Is there a problem with Local Government Code of Conduct?

Members of this Council have publicly questioned in recent times the application of the Local Government Code of Conduct. They are asking, is there a problem with Local Government Code of Conduct.

the cornerstone of public behaviour

This may well be because three of us in the last 12 months have been the subject of accusations under the Code. Is there a problem with Local Government Code of Conduct?

It is not my intention to comment on any of these accusations. Two have been dealt with already. The minutes of the meetings at which they were dealt with can be accessed from our website. The third will be considered at our next Council meeting.

Three in a year. Gee that sounds like a lot. No, it is not. It is three in this term of Council, an average of one per year. Honestly, we at Unley can be proud that our Council, has had only three.

So, Is there a problem with Local Government Code of Conduct?

There are two sides of the coin as I see it.

One side is that many, no most, of the accusations are trivial in nature. The recommendation by the relevant tribunal dealing with these complaints is consistent. That recommendation is the Council seek a public apology from the accused member.

The other side of the coin is that members do need to realise that the public require a higher standard of behaviour than they do of themselves. Like prominent sports stars and celebrities, we must accept their bent to hold us to a higher standard. By and large I believe we do a good job in the main. There are but a handful of members who transgress at a serious level.

That is just part of being an elected member. I ask my colleagues (and myself) to remember this with all our dealings.

I do believe the system needs an overhaul however but that is the subject of a future blog.

Council will consider all the options for the new Goodwood Oval Grandstand

With the recently reported $2.5 m grant already secured Council will consider all the options for development of the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.

Council will consider all the options.

Three options will be considered. They are:

  1. To refurbish the Grandstand; an option originally focused on. It included providing a mezzanine level viewing area/club room.
  2. To provide a new single storey replacement club room. (considered due to structural concerns with option 1)
  3. To provide a new double storey replacement club room. (likewise, being considered for the same reason).

Goodwood Oval Grandstand

Earlier this year Council received interim engineering advice on the first option. Engineers were concerned  about the structural capacity of the existing structure to accommodate the changes we had considered.

The advice was verbal and was not a “considered” engineering opinion.

There is a question therefore on the cost of this option. The chances for cost blowouts on this option are high and they could be significant. I believe it would cost council another $ 20,000.00 to determine what extra engineering would add to the project cost.

This prompted us to consider replacing the old structure with a new building.

In light of this observation the clubs reconsidered their approach. They felt a new structure would potentially better accommodate their needs.

Enter the State Government’s $ 2.5 m grant. This is based on a new grandstand and more appropriately, a 2-storey grandstand.

This coming Monday Council will consider the options. We will consider which option we may seek community input on.

The single storey version will extend the current foot print.  It is single storey however and is the option that provides the smallest investment.

The double storey option will present a slightly larger footprint than the existing. It will be slightly smaller in height than the existing grandstand. Of all the options it provides the best weatherproof viewing for spectators.

And, of course, accepting the Government’s grant will also be on the agenda.

A Third Player Has Emerged in the Fight for Badcoe

A third Player has emerged in the fight for Badcoe. A week ago now, Cr John Woodward announced his intention to stand.

A Councillor for the City of West Torrens Keswick Ward, John announced his intention to run via Facebook and Twitter a week ago.

His candidature should add some spice to the campaign. He will be running as an independent against the endorsed candidates for the two major parties. As you will know from two of my previous posts in the Fight for Badcoe they are as follows. Jayne Stinson for Labor and City of Unley’s own Mayor Lachlan Clyne for the Liberals.

John adds another dimension to a seat I have previously identified as a possible litmus test for the formation of the next Government.

Like the two other candidates he will come as no stranger  to a portion of the Badcoe electorate. That said I am unaware of ever having met him. Having had a number of conversations with both Lachlan and Jayne I will make a point of catching up John.

 What I have ascertained about John comes from his Facebook Page and Website. He is seeking a more collaborative approach to solving problems, NOT the adversarial, bickering, nasty personal attacks that we see from our two major parties.

For more information about John check out John’s election website.

There is yet no announcement from the Greens or from NXT regarding endorsing any candidate. With John’s announcement the other two candidates are out and about.

Lachlan has been pounding the streets in those sections of the Seat of Badcoe where is is not as well know. Jayne, on the other hand is holding two community meetings in little ol’ Clarence Park tomorrow morning.

They will be as follows:

9 am thru’ 9.45 at Dora Guild Playground

10 am thru’ 10.45 at Page Park.

 

Merry Christmas

I wish all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous new year.

It has been a pleasure to serve you during the past year and I look forward to working with you again next year. In the meantime I look forward to spending time with my family.

May you all also enjoy the festive season and time with family.

A Short Divorce as all of Unley still covered by Eastern Courier.

Not often I write 2 blog posts in one day on the same subject. Today demands it after a swift response to my sharing my earlier blog today with my Facebook page. A Short Divorce as all of Unley still covered by Eastern Courier it appears.

 

The advice received from City West Messenger is that all of Unley will still be covered by the Eastern Courier. This is truly great news for those of us in the western suburbs of the City of Unley. Those who still identify with being an Unley resident can view this as a short divorce.

I thank City West for this information. Thank them also for directing me to a website link wherein you can check which paper your suburb will be served by. All the suburbs affected reveal the Eastern Courier as our paper. You can check yourself if you are interested at http://www.newsaustralia-sa.com.au/yourmessenger/

This weeks edition of the Courier was clear and reads “The CoastCity Weekly, replacing the Guardian Messenger, will cater to Adelaide’s southwest suburbs, covering from Glenelg to Goodwood Road”. Given the advice received it appears the Messenger are prone to wordsmithing errors we at Council are often accused of.

We will all know in a few days, one way or the other!

 

 

 

 

 

Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree Update

Staff and I met today on site at Goodwood Oval as part of an exercise to resolve where to from here for the Fig Tree.

 

Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree

First up I can confirm that the tree will remain. It has had it’s necessary trimming and now we need to ensure now that we are definitely keeping the tree we have done what we can do to keep the area underneath safe.

A Hazard Management Assessment has revealed that we must do what we can to dissuade people from congregating under the area. In other words we will be looking to simply restrict thoroughfare and the congregation of people under the tree, not prevent access.

What is likely to happen as a first step in the process is to replace the temporary hoarding with a permanent single rail fence. This fence will not follow geometrical lines and will provide access points that will allow people to fetch lost balls etc. Permanent symbolic signage (designed around young children being able to read the message) will be strategically located to prohibit climbing of the tree.

The next step will be to reposition the barbecue and the seating to an area outside the drip line of the tree. We are looking at the area to the north of the tree but need to do some research as to where power is (to feed the barbecue) and sprinkler points to determine the location of the barbecue.

Apparently GAP water which is used here is not allowed near barbecues.

The seats will be positioned under shade with ready access to the barbecue. The area both inside and outside the drip line is earmarked for some landscaping with with planting that is suitable for watering with GAP water.

As part of another project we have for the Oval surrounds we will be planting 12 new trees. Two of these will be Figs, I presume Port Jackson but maybe Moreton Bay. With these trees taking some 20-30 years to mature we are of the belief that planting two more now will provide an opportunity for one to replace this one, in time, as a grandfather tree for the Oval.

St Augustine’s Future looks Secure

As many people in our local community are well aware St Augustine’s Anglican Church in Unley has been at the crossroads without a Priest in charge. This has been the case now for close to 2 years.

The good news today is St Augustine’s future looks secure with the appointment of a new priest.

 

10250048_916100205120849_1505682620921198388_nFinding a new Priest can be a lengthy process for a Church Parish. The process is a long drawn out process. During the search for a new Priest a Parish will have a Locum in Tenens look after them. Sometimes, depending on the time taken to find a priest in charge, they could have one or more Locum Tenens.

The Parish of St Augustine’s has unfortunately endured this twice now since 2003. On this occasion they have had 4 Locum Tenens.

Adding to their woes, the Parish, which has pioneered multi cultural ministry back in (from memory) 2009, has also experienced the loss of their Chinese Minister only a month ago now due to ill health.

 Archbishop Driver on Sunday 12th June announced  to the Parish that the Rev. Mee Ping Lau had accepted his invitation to become the new Parish Priest for both the English and Mandarin congregations of St. Augustine’s Unley.

Rev Lau is a senior priest who was ordained in 1993 in Singapore and has served in two parishes in Sydney Diocese since 1998.  He has been Rector of St. Paul’s Kogarah in Sydney since 2004 where he has ministered to both English and Mandarin congregations.  He is married to Persis Koo.  They have a married daughter (Priscilla) and a son  (Aaron) who is planning to be married in July 2017.

It is anticipated that Mee Ping will be commissioned in early 2017 and he will be appointed as Archdeacon for Culturally Diverse (Chinese) congregations.

I hear a rumour too that Persis Koo may play an important multi-cultural role in the local government industry in South Australia.

Let us pray for the Parish of St Augustine’s, and for Mee Pig Lau and Persis Koo.

Rate Capping Stays on the Agenda.

Their rate capping motion soundly beaten in the Parliament this week the Libs have declared they will make rate capping an election issue come March 2018. In other words Down but not Out.

Rate Capping

 

 

Are you burdened by taxes and looking for relief? If so I ask you where you think the relief should come from. Council Rates are an obvious target because they are an in your face tax. It is an annual bill you see and act on.

But is it truly the way to achieve tax relief?

This is the 1st in my efforts to address these questions.

Do you realise that taxes raised by local government accounts for only 3% of taxes raised in Australia. Surely if you want to lighten the tax burden would you not look at the larger taxes. A 10% saving in other words in council rates across the country amounts to a saving of but 0.3% of the countries tax take.

The Libs of course are maintaining that your rates should come under the same scrutiny as the State Parliament. I ask them is this a desirable replacement for the current system wherein YOU DO get a chance to have a say, and twice. Is it more appropriate that a body such as ESCOSA who have overseen extreme increases in water rates and power over the last 10 years.

I put it to all who care that ESCOSA will not necessarily keep rates down as evidenced by the increases in the state utilities over the last decade. If the Utility can convince ESCOSA that a large increase is justified then so too can councils.

Unless the Libs in Government intend to take away your right to have a say the costs of producing a budget will increase as Councils provides both you and ESCOSA an opportunity to contribute.

But only 3 or 4 people I hear from the media and the Libs attend a Council budget public forum and they are not listened too. Speaking for myself they are listened to.

This is what I have heard this year about the budget we will be voting on in Coucnil this month. The public this year has focused on the value of just one, yes one, project which will commit us if proceeded with to an investment of just $30,000.00, or 0.08% of your rates. And the feedback an overwhelming support for the project.

I said earlier you get two goes. New initiatives in our budget are put before the public not only at budget time but are put to the public by way of a specific public consultation.

This project I expect to be included in our budget. Will it happen. Don’t know and the elected members should wait to see what the public will want when it goes out to consultation as a project later this year. And when it does we may actually get a 100 or more from the immediate area impacted by the project have their say; a far cry from the few who responded to the budget consultation.

Other projects included have already been the subject of specific public consultation.

As we sit on the last Monday of this month therefore I will be voting on the budget confident that it does actually have the support of our rate payers.

 

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.

 

 

 

Spirit of Anzac Centenary

Today was the opening of the Spirit of Anzac Centenary at the Wayville Showgrounds and I was privileged to be an invited guest.

 

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It was an emotional Spirit of Anzac ride to be sure as I went from scene to scene and narration to narration of what is known as the Great War- World War 1. It was a visual, audio presentation with opportunities to have further information emailed to you. This all courtesy of an iPod made available on arrival.

Walking through the presentation left me with a myriad of feelings. An overwhelming sense of the drama of the day, the confusion of the day, the anguish of the day, the sense of patriotism, the sense of betrayal but more to the point the futility of war. I am so blessed and thankful that God has spared me from experiencing such atrocity and I pray for those who have.

The waste of human life from war can only have you ask  Why? The loss of life in this war leaves all other wars in it’s wake. The loss of Australian life totalled 61, 514. And that from a country half way round the world with a population of only some 5 million.

Hungary lost 1.2 million, Germany and Russia 2.0 million each.

I saw over a small period of time country after country waging war against each other with no pattern. I saw the horrendous mistakes made by military leaders. I saw the proliferation of new weapons of mass destruction. I saw men living in horrendous conditions where if a bullet did not get you a disease most certainly would.

Also apparent we clearly as humankind have not learnt our lesson. We were reminded of wars that Australia rallied to for the free world in Korea, Vietnam, two Iraq wars and currently Afghanistan. Of course there was also World War II, bought to us courtesy of a German Soldier who survived this war.

I urge everyone to take the time to visit this exhibition but you will have to hurry. Open today this free exhibition already has received 29,000 bookings of a  possible 35,000 and closes on the 20th March.

As Corporal R. Morgan prayed on 11 November 1918 … Please God…the sacrifices have not been in vain. I truly hope and pray we are close to having learnt the lesson. Exhibitions such as this surely will help.