Providing Local Leadership: Why should I vote, not Do I have to vote.

Do I have to vote in the upcoming local government elections? This is a question I have heard asked a few times recently.

The question I believe that should be asked is not this one. It should be why should I vote in the upcoming local government elections.

Council Election VotingAre you happy with your local council, the services they are providing you, or not. Either way you have an opportunity to provide local leadership in the upcoming election.

Either way you should vote. With voting not being compulsory however, many of you will not vote. Historically 2 out of 3 of you will not. So why should you vote if you don’t have to.

You may not be happy with what Council has been doing. You may be unhappy with how your representatives, be that your Mayor or your Ward Councillors. Some of you won’t be.

If this is the case then you should surely vote. You cannot change what you don’t like without casting a vote for change. If you don’t you really can’t complain about what may be not right with Council.

With the retirement earlier this year of our previous Mayor, you will have a new Mayor after the elections.

You may on the other hand be happy with what Council is doing. You may be happy with the way your local Ward Councillors have been representing you.

If this is the case, why should I vote. Don’t believe that you don’t need to vote because all is well. By not voting you risk losing someone you believe is looking after your interests.

Many of you have indicated that you believe in my record and have faith in my future contribution. You have thanked me for working for you. Thanked me for providing local leadership. Thanked me for solving your issues for you. I appreciate these sentiments.

That said, over to You!

If you believe in me I need your vote. Please help me to help you by voting for me.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Giving Time and Passion.

As a retired businessman I can offer you something that none of the other candidates can. That is an abundance of time and passion that comes with being free.

 

Time and passionFree from the hassles of holding down a job. Free from having to commit to training for a future occupation.

 

To provide local leadership and to work for you it is important that your representative is giving you time and passion.

In my opinion you need to find 20 hours plus each week to be an effective elected member of council. Balancing family, work, social and play and the demands placed on you as an elected member can be most challenging. Anything less than 20 hours per week will mean you are not getting value from your representative.

Why would an elected member need to devote that much time you may well ask? Isn’t it just one meeting a month?

 

Working for you requires a commitment to the management role as a “board of management” contributor. The Local Government Act requires this of your representative.

This entails attending at least one full council meeting each month, plus at least one briefing. Attending these and (more importantly) preparing properly for these meeting is time consuming.

Then there are committees and we have many. Ideally they should be spread around. It tends not happen however. Some of us may be members of multiple committees while others may choose not to participate. I am one who contributes to multiple committees because I have the time and the passion where others don’t.

Then there is the need to give time to the various community groups who appreciate your support. The local sporting clubs, the community centre, the neighbourhood watch group etc.

The ultimate time commitment though, is the time devoted directly to you. The Local Government Act requires a person elected to council to represent the interests of residents and ratepayers, to provide community leadership and guidance, and to facilitate communication between the community and the council.

Time is something I have previously and still can offer you (more so), and wish to. In abundance. May I ask, can the other candidates?

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

 

Providing Local Leadership: Working for better local government (LGA).

The City of Unley has not taken full advantage of their membership of the Local Government Association (LGA). Many other Councils likewise.

 

LGA LogoThey all willingly take advantage of services such as the discounts available on Insurance or lower finance costs in taking out loans. Likewise, other services such as these are on offer and utilised.

We all also gain a benefit from the significant research and advocacy that the LGA provides. Research and advocacy that Councils individually simply could not afford to do on their own.

Councils who contribute to what to research or what advocacy to undertake are the ones who receive the greatest benefit. By this I mean the LGA will research what the Councils who take an interest ask them to research. Likewise they will undertake advocacy roles asked of them by the majority of Councils. Unley has not recently contributed t this.

Some Councils who also have been inactive here have complained they don’t get the service they should from the LGA. Murmurings similar to this have echoed from time to time in Unley.

I have always been a firm believer that an association is only as good as its membership. Active members make for a strong association. Passive members don’t contribute and this is when a feeling of disassociation occurs. Not because of the executive however but because of the members themselves.

To avoid the City of Unley being caught up in this I have put my hand up to become our representative on the Greater Adelaide Region of Councils (GAROC) Committee. Council has endorsed my nomination.

If elected to this board by the LGA members I need also to look for your endorsement as one of your two local councillors. If you elect someone else, no-one from Unley will be providing local leadership to the LGA.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: New Council, new faces, new ideas, needs stability and local leadership

The make-up of the new Unley Council is going to be totally different to recent councils. It will be just that, a new Council. It will have new faces and new ideas. We will see greater representation from both a gender and age perspective.

 

Stability

Change is great. Change should be welcomed. Significant change however, which we will be experiencing, needs stability and local leadership.

As I have indicated a few times recently I expect there to be at least 5 females on the new council.

Indeed we have two already, having been elected unopposed. Monica Broniecki will be co-councillor with Cr Michael Rabbit in the Unley Park ward. Jordan Dodd will be co-councillor with Cr Peter Hughes in the Fullarton ward.

Three of our wards have seven candidates each. Five of the seven in both Goodwood and Unley wards are female. One of the seven in Parkside are female. Clarence Park ward has 4 candidates. Two male, one female and one transgender female.

Looking at candidates attending recent Council meetings I would assess the majority of the candidates to be much younger than the current council. It is not unreasonable therefore to expect the next council to be a much younger council.

The current council had but one member (at age 30’ish) under the age of 50. It had three over the age of 80’ish. The median age of the next council is quite likely to be in the region of 50, with a handful over this age and a handful under this age.

The bottom line is the new council is going to be much different than the outgoing council. Not only will there be at least 5 changes, the changes will create a far greater degree of diversity.

With such change happening automatically, I believe it is important that we do not lose the corporate knowledge and the experience of the previous council. To that end it is desirable to re-elect members such as myself to ensure some stability and local leadership in the new council.

 

StabilityIt is not that long ago that I joined council. I remember my introduction into Council was the biggest learning curve I have experienced in my life. It took some time to acclimatise into the Council structure and ethos.

The new members of the next council will surely find similarly. They will need time to collectively and individually acclimatise to the structure and ethos of Council. While they are, those with knowledge and experience will be needed to guide the newbies through the transition phase.

An exciting prospect to be sure.

A prospect I relish as we transition to a new generation. Hopefully you will place on me the responsibility of providing stability and local leadership to the new brigade.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Time to consider an Unley Cat By-Law

The time I believe is right to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. I am hearing this from rate payers as I walk the streets of the Clarence Park Ward.

 

Cat ByLawI am hearing this from rate payers who have problems with stray cats. Likewise I am hearing from rate payers who are responsible cat lovers. I am hearing it also from ratepayers who are concerned about native wildlife.

….

Earlier this year I represented and advocated for a solution over a cat dispute between neighbours within the Ward. I helped both the cat owner and the aggrieved neighbour negotiate with council for a solution.

The end result was, I believe, a win-win for both.

The City of Unley does not have a cat by-law. It is true we have not had many complaints about nuisance cats. We have had enough however for us to consider an Unley Cat By-Law.

The previous Government recently made changes to South Australia’s laws in dog and cat management. Changes that are being phased in over the next 12 months. These changes include new requirements for micro-chipping, de-sexing and breeder registration.

Beyond this, under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, local councils can introduce By-laws for the management of cats that go beyond this legislative mandate.

Such by-laws may include—

  • limiting the number of cats that may be kept on any premises;
  • fixing periods during which cats must be effectively confined to premises occupied by a person who is responsible for the control of the cat.

Two simple but effective measures that our whole community would surely support. We don’t need I would suggest to go any further than this.

I commit to providing local leadership by encouraging council to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. A simple cat By-Law that everyone can agree to.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Safer Clarence Park Rail Station

A safer Clarence Park Rail Station is high on my agenda. This is one of those Advocating at State & Federal Level issues I spoke of yesterday.

 

Safer Clarence Park Rail StationA safer Clarence Park Rail Station has already been recognised through our local Clarence Park Neighbourhood Watch. Living so close to the rail station, being a frequent user, and conscious of the safety issue I am looking to take this to the State Government.

Prior to the electrification of the Seaford (previously Noarlunga line) the station had self closing gates at all 4 entrances. In spite of the increased safety risk with the use of more silent trains nothing happened. DPTI argued back then, that safety was not an issue.

Attempts in the past with the previous Government to reinstate them were unfortunately not successful. With a new Government and with a new Council comes fresh hope. Hope that appropriate safety comes back to the Clarence Park Rail Station.

This with the Clarence Park Community Centre child care service located directly opposite the station in Black Forest. Likewise with the Clarence Park Community Kindergarten on the other side in Clarence Park.

I have witnessed many train drivers sounding their horns to alert pedestrians about to step out in front of the train. They have done it to me even though I believe I was far enough back and alert to their presence.

This should not be the primary strategy for safe crossing at the Clarence Park Train Station. Like nearby Fairfax Avenue and Victoria Street there should be self closing gates at the Clarence Park Train Station. Like also exists at the Hove and Oaklands Rail Stations.

I will work for you, providing local leadership, if you allow me to work with you to lobby for this safety necessity.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: promoting communication skills training

Have you ever had a fight with your Council? Has this caused you frustration because you don’t know where to turn to, to get resolution? Would you like to see communication skills training for the staff you deal with?

 

Communication skills trainingI have seen many an example of members of the community being exasperated in their communications with Council.

Local Government is the closest level of Government to the People. Its very nature, being local, creates relationships with the community that the other two spheres of government simply can’t achieve. Indeed, surveys indicate a higher level of trust between the community and local government than there is with either the State or the Federal Government.

For all that, we stuff up. Because we are human, we stuff up a lot. I believe much of this is, is due to a lack of communication skills training.

What I have found is that complaints against council are invariably not about the trip hazard not being fixed, or the tree not cut down, or the planning decision you did not agree with. It is the Council’s inability to get back to you. The inability of Council to keep you informed as they research the issue you have with Council. To keep you in the loop.

Communication is I believe the most important skill a person can acquire. The longer I have been on this planet the more this becomes obvious to me.

Given Council is the closest to the people it behoves us to be the best communicators in the business.

To achieve this, we need two components. The first is to have some structure and process so that we have a consistent approach across the organisation. The second is the need for communication skills training.

The first the City of Unley has achieved, courtesy of a new policy that I had a leading influence in developing. The second will require council to provide communication skills training to all on our staff that have contact with the community.

Promoting this has commenced and the first step is our CEO recommending leadership training for the new elected members. I am happy for us to start there. Elected members undergoing training is an example of leadership in action.

Next step, I will be advocating (hopefully with elected member support) to direct training to our management and staff. I need your vote first so I can be in a position of providing local leadership and working for you.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

Providing Local Leadership: Balanced Walking & Cycling Plan

The current City of Unley Council determined a very well balanced walking and cycling plan back in 2015. As the plan roles out between now and 2020 the new council will need to ensure the balance between walking, cycling and motor vehicle movement in the plan is maintained as it is rolled out.

Before the end of the term of the Council consider a new walking and cycling plan that, once again, has a good balance for the benefit of all in our community.

 

Cycling, when new initiatives are put to the public, does stir the emotions. As I indicated in my blog post earlier this year there is a love hate relationship between motorists and cyclists. There is a similar love hate relation between cyclists and pedestrians.

In that blog post I called for all of us to show respect for each other. We are all people.

When debating cycling issues, Council should consider the interests of all three interest groups. Often however we see debate skewed in as much as the only external representation to the debate comes from cyclists. If we are not careful the views of pedestrians and motorists will not given the same weighting. The result can then be that pedestrians and motorists show dismay when they hear of the plan approved by Council.

My contribution to the debate in the past has been to ensure that there is a balance in the debate. Should I be part of the next Council I commit to doing the same. Providing Local Leadership in working for you, no matter if you are a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motorist.

Clarence Park Ward will be the focus when debating early next year the Local Area Traffic Management Survey recently conducted. How cycling interacts with the other modes of movement in and around Clarence Park and Millswood, will be part of the debate.

I look forward to providing local leadership during the debate on the Clarence Park LATM.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Advocating at State & Federal level

While Local Government should focus on Local Government there will always be State & Federal Issues that directly impact Local. Reasons for local leaders to lobby, advocating at State & Federal level.

 

Advocating at State & Federal levelsThe City of Unley and our Clarence Park Ward, most importantly, has these.

As a result, I will continue to advocate on your behalf, working for you. Just as I have in the past on such issues as the Seaford Rail Electrification and Grade Separation at Victoria Street.

Likewise as I did with the DPA2 pushing against higher density housing in Black Forest.

 South Road

What will the South Road project mean to Black Forest residents and businesses.

Black Forest could potentially become land locked. Just like the Millswood area around Goodwood Oval and the Millswood area east of the Belair line. Will traffic be able to enter and exit South Road from Byron, Cowper, Addison and Forest Avenues? Besides that, Emerson Rail Station may not survive.

Above all, the interests of Black Forest residents must be considered with high priority by the State Government.

This requires providing local leadership, advocating at state & federal level.

Rail Freight

There is no better time to push again for the freight trains to be diverted away from the Belair line.

The State Government is promoting GlobeLink and they have a supportive Federal Government and a supportive Federal Member in Nicole Flint (Boothby electorate). As a result, we have a chance to lobby them to meet their commitment to diverting the freight trains away from Millswood.

A chance to advocate at state & federal level for reduced risk of derailment and cancer causing diesel air contamination.

Rail Station Safety

Clarence Park Rail Station needs to become more accessible to all including aged, disabled and mothers with pushers.

By advocating at state & federal level with the new State Government, we can push for greater safety at the Clarence Park Rail Station. Most noteworthy, the Station needs self-closing gates similar to what has been provided at Fairfax Avenue and Victoria Street.

In addition, what about providing DDA compliant ramps to allow disability scooters and chairs (and mothers with babies in prams) to safely access the platform.

Working for you and with you I will advocate at state & federal level for these things.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

Providing Local Leadership: Outside Clarence Park Ward

Providing local leadership in Council does require an elected member to consider all the Council area, not just their own ward. I have taken a leadership role outside Clarence Park ward in a number of key initiatives.

 

Projects Outside Clarence Park

In the last 8 years I have contributed to, if not driven, many initiatives outside Clarence Park. I intend to replicate this in the next 4 years. Indeed, I have several initiatives as listed below that I particularly wish to promote.

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King William Road

As a small business person, I have been probably the most consistent advocate for the redevelopment of King William Road. Readers of my blog would know how frustrated I was on occasions as the media portrayed what we were trying to do was to decide on whether to keep pavers or bituminise the street. The same readers would know it is much more than that. Indeed, they would know that the final design was something I had envisaged from the time I became your councillor.

The project will commence earlier next year. It still needs strong leadership as the construction process will be challenging for traders, customers and the local residents alike.

Village Green

As a member and a previous Warden of the Parish of St Augustine’s Anglican Church I am intimate with the village green. This is the lawned area behind the Church and the Council Civic Centre. It is in the heart of Unley.

I was a key driver of the paved courtyard area that separates the Village Green and the Civic Centre and Church. The courtyard is now a much used and loved area. It provides a pedestrian access from Rugby Street through to Unley Road. A lovely stroll many take advantage of.

Our last Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, thought so highly of it he used it for his wedding reception after marrying in the Church.

Unley Oval Redevelopment

Like Goodwood Oval I have been integral to what has been achieved so far at Unley Oval.

The picket fencing and the redevelopment of the Jack Oatey stand I proudly have been a major instigator for. Providing local leadership is necessary to see the heritage (McKay) stand redeveloped.

Invigorating Oxford Terrace

I have always seen, since long before getting on Council, an Oxford Terrace that is pedestrian focused. The same as we are now doing to King William Road.

This is a project that has yet not received sufficient support from my colleagues. It has fallen  agonisingly short on a couple of occasions to get to the chamber. I will continue to fight and urge consideration of this being part of our long-term strategy.

Civic Centre Improvements

The Unley Civic Centre remains an inward focused architecture with no reference to the surrounding streets. Now that I have been able to access the inner sanctum as it where, I can also say it is a most inefficient building.

Like Oxford Terrace, by providing local leadership, I am keen to work for you to have us continue explorations that have commenced albeit in a small way. This starts with being re-elected of course.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.