Kelvin Avenue RIP

Last night at Council Kelvin Avenue was given it’s last rights. The mood on the night, indeed before the night, was such it was obvious it was going down (for the count) in spite of an 11 to 1 vote in favour of a road closure only two weeks ago.

I think I could write a book on this one as an introduction to council for this elected member.

The decision was unanimous and yes that means I helped to vote it down in spite of maintaining up until now a stance in favour of the silent majority of residents in favour of a treatment of one kind or another. In voting against it I spoke in the chamber and below is a copy of the text I used.


To Be or not to be is the question.
As I speak to this motion I find myself in an absolute quandary, wondering why we are yet again debating the now infamous Kelvin Avenue, the street that bears its name on my residential address.
Kelvin Avenue must go down as the issue of this term of Council. Born in a previous term it has become the issue that has proved to by the Achilles Heel of this term.
It seems that no matter how many times we survey the community and get a majority in favour of doing something and no matter how many times it gets the nod from those in this chamber, it seems it simply can’t get past go.
We have had numerous debates about the Kelvin Avenue Pocket Park, Road Closure, Driveway Link, Landscape Treatment. We have discussed ETSA easement issues, road safety issues, and cost amongst other things. We have argued whether or not it fits the policy (determined by our predecessors) on Greening the City of Unley.
Stumbling our way through survey after survey we found a majority of residents in favour of the original concept, a majority of residents in favour of the compromise solution put forward to appease those against the original and yet here we still are. There were of course many who were critical that the surveys were not wide enough, and yet no matter how wide we increased the survey area the result remained similar. Just as an aside we had last week yet another survey but this time not by council and the residents of Kelvin Avenue were not included in the survey.
Never having had an opinion of my own and vowing to all my residents and rate payers that I would vote as they ask me to I find it unbelievable that I am being asked to vote yet again in a climate where the majority (being in favour) are not voicing their wishes as passionately as the monitory (being against the project).
I find myself conflicted between two paradigms and I believe that this conflict and not easement, safety, cost issues etc are what we are debating tonight.
The First Paradigm is:
There are fights you can win and fights you can’t win. It is important to know which fights you can or can’t win and to avoid going to battle on the ones you can’t. And in spite of it winning every quarter it seems that until it is voted down it will continue to be fought.
The Second Paradigm is:
The squeaky wheel gets the oil. In other words those speaking the loudest and who are the minority of those surveyed are those still presenting to Council and those who are the majority are happy to speak only when asked to.
So in other words if the minority keeps protesting they will get their way because their passion and their persistence simply becomes a fight that cannot be won.
The irony is that a vote in the affirmative, as I understand it, on the motion before us will only produce (you guessed it) yet another survey because DPTI needs to be assured that the residents are in favour. Of course the area they survey will be different again to that conducted by us and whoever conducted last weeks.
So with apologies to the majority of residents who I promised I would support I find myself seeing no point in keeping that promise because it is a battle that cannot (in the longer term) be won.

Kelvin Avenue-Back to the Future

In a complete surprise to me the City Strategy & Policy Committee last night voted to approve the original concept for Kelvin Avenue.

As most of you would know this project pre-dates my time on Council, having been conceived by my Goodwood South predecessor Les Birch. It started way back then under the title of “pocket park” as a road closure, and was approved by a majority of respondents to a community survey at that time.

The project lapsed and came back to council not long after I started with council. It again received community support but there were a number of residents strongly opposed to it.

A compromise was sought and what has been termed a driveway link was put to residents. This too gained majority support, but again with a number strongly opposed. I do note that a number for and against this option expressed a preference for the original.

At the time it was my feeling that Council would back the original motion but the alternate was accepted for inclusion into this years budget.

Last night it came back to City Strategy and I honestly thought they (elected members) would stay with their last view on the project. Again I was wrong.

Jennie & I put the motion for the option we felt had majority support and it got voted down. Cr Peter Hughes then put a motion for the original concept design and this was overwhelmingly supported.

Well —— I never was a betting man.


Apologies to anyone out there who I shared my prediction with.

It does have to be rubber stamped at council but I refuse to put my money down~!

Kelvin Avenue Comes Back

After the current version of this project was approved for inclusion into the current years budget. We now must vote on the final design detail.

Two choices; the current “driveway” link or the original “road closure”.

Both projects received majority approval at their respective time of public consultation. Now it is up to the elected members to choose.

The recommendation being put to elected members is for the driveway link.

Watch this space for the result.

Press Close but not quite on the money

The Kelvin Avenue debate made the press again in this week’s Eastern Courier.

The Eastern Courier reported on last Monday night’s Council meeting and were correct in what they said about my moving the motion to allow this project to be considered in the budget for 2012/13. They were right in reporting that I said if this project did not get approval the funds would be allocated to another project.

Where they missed the boat was:-

Ø  I moved the motion on behalf of the majority of residents, who supported the project. This was in keeping with a promise I made to residents 12 months ago.
Ø  I also wanted to make it clear to respondents, who felt funds would be better directed to footpaths and road maintenance, that a no vote to this project would not redirect funds to footpaths and roads, but to another similar project; noting that it may also likely be in another ward meaning the Goodwood South ward misses out.

This observation was one also that I wanted elected members to appreciate.

Here is a group of residents (a massive 42% of those against the project) who largely disagreed with the project because funds could be better spent on footpaths and road maintenance. If elected members were to vote no on behalf of these they needed to appreciate that pockets parks are not were residents want their rates spent.

Unless therefore I am off the mark a no vote would have meant that we should redirect funds to those core activities. My point is these resident’s concerns would not have been met if we voted no and then went looking for another similar project.

Why? Those 42% are telling us no pocket parks, or whatever they are; footpath and road maintenance please.

A point missed by the Eastern Courier; I hope not missed on my fellow elected members.

Kelvin proves the power of transparent consultation

Amid many claims in the short time I have been on council that many of council’s efforts at consulting its residents and rate payers Kelvin Avenue has stood up as a beacon for the process.

The Kelvin Avenue project started life as a pocket park requiring a road closure.
From the very beginning this project, conceived by the previous council and in particular (as I understand it) my predecessor Les Birch, has had majority support from the residents of the area. Notwithstanding this and with my encouragement the project has evolved due to Council recognising concerns expressed by significant numbers of residents.
In other words, as a direct result of public consultation, this project meta-morphed into a Driveway link, a landscaped road.
After debate that lasted an hour and a half Kelvin Avenue (in its current form) got the green light to be considered in next year’s budget considerations. So it has finally been passed …but… has to now pass the test of being part of next year’s budget. Why?
As someone new to the system I am intrigued by this but the project has changed significantly and it is probably fair that it be considered for next year’s budget, rather than try and squeeze it into this year.
During the budgetary process concerns shared by residents and councillors alike regarding the cost of this version can and will be addressed. The boardwalk is one area for consideration. We will have to satisfy ourselves that this actually represents value for money because it is a significant contributor to the cost.
So I say well done to Council and to our staff who have worked tirelessly to produce a project which our community contributed significantly to.

Kelvin Avenue Update

The Driveway link which is the current proposal that recently was the subject of community consultation is now due to come before Council at the January meeting. There was not enough time for our administration to review the responces and prepare a report.  
I am aware we recived a significant number of responses and this obviously takes time to eveluate. It is my intention to conduct my own analysis of the survey results prior to the meeting.

Watch this space for more information.

Kelvin Avenue Update

Submissions from rate payers and residents on the current scheme for Kelvin Avenue were due by today.

These responses will be tabulated by our administration and a report prepared for council to consider, I trust, in December.

Jennie & I will view each response prior to this so that we can identify, not only the mood of our rate payers, but also to identify issues raised that require more consideration before it is decided on.

I thank everyone who has taken the time to put in a submission. Your contribution is invaluable.

Kelvin Avenue Update

The consultation letter, complete with a drawing of the current scheme is being delivered mailed out today. I expect this means you will, if deemed to be affected by the project, will receive it tomorrow.

This scheme is very different to that previously proposed.

The new design will see a narrowing of the roadway with the remaining area not required for vehicle and pedestrian access to be landscaped. It is very much a shared roadway concept rather than a pocket park.
The design is aimed at reducing the hard surface of the road reserve and incorporating a proportion of green, soft area for planting and creating vegetation biodiversity.
All residents who receive this letter are encouraged to respond to the survey so we can know your views. Jennie and I will both be available to channel your views as well.

Kelvin Avenue Update

Advice from our administration suggests that the compromise solution for Kelvin Avenue is likely to go out to consultation with those affected by the project in around two weeks.

You will know if you are considered as affected by our administration if you have previously been consulted on the first draft.

Remember Jennie and I are keen to know your thoughts on the attempt by us to address what we believe to be the legitimate concerns previously expressed.

For anyone reading my blogs for the first time and with an interest in Kelvin Avenue, I have around a dozen previous blogs on the subject. Feel free to go back and read them so you can see my understanding of how this project has unfolded.