The question of how to accommodate the interests of all stakeholders at McLeay Park dealt with at last night’s full council meeting was a challenge to all.
Believing that we had failed to complete a public consultation process and therefore ignoring the views of the majority of residents near the park I reserved out the resolution from last weeks City Strategy & Planning Committee. Our Mayor then allowed deputations from a number of concerned citizens. The depth of passion from these deputations which centred around a belief that they had not been heard of given a proper chance to partcipate justified in my mind my actions. These people were afforded an opportunity they believe they did not previously have.
My belief is that as good as the community engagement policy of the City of Unley is when compared to other councils it can do with improvement. This item was evidence of it. When a council’s community tells us that we have got it wrong it is up to us to re-examine how we go about engaging with our community. We must be careful not to throw the blame out our community as I suggest some of us are guilty of.
We do have a good policy but it has short comings. In this instance as with a few others I have witnessed our community engagement works fine until “the time on period of the last quarter”. We seek the views of our ratepayers via surveys and workshops and the like and then determine we can glean form these what is needed and make a decision on their behalf without them making judgement on the final draft.
Maybe because we have a community engagement policy better than we think we do not have to improve. If we fall into that trap we will soon have one of the worst policies.
My motion to defer the matter of McLeay Park last night so that we can be sure that we have properly and effectively sought the views of the affected ratepayers was defeated because the majority of elected members felt it was more important to resolve the matter on the night.
This back fired when it became apparent that making decisions on the run does not work and we therefore deferred it.
We need you to make good decisions and we need to listen to you to make good decisions even though sometimes we may vote other than the way you might wish us to.
I will therefore continue to advocate for our rate payers so that they get an opportunity to truely contribute to issues that effect them and that they can be satisfied that they have been given that opportunity.
We are certainly lucky in Goodwood South Ward.
In my short time in Council I have been confronted with some major issues that the City of Unley needs to address. These issues include such things as the high rise development implications of the Greater Adelaide plan which will affect the Goodwood Ward (along Greenhill Road), and Unley and Parkside Wards (Greenhill Road again and Unley Road), Stormwater and flooding issues and a myriad of others including considering a loan to the Unley Park Lawn Tennis Club in Unley Park Ward and the topic of the week, the redevelopment of McLeay Park in Parkside Ward.
Goodwood South does need good management however and does have issues. My fellow ward councillor Jennie Boisvert and I have been working for you, addressing local concerns and advocating for you. I will post separate blogs in the near future on what is happening in Goodwood South.
Whilst the City of Unley is recognised as a leader in engaging with its community we can get it wrong and we did last week on the McLeay Park playground enclosure to protect our kids from our dogs.
The beauty of Unley is when we get it wrong we go back to scratch and fix it.
We made a decision at last Monday night’s City Strategy & Policy committee meeting to effectively split the park in two with what has become affectionately known as Unley’s Berlin Wall.
Even though the park is not in my Ward I sensed that this decision was made with a flawed consultation with the residents of that area (in Parkside Ward). I have therefore reserved it out for further debate at the next City Strategy and Policy committee meetign.
The residents and rate payers of the City of Unley can view this as evidence that whilst we make mistakes and everyone can we can fix them. You can also be reassured that our mayor, Lachlan Clyne, is very keen that Unley has the best community engagement process in South Australia. He has re-affirmed this by allowing I understand up to 6 deputations on this matter at the upcoming Council meeting; this monday, the 28th March.
Democracy at work.
To all the residents and rate payers who attended the recent forums to assist council to come up with a response to the SA Governments Greater Adelaide plan that works for Unley, a big Thank You.
Those people showed why Local Government is the best level of Government in this Country, because we have a connection with our community that the other tiers of Government simply can’t achieve.
The City of Unley will hold four community information workshops regarding the Greater Adelaide 30 Year Plan.
Come along and have your say on the future of your city.
Tuesday 22 March, 1.30 pm at Goodwood Community Centre
Tuesday 22March, 7.00 pm at Unley Town Hall
Wednesday 23 March, 7.00 pm at Unley Citizens Centre
Thursday 24 March March, 9.30am at Unley Town Hall
RSVP to Kelley Jaensch on 8372 5107 or [email protected]
The Sunday Mail has revealed that the State Government is going to the Councils with its thoughts on how their goals can be achieved; to provide councils with an opportunity to participate, notwithstanding Unley has already done much work with a view to protecting and indeed enhancing our own unique city of villages.
Well done Sunday Mail in alerting the public to what has been a confidential document. Elected members of Council are yet to be briefed on what has been reported but will soon.
The City of Unley Administration has contacted DPLG and enquired whether they can give elected members a copy of the report in preparation for the commencemnt of our public consultation.
We will then get to see how the Government’s thoughts compare with our own.
In the meantime, as I indicated in my earlier blog today you, the residents and ratepayers of Unley need to express your thoughts and contribute to the exercise of creating Unley’s own future.
Go to the Council’s web site www.unley.sa.gov.au and follow the links on the home page (bottom left corner) to find out more and to have your first say.
Thank you to all those people who voted for me at the recent Local Government elections.
I am now one of the two elected members, along with Jennie Boisvert, for the Goodwood South Ward of the City of Unley.
This first post is just to say Hi, thank you all and to confirm I am your elected representative on Council.
If you have any issues you can raise them with me and I will be your advocate. If you live in another Ward I am happy to assist you in partnership with your local ward members.
The aim of this web site is to keep you all up to date with what is happening on council, to keep you abreast of all the issues that Council is addressing.