A Picket Fence Around Unley Oval? Have Your Say before 25th July

Council is now ready to implement one of my successful motions at the February Council meeting concerning the redevelopment of Unley Oval. 

After a rescission motion in April failed we are now ready for public consultation over the use of picket fencing around the Oval.

We have obtained quotes for fencing and in the process determined where and how large openings should be to maintain the openness that the oval provides now for ease of use for the whole community.

That means we now have a firm proposal for our community to consider, not something we all have to imagine.

Installation of the fence will provide safety benefits and enhance the “English village green” feel of the oval. The fencing will also provide comfort to other users of the oval knowing that the public is protected from their activities. The oval would remain available for community use during times that no structured sporting activity is underway.
A proposed concept plan is available to view at:
– the area between the McKay grandstand and the Oatey grandstand at Unley Oval;
– the foyer of the Unley Council Civic Centre
– the Goodwood and Unley Libraries
– the Goodwood, Unley, Clarence Park and Fullarton Park Community Centres
You are invited to provide your feedback on this proposal by completing the feedback form; writing toUnley Oval Picket Fence Consultation, PO Box 1, Unley SA 5061; or by emailing[email protected](External link).
This consultation will conclude at 5pm, Friday, 25 July 2014.

I have yet to see the plans showing this and will provide them on this blog site as soon as I can obtain them.

For further thoughts on this you might check out our Mayor’s blog post.

The Opportunity to increase public space at Unley Oval still alive

After a long and exhausting process we are now getting to the pointy end as I said in an earlier post today. And the great bonus is that we have identified there is an opportunity to provide extra open space for use by the general community.

This would be by extending the facility north partially into Frederick Street. Frederick Street is as wide a street as we have in Unley so if any street could be reconfigured to provide us with extra green space this conceivably is the one.

Will it work? Don’t Know!

Will the Community back it? Don’t Know!

Will it provide value for money? Don’t Know!

Who will pay for it? Refer my second last blog post!

Is it worth investigating? You bet it is!

The beauty of last night’s motion, as with all the others, is it will provide us all an opportunity to answer those questions and to see what can be done. By providing a detailed design we can all value what is proposed because we can see it; in all is glory.

I look forward to seeing what is ultimately proposed. I look forward to it being suitable in the eyes of elected members to then put to our community.

This potentially could be the single biggest achievement of all the propositions being explored, so long as it does not interfere with traffic flow or foot traffic using Frederick Street. I suspect that it is achievable and in all likelihood desirable, but let us wait and see.

A big bonus too is that including this in a suite of initiatives once again could improve our chances of securing outside funding.

Watch this space.

Stand Upgrade

No-one I have spoken to is against the Grandstands at Unley Oval being upgraded, particularly the McKay stand.

This has been given the green light to proceed to detailed design and formal costings after last nights Marathon sitting of Council. But we have gone much further.

In already recognizing from investigations (resulting from my motion on Unley Oval I think last October) that we cannot comply with the AFL preferred guidelines for facility accommodation for a State based Competition in just the McKay stand we have taken advantage of the need to consider work in the Oatey Stand as well.

The McKay Stand can only accommodate the home team requirements under the AFL guidelines. The Away team therefore needs to be accommodated in the Oatey Stand.

Last nights motion now allows our administration to now proceed to preparing detailed designs and to have these formally costed. They can then provide us (once again as with the items blogged on earlier today) with something concrete to consider.

What we have done however with last night’s motion is to provide ourselves with an opportunity to reduce the financial impact of proceeding if we ever get to that point by extension the design process to cover as well the provision of additional community facilities in the Oatey Grandstand.

How is this you ask? Because by extending the project to the wider community we improve our chances of grant funding to cover all the work. And that surely is a no brainer.

And because this extends the scope beyond internal upgrades the public gets to contribute which is surely a good thing.

And for those who are acutely aware that this ground has probably the worst facilities for persons with disabilities I will be keeping a close watch on the design work to ensue that this is addressed.

So Just who is going to pay for all this

Before I post on other initiatives that will now proceed to next stage it is timely to address the funding of whatever might occur at Unley over, whether in the near future or the distant future.

The motion that Council pursue funding opportunities for Unley Oval Grandstand redevelopment components and the balance of the lighting and picket fence costs was approved last night.

It is one of only a couple that I did not either move or second but it is the most crucial. Without funding there will be nothing happen at the ground.

We have a range of individual projects to look at now task to the decision we made last night. Some are comparatively inexpensive, others are major by any expectation, requiring significant funding. The more significant projects we, or should I say our ratepayers, simply cannot afford.

Those in the community who have been opposed to anything happening at the Oval because we cannot afford it please be assured that, with the passing of this motion, we are locked into seeking funding for all the projects, not just the larger ones.

Remembering that Unley Oval is considered by both State and Federal Governments to be a regional sports centre projects that may be undertaken at the facility have the potential of significant grant funding. To be eligible for any grant funding that may be available at any given time we have to be project ready. And that is what we are doing with all the motions passed last night, putting ourselves into a position to be project ready.

Campbelltown recently received $7.0m for redeveloping by being project ready. Why not Unley?

Will a Picket Fence Enhance or Destroy the Ambience of Unley Oval

That is the question I hope to see answered once our Administration has responded to last nights motion by myself to proceed with the calling of tenders for picket fencing around the perimeter of the Oval proper once funding has been obtained and public consultation has been completed.

As I indicated in my presentation to the motion last night I want to see where the fencing would go, what it would look like, how high it would be, where the openings will be, how wide the openings will be, what gates would be used and how they would operate. Not only do I want to see this but I want everyone with an interest in Unley Oval to see.

I have struggled during the master planning process to accept the debate (for and against) fencing around the perimeter of the Oval when we have NOT had a design put in front of us, when we have not had something concrete to look at and debate.

Only by proceeding to a point where we can see what might be possible can we adjudicate on whether it is suitable or not. Only then can residential and elected members alike know whether or not the Unley Oval amenity will be enhanced by the addition of a fence OR whether it will detract from the amenity.

This does not need a lot of work in detailing and can be bought forward quite quickly I would have thought.

For my part, what is put in front of us WILL enhance the amenity of Unley Oval it will get my vote. If it detracts it WILL NOT get my vote.

So bring it on, let us all see for ourselves how it will present.

The Lights Shine on Unley Oval

The first initiative at last night’s Council meeting is to proceed with calling tenders for the design and construct of new oval lights once funding and development approval has been obtained. Sturt Football Club be requested to contribute 1/3rd of the funding of the light installation.


This gives Admin the direction to proceed with bedding down the technical specifications sufficient not only to be able to obtain quotes for the work but sufficient to both prepare a development Application and to go out to the public for their input. It means that this can be project ready once development approval has been obtained and the necessary and obligatory public consultation has taken place, and funding has been secured.

This is a good initiative that enhances the facility for all who may wish to access it during the evening or night hours. The general understanding is that these lights will not only improve lighting for activity on the ground but reduce significantly the spillage of light outside the ground.

I would expect that what will be proposed and put back to us for approval will be similar to the very successful lighting recently at Goodwood Oval.

The lighting at Goodwood Oval has proved a big win with residents there. The spillage of light disappears but metres from the boundary line.

Whilst the Sturt Footy Club will be a definite winner here other groups will have access like other sports, maybe life trainers, dog walkers…..who knows.

It will provide lighting to Sturt FC for training purposes only. It will not be match suitable. As a major beneficiary they will be asked to contribute to the funding.

Unley Oval finally has some meaningful direction

Council last night voted on a range of motions designed to solicate what we can move forward on what we should not. These motions, all passed, provide finally an opportunity to bring the master planning process we have been conducting for some years now to the pointy end.

The Council, by voting as they have, have provided an opportunity for everyone, resident and rate payers, sporting clubs using the facility, elected members and the staff of the City of Unley to actually have something concrete to evaluate, consider and debate rather than the pie in the sky that we have been working  through.
We have spent much time and energy looking at all aspects of what the Unley Oval precinct provides and what it can provide going forward. We have seen a number of initiatives for creating more open space, looked into whether or not A Grade Cricket can return, whether the Bowls and lawn Tennis Clubs can be improved. We have looked at how we might consolidate all the sporting clubs into one club room facility and a number of other observations.
Much energy has gone into debating perimeter fences during this time and this has directed focus by all on just that aspect. This has at items got in the way of projecting all the other opportunities  forward to a point where we can look at some detail.
We have reached that point now though. A point where we can finally look at some detail design work that we can, if we believe it has merit once prepared, put to our community for their views. 
A range of something that have some substance, some shape, some form that people can see and visualize. Something that they can make informed observations about rather than guessing about something that remains abstract through the lack of detail. After that (public consultation) we will be in a position to decide whether or not to proceed and how and when.
The beauty of where we are is that we now, by having separate stand alone motions, can look at stand alone projects that can be considered in isolation or together if desirable. This means that if one project is not seen as warranting proceeding with, it will not stall or stop others we believe can proceed.
The motions in essence were as follows, noting that each will (as required under legislation) go back out to the community when ready:
  • The Design & Construction of new Lighting
  • Obtaining detailed designs and formal cost estimates for refurbishment of the McKay Grandstand and provision of additional community facilities as well as away team facilities in the Oatey grandstand.
  • Design and construct of an internal picket fence around Unley Oval
  • Obtaining detailed designs and formal cost estimates for creation of additional community open space at the northern end of the oval by encroaching into Frederick Street
Each are stand alone projects, but capable of being included in a one off redevelopment should suitable grant funding be available.

What was not proceeded with includes perimeter fencing of the facility and resurfacing of the Oval.

We also passed a motion, among others (check our website for further details http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Item%201044%20FCM%20February%202014.pdf) to pursue funding opportunities.

I will being making observation on each of these by posting a separate blog on each separately.

Unley Oval to come back to Council soon

Elected members engaged in a robust workshop last night on the future of Unley Oval.

We scrutinized the many potential improvements that have been suggested in the exhaustive master planning process. In so doing I believe we feel we have an understanding of what initiatives should be further explored now, by the current Council.

In so doing I believe we also have a good feel about those initiatives that we consider are not worthy of proceeding with at this time, if ever. Of course that is a matter for future Councils if and whenever a need is ever demonstrated.

The workshop was therefore quite successful.

We have asked admin to consolidate what was discussed and prepare some potential motions for us to discuss at a future Council meeting. We feel that specific motions on individuals components of the planning carried out thus far is appropriate because it means we can consider individually whether to proceed to the next step or not on a given item and not allow an item we are not comfortable with hold up that which should proceed to the next stage. This will allow us approve which individual concepts to move forward, narrowing down the scope accordingly.

I expect the motions will be along the lines of Council directing Admin to conduct detail design concepts of elements we believe should be advanced. So there is a process till to go and no commitment can be made on any component until the process has been exhausted.

And that will include a public consultation on what we finally determine is a redevelopment worthy of taking out for all to comment on.

I expect also that the importance to the community of this that we are likely to call a special meeting of Council. That will be the Mayors call of course after consulting with admin as to how much business we may have to deal with at our next Full Council Meeting.

Unley Oval message continues to be distorted

Unley Council rejects another plan for the future upgrade of Unley Oval is the headline in the current Eastern Courier.

Members of Council have reacted with dismay and confusion and in some cases outrage at these headlines.

The observations made this week in the Eastern courier about the hour of debate we had at our last Council meeting will leave the public, who rely on the press for their information, having no idea what is going on.

As I noted in my last post on this subject, the morning after the meeting and which can be found at http://www.donpalmer.org/2014/01/unley-oval-improvement-fails-to-take.html, we have stalled and only temporarily because the motion we had suggested to us last week was simply to receive the report.

How that can be interpreted as a rejection of the plan has got me beat?

As I indicated in my last post I have now met with a number of members to discern the detail in the report provided us and determine what information we still need with a view to developing a motion on notice that will move us forward.

We have a workshop scheduled, as agreed to at the council meeting, at which we will request information on those things we are short on information for. I am confident that I will have a motion on notice, or a group of motions on notice that will bring about a positive result. One that will be acceptable to members of council, to the public at large and which will help bring Sturt FC up to other clubs in the facilities they have available to them.

Unley Oval Improvement fails to take next step (yet)

Sparked by my motion on notice to Council back in October we received a report last night from administration that did two things. What it did not do is provide direction for us going forward.

The motion relevant to the report suggested by admin was that we simply receive the report. I understand that this was the case because Council’s administration are looking for direction from us (Us being the Council- the elected members).

The report provided us with insights as to how we might provide more open space for the citizens of Unley to make use of the facilities there. It also provided information about the requirements of the AFL that the SANFL are asking the Sturt Footy Club to comply with.

The speeches to the receive the report motion last night pretty much mirrored what I have heard from community members in recent days. That is firstly that we don’t need to create additional space, the facility is fine as it is in what it provides. The second observation is that Sturt deserve to have the amenity of their facility upgraded to a reasonable (if not AFL compliant) state.

This is what I heard elected members saying  lats night and it echoes what I have heard from the public. Yes the public are happy to upgrade the stands to make them AFL compliant.

As we have stalled waiting on direction it is my intention to move a motion on notice at our next Council meeting that will reflect what I have said in this blog post. To move a motion that does indeed move us forward and I have invited elected members to participate in putting this motion together.