Providing Local Leadership: Waste Not Want Not in a Throw Away Society

Do you remember when your Grandma used to say “Ducky, waste not want not”. Those who lived through the great depression learnt that great lesson to waste not want not.

 

Waste Not Want Not

Waste Not Want Not

We live today in an affluent society. A throwaway society and have had for 40 or more years. Before that time, during the war years and the great depression that separated them, we salvaged all we could as part of that waste not want not paradigm.

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Remember too the Dustin Hoffman movie “The Graduate” when the student Benjamin Braddock was mentored by the wise old man Mr. McGuire that “plastics are the future”. How accurate was that prediction that plastics would be the future.

With plastics has come a waste challenge however unlike anything that anyone would have imagined.

This is one of the biggest challenges facing modern communities. We all know the gravity of the problem. We all need to be part of the solution.

The lead in addressing waste must come from the State Government. Our current State Government will hopefully expand on the successes of past state governments, going back to the days of putting a deposit on drink containers.

Councils can provide local leadership.

They can lobby the State Government, particularly with the China ban on taking our yellow bin waste.

Councils can lead by example by reducing what we contribute to the proliferation of plastic waste. We can, as we have just decided, not provide plastics straws at events we run. Likewise we can investigate providing filtered water in all our facilities in lieu of bottled water, and other like strategies.

The Community can play a part too.

You can have a waste not want not paradigm by be being more discerning with how you dispose of your rubbish, on what goods you buy that may be a single use product. You can also participate in determining issues that your local leadership can pursue.

The other way you can help is by electing candidates that can provide the local leadership for the City of Unley to be, in turn, a leader in the local government industry when it comes to waste disposal.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Develop a Tree Policy that Works For All

The City of Unley needs a Tree Policy that works for all. One that balances all the needs of our Community. To achieve this I make this election pledge: to develop a tree policy that works for all.

I pledge to fight for an improved tree policy, one that recognises all needs. A tree policy that works for all.

 

Tree Policy that works for allWith a loss of 23% of tree canopy in recent times there has been a cry from many in our community to introduce measures that protect against further loss. Equally there have been many in our community incensed with trees they view as dangerous which are not removed.

We must find a balance between the two. To have a tree policy that works for all, we must address all of the following (not just one): A policy that:

  1. Retains and/or improves the tree canopy cover in the City of Unley
  2. Provides shade in our streets
  3. That does not inhibit accessibility for all
  4. Avoids danger to Life and property

Canopy Cover

Two major contributors to the loss of canopy cover are the loss of trees on private property, through redevelopment. This is through the conversion of single houses into 2, 3 or even 4 in its place. It comes also from home improvements.

We need to find ways to ensure we have a responsible tree cover notwithstanding our communities desires for accommodation.

Shade

Shade is essential as our citizens walk or cycle in our public spaces. We can do this. My own observations within the Clarence Park Ward is we still have room for more street and park plantings. I will advocate for this.

Accessibility

At the same time we need to be conscious that we all need to be able to move around our streets. That is able people, mothers and kids (including in prams), aged persons and those of us with disabilities.

We need therefore to be discerning about where we plant trees.

Danger to Life and Property

As much as we have a need to encourage increased tree cover we need to look at ensuring the safety of our community. Safety of both person and property.

✓ We need a tree policy that recognises trip and slipping hazards on our footpaths.

✓ We need a tree policy that recognises the dangers a tree may present with dropping limbs/branches onto houses, onto people (kids in particular).

We need to recognise the nuisance value of trees that may contribute to leaking in houses due to gutter blockages etc.

In summary

Only by addressing all these competing interests can we expect to develop a tree policy that works for all.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Ensuring Financial Responsibility.

Ensuring financial responsibility is one of the major obligations of an elected member of Council. Without financial responsibility there is no limit to what a Council could charge its ratepayers for the services they provide.

 

Ensuring Financial ResponsibilityCouncils have an obligation to provide services to their community. Many of these are mandated by the Local Government Act. Many are the result of Council responding to community needs over time.

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They have however a responsibility too, to keep expenditure on these services to a level our community can afford.

Whatever the impetus behind the provision of a service they do come at a cost. Every time Councillors make a decision at a Council meeting it invariably means the commitment of dollars ($). Quite frequently it also means adding to the long-term cost of running the Council.

Initiatives like changing footpaths from bitumen paved to paved with concrete pavers not only come at a one time cost. They also add to the long term budget. Such an exercise adds to the budget for (in this case) in excess of 20 years just to make it happen.

It adds permanently to the maintenance budget as well. Maintaining concrete/brick pavers come at a cost well in excess of bitumen. Why?

Pavers last longer than bitumen. They are not flexible however and easily create trip hazards we would not see with bitumen. A decision by Council decades ago has impacted on all of us. The cost to you and I of this decision is significant.

The current council has been very conscious of this impact.

We have been very discerning about the decisions we make as a result. Those members who continue (I hope I am one) will take this same responsibility going forward.

We have in my opinion kept rate rises to an absolute minimum. As I have blogged before, we have been imposing a rate cap on ourselves for the last 6 years or so. We have delayed therefore projects and not included initiatives requested by our community because of it.

It is my intention to continue providing local leadership by ensuring financial responsibility with my contribution in all the decisions we make.

That said, we also do not need any external oversight, other than from you.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Protecting Heritage and character areas

Protecting heritage and character areas is something the City of Unley has fought hard for. This was our first goal in working with the Government when they first started revising the Development Act.

 

Renewing Our Heritage Planning

Protecting heritage and character areas was our first focus when the previous State Government introduced their wish to change the planning system. In return we guaranteed we could provide the numbers of additional housing to meet their 30 year plan.

Afterwards, the then Minister challenged the concept of character housing. The current Government appears to have a similar view to him.

They appear to have a view that demolition of local heritage buildings be by a simple merit based consideration. Considerations not much different to standard housing. Their focus right now is not only on local heritage but on character housing zones.

It appears the Government is looking to water down the provisions of protecting local heritage and character zones. They are looking to make demolition easier. They see the answer being the use of generic rules. Rules that in my opinion may work in one area but not reasonably in another, such as Unley.

 

The current Council has continued to lobby for protections seen as important by Unley’s community. The new Council will need to continue the fight.

The new council will need briefing as soon as is practicable. Immediately after they are commissioned in order that we can continue the fight is preferable. This whole planning overhaul is moving in a way that limits our ability to respond on behalf of our community.

The new council, in this background, needs to be provided an opportunity to understand the history, the process and the schedule going forward so as to contribute appropriately. Accordingly, I have already prompted our Management to engage the new Council immediately they are commissioned.

With the aim of protecting heritage and character areas, if re-elected, I will  continue in providing local leadership to guide the new Council through the lobbying yet to do.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Working For You, advocating for and representing you.

One of the greatest pleasures I experience as a Councillor is when I am working for you directly. When I am advocating for and representing you with the bureaucracy.

 

A councillor has two roles. One of these according the Local Government Act is.

as a person elected to the 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.

Advocating for & representing youSo, when I am not in the chamber participating in the deliberations of Council, I am working for you to address concerns you may have with council. I am helping you to navigate through the bureaucracy. Advocating for and representing you.

I love this part of the job. As much as I enjoy the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf, helping you is the most rewarding.

The bureaucracy can be an intimidating, sometimes remote beast that can be challenging at the best of times. My experience on Council, indeed my relationships with the staff, allow me to mentor and guide you when it seems like we don’t care.

Sometimes my assistance will simply be guiding you in how to communicate to Council and its staff. Often it will be to represent you and advocate for you.

Many of you have asked for my assistance in communicating with Council. Working for you and with you has resulted in numerous successes. While not successful on all occasions, I am proud that I have won many a concession for and on your behalf.

That said, as many of you know I have a passion for improving the communication between you and council. I will be blogging shortly on my mission to ensure training of our staff in communication skills.

If I achieve this you should not need my intervention as much. Gee. I might do myself out of a job. Until then and beyond I will continue to be advocating for and representing you.

 

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

 

 

Providing Local Leadership: Managing Higher Density Development.

Managing higher density development in Clarence Park Ward commenced a few years back in the City of Unley .

 

Managing Higher DensityIn particular the suburb of Black Forest was under threat of a development plan encouraging extreme high density development potential. Another suburb similarly exposed was Clarence Park.

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Providing Leadership most often is not determining for others what is best for them. It is providing them with the chance to make that judgement themselves. Beyond that, it is ensuring they take the opportunity to represent themselves.

This is what I did, along with my co-councillor Jennie Boisvert, when DPA2 was out for public consultation.

On the development front, the new and current government is proceeding in the same direction as its predecessor. In so doing we will see the evolution in the next period of time of the SA Planning Library.

As the Government works on the SA Planning Library, Black Forest and Clarence Park will again come under the microscope. The Planning Library is all about having generic rules that apply across all  of suburbia.

Unless we work together (you & I) at the appropriate time local nuances will potentially be ignored. By providing local leadership I will help fight for a sensible planning solution.

As in the past when first challenged with higher density, I will again work for you and work with you. And with the Government to seek the best solution that works for all.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Independent Elected Members not Party Political affiliates.

Speculation is high that party politics have entered into the City of Adelaide elections. As a result, it is time to reflect on what has been great about local government in South Australia.

That is that our councils are filled with independent elected members not party political affiliates. Certainly, this is the way it should be in Local Government.

Indpendent CandidateLet me start with stating that I do not have and never have had any party political affiliations.

In my 8 years on Council there has also been no evidence of party politics in the Unley chamber.

So, the members in that time did not have any party political affiliation. Certainly, if they did, it was never apparent to me.

Elected members, having said, have put their hand up for State Parliament. These members have by so doing indicated a leaning one way or another politically.

The former Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, did recently run for state parliament of the Liberal Party. His affiliation however never impacted, in my opinion, in the chamber. As Mayor, his role was limited to chairing the meetings. From memory he only ever had a vote on a handful of occasions, to break a deadlock.

We read this week that the Greens have deplored the City of Adelaide Lord Mayor allegedly endorsing Liberal affiliated candidates in their election.  So, they are apparently endorsing members of their party as candidates.

Do you want your local government representatives being truly independent? What about keeping party politics out of the Council Chamber? Do you want independent elected members, not party political affiliates?

If you do, I encourage you to seek a commitment from the candidates in your ward that they are independent.

PS  Vote 1 Don Palmer for a truly independent candidate.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Future use of the Hockey Field.

What will be the future use of the hockey field at Goodwood Oval?

 

Future Use of Hockey FieldA study into the future use of the hockey field at Goodwood Oval will commence soon. Providing local leadership, Co-Councillor Jennie & I pushed to have this included in the current budget of Council.

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The Forestville Hockey Club will soon, as we all know, be moving to the Women’s Memorial Playing Fields. The move however is well into the future, as much as 3 or more years away. Rather than wait however, it is important that we consider the future use of this area now.

There are many possible solutions. There is bound to be many a competing interest in the strip of dirt located in the south east corner of the Goodwood Oval precinct.

We need time to work through options that will surface. Providing local leadership and working with and for you will see the best solution become apparent over time. Knowing the needs and aspirations of those who may stake a claim will prove a valuable asset to whomever will be providing local leadership during this exercise.

As a frequent user/visitor of Goodwood Oval I know what its limitations are. I also know the opportunities. Already having a relationship with all the possible interest groups as we consider the future use of the hockey field places me well to work with you and for you to enable the best solution to reveal itself.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Managing the use of Goodwood Oval

Managing the use of Goodwood Oval is the elephant in the room as we redevelop the grandstand and consider the use of the Hockey Field.

Indeed, it may be fairer to say managing the overuse of Goodwood Oval.

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Everyone should know how proud I am of the various sporting clubs residing in the west of the City of Unley. This small geographical area boasts some very successful clubs. Leaders in their competitions. The Goodwood Saints Football Club and the Goodwood Roos Cricket Club feature prominently.

Both are community clubs. Both have extensive junior programs. This may be the testimony to their undoubted success. Their programs, particularly their junior programs, fit beautifully into the Active Unley program of Council.

Trouble is they are doing so well that the facility known as Goodwood Oval is suffering from overuse. There is a need therefore for to be better managing the use of Goodwood Oval.

The community and the Council need to encourage the clubs to continue to provide what they are offering. We need however to find ways to help them do this and to allow the rest of the community access to this marvellous facility.

In managing the use of Goodwood Oval, we have two directions I will be promoting.

Council has, under my guiding, endorsed the first of these. That is to investigate redeveloping Ridge Park up at Myrtle Bank for junior sport. This will commence soon.

The second I have started prompting on. That is to explore resurfacing the whole of the Oval. If this is an option, if this potentially creates an oval that can handle the traffic, it needs to be explored.

Now is the time to do this too. With the Grandstand soon to be demolished and a new one built there can be no better time to explore our options here.

At the very least we need to examine the reconstruction of the centre pitch area.

By providing local leadership I am intent on advocating on behalf of the whole Clarence Park ward community for this to occur. Sporting Clubs and residents alike.

Providing Local Leadership: Redevelop the Millswood Croquet Clubroom.

On public record with my description a few years back of it being a “death trap” it is time to redevelop the Millswood Croquet Clubroom.

 

Millswood Croquet Clubroom RedevelopmentTo redevelop the Millswood Croquet Clubroom is something Council owes the Millswood Croquet Club. We recently re-directed money we had allocated to their clubroom in our long term financial plan to the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.

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With money on the table courtesy of Jayne Stinson during the recent State Government election for the grandstand we had no choice. The grant funding was subject to us lifting our own contribution.

 

Due to this, the Croquet Club has been placed on the back foot. Not sure of their future and using this “death trap” the club deserves to have Council back on their side.

The Club has a long and steep history. They are approaching their 100th year. In addition, they have spent their own money in re-configuring their lawns. They financed, with assistance from Council, the recent upgrade of their lights.

Like all our sporting clubs, the Millswood Croquet Club provide opportunities for our community to live active lives. They can do it far better and at much less cost than we do.

We provide the facility that allows our community to be active. Because they are better equipped than us, we contract them to provide the opportunity.

Consequently to redevelop the Millswood Croquet Clubroom is a project we owe them.

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