my observations in support of his assessment and a motion moved by me the committee has recommended Council go further than his recommendation.

As noted in my last blog post Mr Brown provided an in-depth analysis of the Ministers DPA. This analysis demonstrated that the Specific Site DPA did not relate to his Design DPA. It fell well short of the parameters that Unley has previously demonstrated with our DPAs. Parameters that his Design DPA had been based on.

The Committee saw the Ministers DPA this way.

The most significant observations were the zoning the Le Cornu site as a Transit Zone and Unley Road Malvern as High Street. The other observation is the classification of the street behind Cappo as a primary street.

We concurred that the street behind Cappo is a narrow suburban street that should be classified a secondary street. Our recommendation will provide setbacks not provided in the proposed zoning. Setbacks that will soften the interface with the surrounding residential zone. Setbacks that will reduce the height along Chinner.

Both the Le Cornu site and the Malvern site unmistakably should both be business zones with setbacks along both Anzac Highway and Leader street, the latter to protect the interface with the residential zone to the south.

So long as setbacks are recognised we had no difficulty with the heights proposed at Le Cornu. We did however on the Unley Road site. We determined in discussions a height of 4 storeys, or even 3 with Business zone setbacks rather than high street. But we went further.

We determined that it was inappropriate that this site be included in the DPA. In a climate of low population growth, it was not necessary to isolate this site from its surrounds. Council has provided opportunity for significant growth (say 200 people) just down the road in the District Centre. This site we believe would potentially compete in a low market with the District Centre and the latter surely should be encouraged first.

Now, let us wait on whether Council concurs in two weeks or whether they would prefer changes to this recommendation.

Unrest from some over Unley hosting the TDU

Amid cries that it is too expensive and/or it has had its day, there is unrest from some over Unley hosting the TDU.

During budget deliberations, we heard cries from some in our community to abandon the TDU. Indeed (from memory) two councillors said the same. Some including the two councillors will be disappointed with the news it is going to happen.

Those same cries were not so apparent when we debated earlier in the year whether we should put another bid in or not. That is when the debate was needed to be had, not at budget time.

Curiously this happens every year. We agree to put in a bid. Then at budget time we debate if we should change that decision.

With the announcement imminent of who has been successful in hosting a start or a finish, budget time is precisely the wrong time to have the debate. To pull out then would surely to be irresponsible.

But what are we debating. The calls to drop our association with the TDU come from concern over the $ 266,000 it costs council to stage the Gourmet Gala.

I don’t argue that this is a significant amount of money for one event. But is it? More on that in a future blog.

Whilst the Gourmet Gala is associated with the TDU it is not the TDU. The TDU start surely must stay. As I wrote in my last blog post the City of Unley and the TDU go hand in hand.

For the premier bike capital of Adelaide (Unley) not to host a start, or a finish for that matter, would surely be criminal.

So, when this comes up again, let us focus on what we are actually debating. Is it the TDU or is it the Gourmet Gala? Or is it both?