Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand

Recent media headlines have identified that the Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.

Goodwood Oval Grandstand

I am pleased that both the Labor (Jayne Stinson) and the Liberal (Lachlan Clyne) candidates are focused on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand. For someone acutely aware of the state of the current grandstand facility this is heartwarming.

Some of the credit/blame for Jayne’s focus is probably due to me. I canvassed among other things redevelopment of the Goodwood Oval Grandstand when I first met her. This was a week or so after her candidature was announced earlier this year. I then followed up by introducing her to the Presidents of the resident football and cricket clubs. She has taken this prompting seriously, conducting her own survey.

Lachlan Clyne, as Mayor of Unley, is of course only too aware of the state of the Grandstand. He is also aware, up until recently, of what work Council has put into determining a way forward.

Trouble is the candidates have been so keen they have been replicating what council has already done.

They have both been conducting their own public surveys. Surveys designed to see how the locals feel about replacing the current grandstand with new club rooms. Surveys on one option only.

Millswood Croquet Club rooms

Council did this as the first stage of our master planning for the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Reserve some 4 years ago. This has allowed us to identify the priority projects and consider options. Something the candidates are not doing.

There have also been reports that they are publically asking Council how much we would be prepared to contribute to the redevelopment. Hang On Guys! This and Millswood is a Council owned facility.

As the Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand we ask the candidates how much their parties are prepared to contribute to this and the other three projects.

We will shortly, hopefully at the November Council meeting, have options available to consider. Options that have been costed for all three projects to come out of the Master Plan. That includes the Grandstand, the tennis lighting and the Croquet club rooms.

From memory we have committed around  $1.0 m in our long term financial plan. We await on how much the future State Government is prepared to contribute to our project.

 

The Good Wood on Goodwood Oval Grandstand

After laying dormant for close to 2 years the good wood on the Goodwood Oval Improvement Plan is it is now back on the drawing boards. Well the grandstand is.

Goodwood Oval Grandstand

Goodwood Oval Grandstand

Back in 2014 we developed an improvement plan for the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sporting Complex. The combined plan hit a snag however as we tried to resolve a conflict over use of green space at Millswood.

While we have been trying to resolve this the Football and Cricket Clubs at Goodwood Oval, along with the Goodwood Tennis Club, have been the forgotten players.

Both clubs have advised me that they require urgent works to resolve health and amenity concerns in the wet areas of the grandstand. This includes the shower facilities and their inappropriateness for females and the male club toilets (which have no ventilation). It includes the kitchen areas. They also are sadly lacking in storage space.

Mindful that supporting some works needs are urgent enough to be included in next year’s annual budget I have put a motion to Council. After considered and eloquent representations by both clubs in support of my motion it was unanimously supported I am proud to say by council.

My motion was:

That:

  1. Administration commences development of concept plans for improvements to the Goodwood Oval and the grandstand facility.
  2. The concept plans review include accommodating female participation for both cricket and football, for players and umpiring alike.
  3. The resulting concept drawing be developed in consultation with the Goodwood Cricket Club and the Goodwood Saints Football Club.
  4. Administration identifies funding sources as part of the second quarter budget review.
  5. The concept plans be presented to Council at the March 2017 Council meeting prior to any community engagement.

The motion aims to ensure we have an improvement plan that is up to date and accurately represents the needs of the future. We need to do this to ensure any early works we may contemplate complement and do not contradict the plan.

We need first to update the improvement plan to recognise the emerging female participation in both sports.

The good wood on Goodwood Oval is that subsequent approval of the updated plan provides us two opportunities:

  • To schedule some works considered urgent and important in next year’s budget.
  • To have a shovel ready project that could qualify for State Government grant funding. With the State Election looming in 2018 we have a great chance to lobby both major parties.

Update on Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree

This blog is an update for all who are interested in the Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree.

 

This updates my previous blogs from December last year and earlier this month.

Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig TreeThis morning I had further discussions with our Arborist and our Sustainable Landscape Specialist. We discussed both long term and short term actions. We need to not only protect the tree which has at least another 20 years life left in it but ensure reasonably the safety of the public (you and me).

Of immediate need is to provide better protection for the public. Our staff pre-empted a request by me to change the barrier to a mesh barrier rather than the single strand barrier currently in position. I have asked also that we sign post the area as an added dissuasion to public accessing the area beneath the crown of the tree. Expect this within the next week.

A long term solution could be as far away as at least August. We need to determine what risks remain with various options that may be considered. Restricting or maybe even preventing access under the Port Jackson is being debated as we speak.

It is likely, as I reported previously, that the benches and Bar B Que will need to be relocated elsewhere in the Oval precinct. Finding a suitable shaded spot may prove a challenge however so whatever we wind up proposing will probably need to have artificial  shade included. As Goodwood Oval is community land a public consultation will become part of the process.

This as always will be time consuming.

It is currently unfunded but I will be ensuring that we include a satisfactory budget during our current budget considerations for next year in readiness for a decision after consultation.

The Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree is a much loved tree and very much part of the amenity of the Oval precinct.

 

Mixed Message for our Moreton Bay Fig

Late last year I blogged on the limb failure of the Moreton Bay Fig tree (or should I say Port Jackson Fig) located in the north west quadrant of Goodwood Oval. This blog is the latest on what we have found about the trees health and its future.

 

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

I visited the site with Council’s arborist this morning and he confirms the original assessments as it being in good health. It’s health in fact is typical of the species and its age. He and the independent arborist that carried out specific tests on the tree I reported in my last blog both conclude that we do have some management issues going forward to protect this lovely tree.

The Port Jackson (as we should get used to calling it) is a significant tree. So much so it is included in Council’s Development Plan Significant Tree Register. This provides it some pretty basic protections.

The specialised inspection has revealed that while in good general health it has been compromised. Foliage colour, size and density are all normal and there are no signs of pests or disease within the crown.

The limb failure has been diagnosed as the result of fungal degeneration and there is more present. These failures have resulted in a large void and altered wind dynamic. The trees overall integrity is not compromised but it has been assessed as there being a moderate risk of further limb failure particularly before regrowth stabilises the tree long term. I have had the regrowth pointed out to me.

Thankfully the risk has not been diagnosed as high as this would probably see a recommendation for its removal. Having said that a medium risk is sufficient for us to take action to minimise risk to all those who use Goodwood Oval and in particular the kids who climb the tree.

Pruning options are limited so we are likely to consider repositioning the permanent seats and the bar b que to another area. This will challenge us as any repositioning of this facility will require shade. Our arborist and I discussed some options but we will need to give this some more thought before going out for your thoughts and opinions.

 

 

 

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Struggling

Late last week I was given news that our much loved Morton Bay Fig tree at Goodwood Oval had lost two limbs.

 

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

 

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Safety Exclusion Zone

I was also advised at the time that a preliminary assessment of the tree by Council’s arborist indicated that it remains in good health in spite of the limb failure. This tempered my initial concern when hearing what had happened.

 

As a safety measure Council did rope of the area as a safety exclusion zone to discourage people from accessing the area of the failure.

 

This tree is a much loved tree by those that live around or use Goodwood Oval. My family have enjoyed a number of picnics under its foliage. Concerned for the Fig and after a conversation with another passionate resident I called by yesterday to check it and this prompted me to ask for confirmation that the tree is in fact in good condition.

 

Decay in Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig

Decay in Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig

Our arborist today attended the site at Goodwood Oval again to assess the tree for the second time. Whilst his current findings are the same as initial observations on Friday, that the tree does not pose an immediate risk he is seeking to explore further to ensure his assessment is accurate.

 

He has organised a further specialist assessment of the tree’s structural integrity using decay detection equipment. This is a specialist exercise that will need to be carried out by a third party in the new year.

 

We will as a safety measure be extending the exclusion zone around the tree until such time as we have undertaken.

 

 

 

 

DAP Refuses Vodafone Phone Tower

DAP this evening refused unanimously the conversion of the south east Goodwood Oval light tower to a Phone Tower.

As expected the DAP meeting was well attended with a packed gallery. Of the 107 representors (all opposing the development) we received for this development application 25 were listed to speak on the night to their representations, 6 actually spoke and there was a recurring theme through the representations provided.

For those of you who have kept abreast of this project you would be well aware and probably agree with the theme of concerns presented. They included their impact on the visual amenity, health concerns , the impact on pedestrian movement and carparking and vegetation removal.

The applicant was of the opinion, as was our planning officer that these concerns were unfounded in that the visual impact would be felt only from within the boundary of the property, that the tower would be constructed in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines on radio frequency levels. Pedestrian movement, Car parking and vegetation clearance were seen as non issues.

The regularly recognised observation is that the tower is proposed to be located in a Historic Conservation Zone and is out of character with such a residential focused area.

Another issue raised by a few was that the tower would have a detrimental impact on their property value. As noted in the planning report this is not a planning issue and can not therefore be considered by the panel. If it were it could only be established by securing a professional property valuation.

The Panel, in debating the item, found that the development was seriously at variance to the Unley Development Plan in that it is a non complying development would impact significantly on the Historic Conservation Zone, that the tower has not been designed to minimise visual impact on the surrounding neighbourhood and that the application impacts significantly on a high visitation area.

As I see it I interpret this to mean they (the Panel) agreed with the representors that the tower should be located in a more compatible environment.

People power has won the day but only because regulation has supported their stance.

Vodafone Phone Tower at Goodwood Oval to be considered by DAP

After the cat 3 public consultation back in August and another just completed consultation undertaken on behalf not of our DAP but Council the Vodafone Phone Tower Development Application at Goodwood Oval will be considered by DAP this Thursday evening.

This is a specially convened meeting and is open to the public. I expect the public gallery will be full. It is a Development Assessment Panel meeting at which those members of the public who made representations way back in August and who indicated a desire in their representation to speak to the panel will be heard. This is in accordance with the Government’s Development Regulations.

Goodwood Oval South East Light Tower

Goodwood Oval South East Light Tower

Everyone is welcome to attend but only to speak if you did indicate your wish to speak when you made your written representation. I will be there as a member of the public and look forward to meeting with you should you choose to come.

The panel, which is made up of 4 independent members and 3 elected members, must make a decision based on the Development Act and on the Unley Development Plan. The members of this panel cannot be lobbied. If they were to partake in conversation with you they would have, under the Development Act, a conflict of interest and would then not be able to vote.

In making an assessment the panel members would have to consider as I see it the following:

1    Whether the development complies with the various Australian standards concerning Electro magnetic radiation.

2   If the final structure impacts negatively on the neighbouring properties and if so whether there is sufficient screening or not to obviate this.

3   Whether the development is suitable or not in the Historic Conservation Zone in which it is located, making it a non-complying development.

The Council’s officer has indicated that he believes they have complied with item 1 and that there is sufficient screening from a visual perspective. The panel may or may not agree with this. The fact remains of course that it IS NON COMPLYING DEVELOPMENT.

If it is not approved that will be the end of it.

If it is approved I believe the proposal must then come before Council which may well be as soon as our next meeting on November 23. The reason for this is they have applied to lease the tower or the portion of public land. That requires council approval on behalf of the community. Hence the recent public consultation that ended just last week.

Should it be heard at that or subsequent meeting, which will also be a public meeting, you can:

1   Make a delegation or prepare a petition for presentation at that meeting. A petition with a delegation by one or two proponents to the petition works best in my experience. I recommend that if you wish to do this you notify the Mayor or the CEO as soon as possible after “a” decision for approval is made by the DAP.

2   Lobby all your elected members/councillors. Their contact details are available freely on the Unley web site.

Once again I would expect the public gallery to be full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodwood Oval Phone Tower a litmus test for Council’s DAP

I will be watching with interest the upcoming decision by Council’s DAP on the Goodwood Oval Phone Tower proposed proposed by Vodafone. It may well prove a litmus test for the Government’s proposed changes to the Development Act.

 

A number of residents have been confused as to Council’s role in this process. In particular some are of the belief that our elected members should be standing up to whoever is proposing this and saying hands off. They say this on the understanding that there will be only one view without and before knowing if that is in fact the case.

Having said that, if I were a betting man, I would say that is the case.

The fact of the matter is there is a due process that must be followed under state legislation. Council must receive the application and cannot refuse to receive it. That said the Act does allow means for public participation in certain circumstances and the phone tower is one such circumstance.

Beyond that the process provides a mechanism by which the application should be judged. In some cases this is the responsibility of the paid officers of the planning department of council. In others, including this one, that responsibility is vested in the hands of a panel known as the development Assessment Panel or DAP.

It is their job to read and understand the application and the planning officer’s report and recommendation. They must also read and understand any representation made by the public on the matter. They have to determine if the observations made in any representation, whether supporting the application or rejecting the application, is valid under the terms of the development plan.

The State Minister for Planning (and Deputy Premier) John Rau has sited often that elected members sitting on Council DAPs are making politically expedient decisions on planning matters rather than assess the application on is merits against the development plan. This is one of the core reasons why he wants to see councils and in particular elected members removed from the planning assessment process.

Many people in the street, frustrated by perceived delays in getting their 2 storey addition passed through council would probably agree with the minister. The very same people are critical then of Mr Rau for having already taken the power away from councils on high rise developments.

Our DAPs handling of the Goodwood Oval phone tower may well prove a litmus test on the minister’s move to take Council out of the development process. How the individual members of the DAP vote will at least.

Will the elected members vote the same as the independent members? Will the elected members be split in their vote? Will the independents be split in their vote? Will the elected members vote one way and the independents vote the opposite way?

Hmmmmm!

Goodwood Oval Vodafone Phone Tower FAQ

The following is a Goodwood Oval Vodafone Phone Tower FAQ list resulting from conversations I have had.

 

I reproduce them now for everyone with an interest in this proposal in an attempt help you all understand the process and further your representation if you have lodged one. The answers are my answers and they are given as my understanding.

 

Is this a council or council inspired proposal?

No. The application is a 3rd party application from Vodafone. Council is not involved

 

Will Council benefit from the Phone Tower?

As the owner of the land on which the tower is proposed to be located it would receive a rental which I understand is calculated by the State Government.

 

How much is that rent?

I would have to confirm this but I believe it is something like $ 5,000 of maybe as high as $ 15,000.

 

Has Council therefore a vested interest in the tower being approved?

For the amounts mentioned above I would hardly think this would constitute a vested interest.

 

Will you be making the decision?

No! Council and its elected members including myself do not adjudicate and cannot adjudicate on development applications.

 

Who will approve or disallow the application?

Council’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) is empowered to make this decision. This is an independent panel which is constituted under the State Government’s Development Act.

 

If that is the case can Council represent against the proposal?

No. The DAP represents the Council and their decision is binding.

 

Who is on the DAP?

The Panel is made up of 4 independent members and 3 elected members.

 

Can I lobby members of the Panel?

No. Unlike normal Council business which is governed by the Local Government Act development applications are governed by the Development Act. This Act dictates that a member of the panel must

  • Declare a conflict of interest if they engage in conversation with any applicant or representor.
  • And then leave the meeting and not vote on the application.

 

Is it possible that similar proposals could be made by Telstra and Optus for the other phone towers?

I guess it is possible. From a development plan point of view it certainly can. Whether there are other constraints however I do not know.

 

Have I a right of appeal if the Panel approves the application?

As a category 3 application I believe so. Any such appeal will be heard by the ERD Court.

 

Does Vodafone have the same right of appeal if the Panel refuses the application?

The application is for non-complying development. As I understand it this disallows them from appealing.

 

Can I still put in a representation?

No! The time for submitting a representation has already passed.

 

Can I speak at the DAP meeting?

If you have indicated your intention on your written representation, Yes!

 

How long can I speak for?

5 minutes, plus answering any question that panel members may ask you after you have finished with your representation.

 

Is Health a consideration under the Development Plan?

My understanding of the development plan is no. DAP members will be instructed on whether this is a consideration to take into account. Given the conflicting expert opinion on the health impacts of phone towers this would be difficult.

 

Will Council be responsible if it can be proved later that these towers are cancer causing?

I honestly cannot answer that question as I am not a lawyer. I imagine not however if due process has been followed.

 

Why did I not receive a letter as others did?

In developments that are classified as category 2 applications letters are sent to the immediate neighbours and to every property on the other side of the road within 60 metres of the property being redeveloped.

Category 3 applications allow for a wider representation but the means of advising is by way of public notices in the paper.

If you fell outside the cat 2 area you would not have received a letter.

This is precisely why I posted a blog on my web site on 1 August and why I alerted the author of the Goodwood Oval website.

 

When will the DAP meet and will I be informed?

I asked this same question of our Manager of Planning a couple of weeks ago and it was expected the meeting would be held in October. The planning staff need time to collate all the representations and confer with the applicant over the representations received before preparing a report and recommendations to the panel.

I expect representors who have asked to speak will be advised of the meeting date. I will post a blog when I know the date of the meeting.

If you have an interest please keep in touch with my website and/or my Facebook page.

 

 

Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval attracts significant public reaction from locals.

The Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval has attracted significant public reaction from locals and the DAP meeting where it will be considered promises to be well attended and keenly observed.

 

119 Representations have been received by Council on the Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval. This exceeds by the proverbial mile the number of representations received on any other development application during my 4 years as a member of Council’s previous Development Assessment Panels (DAP).

The number of representors wishing to be heard at the DAP is so large that I understand that this application will be the only one addressed at the meeting when it is called.  The meeting I expect will be held sometime in October but I guess it is possible (given it will be the only item addressed on the night) that it may be sooner.

As soon as I am aware of the date, time and venue for the meeting I will advise you in this platform. Those who have made representation and have indicated their intention to speak will be advised by Council.

The DAP is charged with making the decision on behalf of Council. Council (as in the elected member body) do not get a vote on the proposal.

It is a panel constituted under the State Government’s Development Act and is responsible to adjudicate the application strictly against Council’s Development Plan. It consists of 4 independent members with experience in planning matters and 3 of our elected members including Jennie my co-councillor Jennie.

Panel members are not permitted to discuss the proposal with anyone failing which they would have to declare a conflict of interest under the Act and remove themselves from the Panel. This is why I indicated in my first blogpost on this topic back on August 1 that you should refrain from speaking to Jennie.

A number of questions have arisen in the last couple of days about the Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval and I will attempt in a separate blog post later tonight to answer as many as I can.