Please tell us whether we have understood your Design King William Road wishes.

As I indicated in my recent Design King William Road Blog Council has listened to what you wish the future King William road should look like. We are pumped too that you see it as more than pavers v bitumen.

Unlike the picture being painted in the media, it is about

  • greening;
  • better access across the street;
  • more outdoor dining and meeting and seating spaces;
  • sanitary conveniences;

This paints a picture of a pedestrian environment more than a vehicle dominated space.

With this information we have put together several design options. These options we are presenting are our interpretation of what you have asked us for.

DesignKingWilliamThey test the structure of the road, the surface of the road and the profile of the street. The options can be seen by visiting our shop front on King William Road or by visiting www.designkingwilliam.com

The first and I suggest most important in designing King William Road is the structure of the street. We offer three options. They are increasing to different degrees greening elements, pedestrian crossing points, outdoor spaces with a commensurate reduction in on street carparking.

The second is (yes) the surface. We offer three options again. They include variations of the extent of and areas to be paved.

The third is one I encourage everyone to understand. It focuses on kerbing between foot traffic areas and vehicle access areas. The options include keeping the traditional kerb and water table kerbing we have now. The other options include an alternative of a roll over kerb and a no kerb option.

The no-kerb option is surely (if I can prompt) the one that provides the safest and more inclusive crossing the street options we can provide. People using mobility scooters and chairs or parent s pushing prams will find this the best option. It will be the best option to for a safe event environment (just like Rundle Mall).

We are inviting you to put your views to us again. You can do this, once again by visiting the ship front or on line at www.designkingwilliam.com

Please do this. It is your street after all.

Loss of canopy cover in the City of Unley blamed on Council.

The public debate, fuelled from within Council, on the loss of canopy cover in the City of Unley has been blamed on the Council.

We have had a loss of cover in recent years from 26% of the Council area covered with trees to 21%. A reduction of 20% of the original cover.

The sharp drop has been attributed to the loss of trees on private land. In other words, removal of trees by our rate payers is having an alarming impact on our tree stock. This is then causing a loss of canopy cover, a significant loss.

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It is true that we have lost trees on private land. It is nowhere near as significant however in my opinion as those we have removed ourselves. Council that is. Our street trees and our park trees.

Yes! Council is to blame for the loss of canopy cover. But it is however, for a very different reason.

I ask everyone to stop and take a deep breath. I ask us all to remain calm and put things into perspective. In other words, let us stop the hysteria that something is painfully wrong in Unley.

In 2016 Council implemented a 2nd Generation tree program as part of it’s 2016-19 tree strategy. This policy targeted the renewal of 2,000 trees in 5 years. We knew at the time that this would see a significant loss of canopy cover in the short term.

The aim behind the policy was to avoid too many trees all reaching end of life in a small-time frame. The loss of canopy cover would be catastrophic if that could occur.

I am asking our administration for a report on the progress of the 2016-19 tree strategy.

In the report I want to know not just how many trees we have removed and how many we have replaced them with. I am asking them to calculate what the loss of canopy cover is. How much canopy the fledgling trees are providing is the follow on question. More to the point I am asking them what the potential cover of the replacement trees will be when they mature and when we can expect that.

So! Before we panic, let’s be certain of what is happening. The loss should only be temporary and the direct result of our policy.

If the loss is not acceptable let us cut back the program and/or stop it. Otherwise let us accept there will be a short term pain in order to achieve the long term gain.

Unley Community has been a shining example for all Local Government Communities

The City of Unley Community has been a shining example for all Local Government Communities. 117 of our citizens have contributed to our 2018/19 budget. 29 of those attended our public meetings.

Thank you for your contribution.

This follows the example set last year. It is inspiring given in my 1st 3 years as a Councillor we had 1, 2 and then 4 people respectively attend our public meetings.

You have answered my call to stay with us in this climate of rate capping. Rather than rely on the Government to rate cap us you have taken the responsibility to encourage us to include what you want.

Last year your input impacted on the then proposed rate increase of 2.8%. You wanted more and to achieve it we lifted the increase by 0.2% to 3.0%. This was still inside the rate cap we work on which is CPI plus 1%.

At our workshop on Monday night we had some tough decisions to make. Once again you wanted us to include more, and without suggesting cutting anything to accommodate the cost of the initiative you wanted.

Most of you were looking for even more environmental initiatives than we have already included. That said some of you weren’t too aware of what initiatives we had included. Next year we will need to be a lot clearer in detailing this.

A small handful of you wanted a reduction in rates and for us to focus on roads, rates and rubbish.

The budget will be finalised when Council meets formerly on the last Monday of this month. When we meet we will have to consider whether to include some of the extras being requested or not.

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If they are to be included we will need to consider whether to reduce our projected surplus, whether to reduce other services and/or to increase the rate.

Wish us well please in our deliberations.

Have we understood your input into Design King William?

Over the last month many of you have inspired us with your insights into what is required to make King William Road the most loved main street in South Australia. Thank you for that.

We now want to know, have we understood your input into Design King William.

DesignKingWilliamThe majority of the feedback we have received to date highlights your desire for a more beautiful, active and accessible main street. To design King William Road with more greening, spaces for people, with safer points to cross King William Road. A desire balanced with the need for on-street parking.

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What I have seen inspires me. It re-affirms my own vision of how it can become the most loved main street in South Australia. Thank you.

In response, our design team has prepared three demonstrations of how these elements could be included in the street to varying degrees.

As a result, we need your help again. From Monday we are seeking your input again. This time, to evaluate these 3 designs.

In addition, we will also have three approaches to the road surface. This includes from fully paving the roadway, parking spaces and footpaths, to a bitumen roadway with pavers limited to parking spaces and the footpaths.

Each option is a different look for King William Road. They also carry different construction timelines and levels of disruption for visitors, traders and motorists.

We’re keen to understand what you consider is the best solution while maintaining the charm and character as we re-design King William Road.

From next Monday, this new material will be on display in the shop front, as well as accessible online. We will record your preferences to help inform the eventual design outcome.

My colleagues and I will then be able to make as informed a decision as is possible. Together we can make King William Road the most loved main street in South Australia.

Is the LGA Lunatic Asylum correct in declaring there is no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA?

As covered in my recent Lunatic Asylum blog post a claim being made by many elected members in the industry. This includes from within Unley Council.

They claim there is no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA?

LGA LogoCity of Unley logoIndeed, two questions have been asked in our chamber along these very lines. Questions based on there being no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA.

Answering the first question, to access these services the City of Unley invests $ 55,000.00 per annum.

Our membership entitles Unley of the services of the LGA in both advocacy and assistance.

The LGA is a representative body. Accordingly, it succeeds on the input of its members.  My blog “Are Your Leaders Showing Leadership or Merely Expert Spectators?”examines this observation.

Membership provides us with the following opportunities:

  • For us to share experiences with the wider local government industry;
  • To learn from each other;
  • To work together to find solutions for common obstacles; and
  • Make our work more cost-effective.

This is difficult to monetise. Anyone who is a member of any other association would recognise this. Whether in a sporting club, a social club, or a church, members recognise the need to have an association.

Businesses often ally themselves to an association. Even the trade union movement and all the Unions recognise this through the Council of Trade Unions.

Rate payers fund our membership. Let’s examine some of the benefits.

LGA advocacy is invaluable.

While we may obtain some grant funding by way of direct negotiation, we still need the LGA. We simply do not have the resources to be in continuous dialogue with the State or Federal Government.

We believe we are in the running for some funding for the King William Road redevelopment. Due to the advocacy on the part of the LGA this takes much pressure off the budgeting of this necessary project.

They influenced the implementation of the State’s new planning system.Likewise they provided input into the new Planning and Design Code. This because we we could not have done so on our own with some consistency with other Councils. Consequently, one recent major win here was their successfully obtaining relief for councils from contributing to the SA Planning Portal contributions. Sorry but I can’t remember how much this was but it was significant.

They have made submissions with our input to the State Government on the Community Engagement Charter, Design Code and Accreditation Scheme. Likewise they have advocated on the e-planning portal. This has resulted in a 12-month delay and a saving to councils upwards of $24,000.00.

The LGA provides direct assistance in several key areas.  Thankfully this can be measured financially.

Education and training available through the LGA would cost us at least $ 65,000.00 pa if we were to source like programs ourselves.

Just keeping up with legal changes confronting Councils and delegations and authorisations adds $ 10,000 pa to our costs.

Financial assistance is a major benefit. They provide this by way of low cost loans via their finance arm. As a result they save the 68 councils an average over $100,000.00 pa each. Most noteworthy, some Councils have tested this over time. Their investigations have concluded that the LGAFA to be the best avenue of low cost loans.

Likewise, the workers compensation scheme and the mutual liability scheme save on average across the 68 councils around $ 500,000 each.

This year is an election year. Because of their resources the LGA provides the bulk of the cost of achieving this, saving us around 0.5 FTE and a cost of $ 50,000.00. Especially relevant this is the same as the membership fee.

In conclusion, I suggest anyone suggesting there is no benefit to Councils being a member of the LGA is not demonstrating leadership.

LGA Rate Capping Stance Prompts Call for LGA to be Dumped.

Everyone knows the State Government wish to impose rate capping on Local Government. We also know that the Local Government Association (LGA) has consistently opposed this.

Now some elected members are nervous of retribution by the State Government because of the LGA campaign.

Many are calling for the LGA to withdraw its campaign. Some for the sacking of the LGA. Others, including from within Unley, are calling for their Council to cancel their membership.

Hang on guys. We do not yet know what the Government is proposing or what form rate capping will take. We do not even know whether it will be approved by Parliament. When we do know then we will be able to direct the LGA to lobby on our behalf.

The question of LGA membership or the future of the LGA I addressed this morning in my LGA Lunatic Asylum blog post.

The question of rate capping remains however whatever happens in the LGA arena.

In my opinion, and from what I believe should be an Unley point of view, I still do not see a need for a State induced rate capping. I have written several blog posts covering this.

Let us recognize that Unley DOES have rate cappingRate Capping.

For the last six years we have set our rate first and adjusted our budget to suit. The cap we have set is CPI plus 1%.

During this time our rates have increased 25% compared to an average 41% in the rest of the industry.

This year we expect to be well inside this, maybe CPI plus 0.3%

.If other Councils were doing this then I venture to suggest the Government would not be threatening to impose an external cap.

Would it not be great if most Councils followed Unley’s lead? We would not be having any arguments now. Not rate capping. Not cancelling membership of the LGA etc.

Local Government Lunatic Asylum Calling for Dumping of LGA

With a Local Government election looming the Lunatic Asylum is now active at Local Government level. Many in our industry, including from within Unley Council, are calling for the LGA to be abolished. At the very least some are questioning whether their own Council should continue to be members.

LGASA

Local Government

I expect many in the Community would agree and I don’t blame you. Your knowledge of the LGA would be based more than likely totally on what you hear in the media or sadly, from us.

Those inside the industry should know better however. Given this I suggest they are members of the local government lunatic asylum.

Associations are only ever as good as their membership. The LGA is no different. It is only as good as its membership. It is the membership that makes an Association strong.

I put it to those inside the industry to take a cold, hard look at themselves. This includes members of my own Council, Unley.

The LGA can only ever be as strong or as weak as they (the elected members) want it to be. Members need to be active, to participate in working groups and the decision-making process. The LGA will be stronger only if its members actively contribute and not expect to get everything done for them without contributing.

Much of the angst I believe against the LGA springs from their fight against rate capping. The claim is they are not representing the industry in this campaign.

Given only a handful of the 68 Councils in SA voted against the campaign, Unley included, to make this claim surley questions whether you should be part of the local government lunatic asylum. While I have blogged previously on this, this may need to be the focus of a later blog.

Many are justifying their stance by claiming that we (Councils) don’t get value for our membership. Once again it is my belief that these Councillors are not contributing to making the Association relevant. More also on that in a later blog.

Aggrieved Residents Around Goodwood receive Double Dose of Aggravation

To the chagrin of aggrieved residents the Goodwood Saints Football Club this week successfully applied to have an extension of light use at Goodwood Oval for training and for night matches.

Their application was heard and unanimously approved by the Council Assessment Panel (CAP).

Goodwood Oval LightsThe CAP is a body constituted under the Development Act. It has 4 independent members and 1 elected member. It hears and makes planning decisions on behalf of Council. Council’s elected body has no involvement in this process and is not able to impact on their decisions.

Residents and others, as required under the Act, made representations to the panel. 150 of them. 77 in favour and 73 against. 9 Aggrieved Residents backed up their written representations verbally on the night.

I am proud of my neighbours. They presented well and focused on planning issues. This is important as the Panel Members must make their decisions based on Planning principles.

I am proud too of the Panel Members. Their individual explanations indicated their interpretation of planning formed their respective opinions. This even though their opinion differed from the Residents.

With the decision favouring the Club, aggrieved residents may consider lodging an appeal. The ERD Court would hear any such appeal. Anyone considering appealing have 14 days to consider this.

I say aggrieved because they (the residents) feel the club is, by way of bracket creep, eating into their use of the facility and intrusion into their amenity.

These aggrieved residents unfortunately are now catching a double dose of aggravation with a section of the media choosing to pass judgement without knowing the facts.

Two Radio stations that I am aware of have covered this storey. Unfortunately however, news is littered with half-truths, myths and prejudices. Accordingly this compounds the agony for these residents.

One station chose to run an anti-resident campaign holding themselves up as knowing the facts. The other radio station researched the storey and the facts and covered it accordingly.

The first radio station focused on the right of girls to be able to play at the same venue as their brothers. It is quite appropriate to argue that case and I support that.

Their lack of research meant they failed however to even attempt to understand what the residents’ concerns were. Accordingly they ignored concerns that included extending the grief they already experience with illegal parking and not being able to access their driveways. The Oval being restricted to 2 nights a week was conveniently ignored.  And other like issues and I do not support that.

What they did was to ignore these very important issues. I guess this may be because they did not bother to research it.

They focused on the observation of just one resident. One of 73.

The Radio Station simply argued that lights will be turned off before bed time, or covered with a blind. So what’s the problem was their focus. Never mind noise and anti-social behaviour etc even though the Club acknowledges this.

They failed to check that the Oval is already being overused, even though the Club acknowledges this.

Any extension of the use by the club not only eats into the time they (the residents) might have access, but potentially makes the Oval unfit for the remaining access time they may have.

The other station understood this and reported accurately and without opinion.

For all that, Council has a responsibility.

The issues raised in this blog are issues that Council will have to manage, along with the Club and the residents.

We will. We already are. Let’s face it, it is our responsibility. The Club has confirmed publically that it has a responsibility too. Accordingly we should be able to work with them to address the concerns of their neighbours.

Watch for future blogs to see what we are doing.

Oh Mr Hart! The Subway Project still alive and well. The Community wants it.

Jennie & I, along with neighbouring Unley Park councillor Michael Rabbitt and our Acting Mayor Peter Hughes, met with Steph Key yesterday. Topic of discussion was to discuss the consultation report on the Subway Project.

subwayn project consultationSteph may no longer be the local member of Parliament, but she is still passionate about getting the Subway Project up and running. She presented, along with Mark Thomson from her electorate office, the results of the consultation from late last year to the group above.

The results of the consultation are quite clear. The local community wants some form of artwork on the underpass. They provided some great ideas to the project group.

The strongest support clearly is for a “green” solution. This could be anything from paint to live greening or a combination of both.

We all agreed last night the project should not be limited to the concrete walls.  It should extend to the surrounding “precinct”. This would mean replicating elsewhere what has been done in the north west corner of the precinct. It would mean beautifying the vacant land in the south east, adjacent the now successful re-opened Millswood Rail Station.

It seems like this project has been going for ever. Well before my entry into Council. My predecessor Les Birch championed the Subway Project way back in the 90’s.

Seems now that, with community backing and some clever thoughts on how artwork could help maintain the infrastructure and extend its life that DPTI may well be on board. Well tentatively at least.

You can check out the recent history of the project on the project groups website or their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/goodwoodsubway17/

Steph will present the Subway Project Consultation Report to Unley Council (possibly at the June meeting) the results of the consultation. She will also suggest the next step.

With the replacement artwork in tow at the Capri Cinema, this may well be an ideal next project for artwork in Goodwood.

Kaufland, Anzac Highway: Seriously at Variance to Unley Development Plan

The proposed Kaufland development on the old Anzac Highway LeCornu site is, I believe, seriously at variance to the Unley Development Plan.

Kaufland, Anzac HighwayAn initial cursory look at the plans last week had me thinking it was not seriously at variance. This was based on recognising only the built form.

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The height of the proposed structure is only 2 storeys. The set back to Anzac Highway well over the allowable 3m. The set back to Leader Street, where it abuts the adjacent residential zone, is 5m rather than the 2m allowed.

Taking an opportunity this week to check  the development proposed more thoroughly revealed to me differently. Without a doubt, the Kaufland proposal is seriously at variance to the development plan.

The Development Plan stems from the recent Ministerial (Specific Sites) DPA. A plan influenced by Council’s input. Input in keeping with our strategy for all Urban Corridor Development Zones within our Council. Input the Government (as previously reported on this blog site) is now using to correct poor design outcomes in other Council areas.

Here is the crunch.

The proposed development is a fully retail development focusing on a mega supermarket. It has no residential component. This is diametrically the opposite of what the then minister, and Council envisaged for this area.

The first two objectives for what is called Policy Area 24 within the plan are as follows:

Objective 1

A medium Density Residential area” supported” by local shops, offices and community spaces.

Objective 2

A highly varied streetscape allowing “multiple” built form design responses that supports innovative housing and mixed-use development.

 

The desired character for the policy area therefore is (as the plan says) to “primarily’ serve a residential function with support “only” of shops, offices etc. There can be no argument therefore. This development therefore is clearly seriously at variance to the intention of the development plan.

The Development Plan goes even deeper. It includes a minimum density requirement. It calls for a minimum density of 45 dwellings per hectare. The development site is 20,950 m2 in size. This means there should be at least 90 homes/units on this site

This surely is a critical requirement. Without even a single house it can therefore seriously only be viewed as seriously at variance to the plan.

This fundamental flaw in the Kaufland Development creates a major conflict for a residential area. My blog today on carparking demonstrates further that it is  seriously at variance to the development plan and should be refused.