Centre repair costs anger- a symptom of a bigger picture.

That’s the heading of a storey in the Eastern Courier this wee concerning the need for significant maintenance of the property in Oxford Terrace Unley, occupied by the Sturt Footy Club.

The article which can be found at here at Centre Repair Costs Anger reflects the concerns of at least one Unley Councillor, Michael Hudson. It focuses on the concerns of this Councilor who, stressed by Sturt’s financial situation, is of the belief that the majority of the repairs are repairs the Club should have and should be undertaking under the lease agreement.

You could be excused for thinking this way. From what I glean however, reading the report and as a builder, the majority of the items requiring attention are actually what the Council are responsible for.

Cr Hudson was critical more of our administration than Sturt it must be acknowledged. And this leads to the crux of the real dilemma.

In my short time on Council, and being a building inspector (who spends his time looking at buildings and determining their health status), it is my opinion that past administrations, indeed past Councils (the elected members) have not recognised the need for proactive maintenance. The current administration I believe does but they are in a difficult position in not having the funds to deal with this.

A legacy if you will of rates not having been high enough in years and decades past.

Our building stock is sick (not just the one Sturt occupies) and in need of repair. The current administration and the next Council (after the upcoming November elections) I believe will be faced with what to do about are aging stock.

Unley Oval and the Master Plan

The Master Plan for Unley Oval is progressing with elected members due to be briefed early next year on it’s progress.

The consultants charged with creating a master plan is in the process of speaking to key stakeholders, repeating what we have already done previously during our own engagement period. This we expect to be completed by the end of February in order to meet the April deadline for presentation to Council of a draft master plan.

Elected Members are due to be briefed on the process and to be consulted about their own views early next year (late January).

Despite disquiet from within our ranks that we should be consulted about our views prior to the noted key stakeholders, the process is moving well and the consultants simply gathering information so that they can better judge likely outcomes.

As representatives of the community it is our job to listen to the community (both clubs and residents) and then form our own view.

Looking forward to it…… And to repeating the dose over here in the west at Goodwood Oval and Millswood Park later in the year.

Community Asset Action Plan 2012 – 2015 Update

Community Consultation is well underway on the plan with a handful of people attending the two open meetings held at the Civic Centre this week.

Have only heard from two others, one of which I will be catching up with next week regarding how to develop the eastern side of Millswood Park.

Apart from that I can tell you that we have let a contract for the Master Planning of Unley Oval. Master Planning of Goodwood Oval and Millswood Park awaits budget allocation in (hopefully) next year’s budget.

Community Asset Review Goes Public

Community consultation has now commenced on the Draft Community Asset Action Plan 2012 – 2015, closing 2 November. Finally we are in a position to allow public to input into the futures of Goodwood Oval and Millswood Park in the west of the city and also Unley Oval.

So whatever the outside agendas that have been promoted and all the theories being thrown around can now take a back seat as our thoughts are now made public. I encourage you to read the information at the link below.

As you will see from the report we are looking at all of our facilities and notwithstanding that we have determined there is a need for master plans at the three facilities mentioned above. 

Your input is not only encouraged but, with the encouraging reaction to suggestions being put in the last three months at ALL THREE complexes, requested. We need and want your input, as is the way we do things in Unley.

 These are your facilities.
 You will note a public information session is planned for 24 October at the Civic Centre. This will be an opportunity to talk with the authors of the report and it is my intention to be there in person at both sessions.
There is also a list of frequently asked questions, and a short survey on the website that we can access.
In closing I note that the apparent threats by the Goodwood Junction project have been difficult to manage and got in the way of preparing the brief. Likewise the media representations of what is and is not being planned for Unley Oval.
Foot note:  We have called tenders for the Master Planning of Unley Oval so we will be raedy to hit the ground running on thast facility when the consultation is complete.




Sturt v Unley – It Just Does Not Go Away

Following on from my post on this blog site on the weekend (and many before that) regarding Unley Oval and Sturt FC I received an email with the following transcript from Sturt FC.

Dear Don, 

The Club wishes to clarify some comments made in the Sunday Mail yesterday. We have sought for some time the opportunity to play night football at Coopers Stadium (The Parade) and have been open and transparent on that point. The fact that the Adelaide Oval (where we used to play 2 night games  per year since 1998) is now out of the question means that this is an obvious alternative.

Night football is very popular at SANFL level and at the present time the club is unable to take advantage of this fact – to our financial detriment – and obviously we wish to do so. We are in negotiations to determine whether this will be possible in 2013. The club wishes to make it clear that we would still play our ‘day’ home games at Commander Centre (Unley) Oval on the other 8 or so occasions. To date, there have been no decisions made on this issue but we will keep you posted.

As someone who has been an active participant at looking at the future of Unley Oval I have become increasingly frustrated by some who are derailing our efforts to come up with an Unley Oval for all with the future in mind, whether intentionally or unintentionally by making it something  to do with Sturt.

I would not mind betting that they too are frustrated at all the innuendo they have to continually respond to instead of focusing on solving their financial issues.

Community Asset Review

While the media and others play with words and make all sorts of assertions about the Unley Oval and the future of the Sturt Football Club the next phase of the Community Assets Review is to be decided tomorrow night at the next full meeting of Council.

This phase is to call tenders from prospective consultants for master planning of the Oval precinct.

This will take I would have thought 3 or 4 weeks. We would then have to review the tenders received, select a preferred tenderer and then action the start of the process in the following month or so. It would be good to see the selected consultant be able to commence work by January next year.

There is clearly a lot of interest out there in the community so the sooner we get this underway the sooner we can start seeing suggestions for Council and the community to consider. The sooner we all can have something to get our teeth into and debate.

Until master planning is done there is no plan. Without a plan there is nothing that will happen to the precinct other than by way of add hoc projects conceived on the run to address issues that come up without notice.

Master Planning is about determining how the precinct should be developed in the next 20 years to serve the needs of our future community, including the sports clubs that have relevance to the needs of the community in the future and the recreation needs of this same community. I look forward therefore to seeing something with vision, something with the flexibility, something that will inspire the current generation to provide for the next generation and beyond.

A facility for the Unley community……vs …………. allowing our facilities to run down because we don’t know how or why we will be using them down the track.

So please ignore all the innuendo in the media and let us get under way in doing some serious planning. Once this is done we will have something to talk about and the media and you can get involved.

And as far as the recent article about it being about Sturt and we should not call tenders until we know Sturt’s financial position is all lunacy. If we should know their financial situation we should explore the financial situation of all clubs at all three locations we intend to do master planning for.

It is like planning a trip from Adelaide to Melbourne but not commencing the journey until we know all the traffic lights are green, Guess what – we will never leave home.

Goodwood Junction Update

Firstly a big thank you to all the people who have spoken with my co-councillor & I about this project. In spite of most who have spoken to us indicating they have yet to be consulted by DPTI you have heard about it, researched it and made valuable and pertinent observations about the logistics of the project.

On the other side of the coin Jennie and I have been working hard to ensure the State Government do not tread all over you as they prepare to start the project. It has taken much of our focus.

Some of you have made representation on the Development Application submitted to the Development Assessment Commission, and I would suggest DPTI would be surprised by how many of you have, particularly given they believe you are all pretty much in favour of the project. We have been copied into much of this.

A number of you have simply put your thoughts to us and trusted we would pass it on, on your behalf. Jennie has summarised the main concerns on her last blog post at

The other major concerns are

1   how the project will impact on the Brownhill Creek project and this is a separate issue not the responsibility of DPTI. it must be dealt with through the Brownhill Creek management team.

2   what is going to happen to the strip of land affected and as I have blogged previously this is a council responsibility. Certainly we are looking for DPTI to be responsible for the cost of rectification but the future use of this land is for Coucnil to decide, in consultation with you. And this is being addressed as part of our current Community Assets Review which I have blogged on frequently.

In the meantime I can tell you all that we will be meeting with our staff tomorrow for an update on what progress we have made in negotiating a responsible solution with DPTI. watch this space for further updates.

By the way; my earlier predictions were that this project could not possibly be ready to start in January. It appears now that it will and maybe because they (the Govt) have been pushing ahead by calling tenders before the designs were ready and I guess you may have thoughts on that.

Community Asset Review Update

As we move toward the next phase of the Community Assets Review we are being challenged with things that have the potential to de-rail all the good work done to date.

I recently posted that I expected the next phase of the review would occur in September. That phase is going out to public consultation on the draft initiatives that have emanated from the consultation earlier in the year from the principal stakeholders, the clubs and associations who use the facilities being reviewed. With side issues getting in the way it will now be October before we can give you a chance to comment.

We had to deal with a suggestion on Unley Oval to experiment with trial fencing around part of the Oval. This will not be happening.

We then had to deal with DPTI wanting to use the Forestville Hockey Ground as the main works depot for the Goodwood Junction Project. With lobbying from Jennie (my co-councillor) & I this will now not happen as it will be located in the Showgrounds.

We are currently dealing with a proposal for DPTI to use part of the Millswood Sporting Complex as a minor works depot for the same project.

The interference caused by these have been noted in previous posts.

A motion will be put to Council on Monday night to approve calling tenders for master planning for the Unley Oval precinct. If passed this will allow us to start with master planning as soon as the results of the public consultation have been received and collated.

Of course the financial status of the Sturt Football Club is a concern as we move forward but this should not stop us from calling tenders.

We should have a better understanding of their financial position and the results of the public consultation before being in a position to let the successful tender.

Calling of tenders for the other two precincts, Goodwood Oval and Millswood, are not anticipated yet.

What IS Sturt’s position on the Unley Oval Drama

Much has been said by many about what Sturt is trying to achieve at Unley Oval. To that end the script below is a draft (emailed to the members of UOAG) of what I believe their CEO Matt Benson will be mailing to their members.


His words to his people.


The Sturt Football Club has been, as it should be, working through options for the future of the Unley Oval precinct with the Unley Oval Advisory Group (UOAG). The club continues to have fruitful and transparent discussions through this forum regarding its use of the oval and its desires for the future of the facility. We are committed to openly sharing our thoughts with this group – and in fact it was the Sturt Football Club who proposed that a special meeting be conducted to allow the Advisory group to hear the individual club’s aspirations for the future clearly and honestly presented. We repeat – this was a Sturt Football Club suggestion supported unanimously by the UOAG, with the sole aim of fostering a better understanding of stakeholder wishes for the future. The club supported the fencing trial concept proposed by the UOAG. The club looks forward to contributing further to the discussions regarding a master  plan for Unley Oval – and has remarked consistently that it supports a combined stakeholder strategy that will see the development of a bold vision for Unley Oval so it will return to its rightful position as a premium sporting facility which will, uniquely, continue to be shared with the community. The following statement from the UOAG from its last(extraordinary) meeting is fully endorsed by the club..
“The UOAG endorses the initiative of Council in the Community Asset Review and the development of a Master Plan for Unley Oval and indicates a desire to participate in the process with the stakeholders working together to achieve a common vision.”
Thanks Matt
And I can guarantee the statement attributed to the UOAG is accurate. I moved it.

Letter to the Editor re Unley Oval Fencing

I have drafted a letter to the editor that I trust will be published in the Eastern Courier next week on the hot topic of Fences around Unley Oval.

There has been a lot of misinformation bandied around on this topic. I have tried to set the record straight when speaking on the topic in the “chamber” and on this blog site.

In an effort to direct everyones attention to the real issue before us (that being the development of a Master Plan for Unley Oval. A transcript of the letter to the editor follows:

“With Council having resoundingly voting against a trial fence at Unley Oval in favour of advancing a Master Plan for the area I trust and hope that the real needs of Unley Oval will be allowed to come forward and be considered. Hopefully everyone can now focus on what they want to see happen at Unley Oval, not on a one off project such as fencing. Big picture stuff in other words.

As a member of the Community Assets Review Committee I note that Council, also have approved our moving to stage II of the Community Consultation on the Community Asset Review can now commence. This means, having heard from the clubs in stage I what they see their needs as, the general community will be invited for input into where they see Unley Oval should in 10 or 20 years, as a precinct not just some fencing around the oval. This consultation will start soon.

The upcoming consultation, which will focus not only on Unley Oval, but Goodwood Oval and the adjacent Millswood Sporting Complex, will provide input to Council as Council moves into Master Planning for the three areas, hopefully early next year.

Please everyone stop arguing about fences, we have a much bigger picture to develop.”
Having said all that I look forward, as a member of the committee driving the community assets review, seeing what initiatves will be put on the table as we move forward towards developing a Master Plan.