New look for Councils runs deeper than you might think

Most of us recognise that there is a new look for Councils. It runs very much deeper however than is being recognised.

 

Yes. As my last blog post undoubtedly shows, the new City of Unley will consist of 8 women and 5  represents this new look for Councils. We all know this is a gender turnaround of significance. It redresses a historic gender imbalance.

This is a trend across local government. Complimenting this trend we see also many Mayoral positions now occupied by women.

There is no doubt that this will changes the dynamic of Council.

A more significant dynamic, as yet not recognised, is the spread of ages on this new Council. This Council has representatives, by my judgement, in each age decade from under 30’s to over 80’s.

This to me is a much bigger shift than the gender shift. The previous council had but two members under the age I suggest of 50.

The contribution to any debate is going to be much fuller than it has been in the two terms of Council I have been a member of. As my co-councillor has oft said the last Council could be describes as a grey haired, retired, gentleman’s club. That is a far cry from this new Council.

Cross gender input will provide depth to the debate. Cross generational input will provide even greater depth. A clear new look for Councils, at least this one as I predicted in my blog post of October 9.

Further than this the age demographic shows up yet another dynamic.

 

This Council and possibly the next Council history may show as transitional Councils. Councils leading to a generational change.

The final observation I believe with this Council is that those of us remaining from the previous Council/s have a significant obligation. It will be incumbent on us to provide leadership in helping the new members to develop into the Unley Communities next generation of leaders.

Your Clarence Park Ward Councillors provide this.

City of Unley 2018 Election Results

The provisional results for the City of Unley 2018 Election results are now known.

 

The following is list of the elected candidates for the City of Unley 2018 Election.

Mayor:                                            Cr Michael Hewitson

Ward Councillors:

              Clarence Park                  Cr Don Palmer & Councillor Jennie Boisvert.

              Goodwood                        Emmy Wright & Nicole Sheehan

              Fullarton                           Cr Peter Hughes & Jordan Dodd

              Parkside                            Cr Mike Hudson & Kay Anastassiadis

              Unley                                  Sue Dewing & Jane Russo

              Unley Park                       Cr Michael Rabbitt & Monica Broniecki

The results are provisional as we await a final declaration by the Electoral Commission. This will occur after the expiration of the period allowing challenges. This, in turn, I believe would be unlikely but??

Subject to the declaration this then will be your new Council. The Council you have elected.

This is a brand new council. It has 7 new faces, all female. The council itself has a gender balance in favour of female 8 to 5. This is also a council with a wide age range, with members spread evenly through all decades, 20’s through to 70’s.

Watch out for a subsequent blog about this changed dynamic and the opportunities it presents in the future.

Thank You, thank you, thank you.

Thank you to everyone for indicating your confidence, allowing me to continue providing local leadership and working for you. It is heart-warming to receive your support.

More than this though, it is a great responsibility to represent you in local government.

Yes. Thank you.

Thank YouI thank all those who voted for me and those who chose to vote but did not vote for me. You both exercised your right to vote. You also showed your own leadership by accepting the responsibility to vote.

I received 410 of the 1355 votes cast by Clarence Park ratepayers. This is marginally less than what was required for a quota (429) in its own right on 1st preferences. Clarence Park ratepayers voted slightly more than the state average.

I thank also and especially that small band of volunteers who helped me with my campaign. Those who walked the streets for me delivering election flyers. Those also who scrutineer-ed for me. And to those who encouraged me during the process.

As your re-elected member of Council I will be working for all of you, whether you voted for me or not. I will be working for you whether or not you voted.

It is now time for me to celebrate my re-election. I will do this privately in the comfort of my own home and with my family. It won’t be a big celebration though as I reflect and focus on the responsibility you have bestowed on me.

For me, I am preparing my to do list as we speak in readiness to advance your interests in keeping with my many commitments. The commitments announced to you in this forum that have preceded this blog post.

I will post a blog as soon as I am able to report the makeup of the next Council.

Again. Thank You.

Influencing the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways

While the local government elections proceed and we are in caretaker mode, I am still out there working for you. In particular, I am contributing to Council’s response to the Government’s proposed Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

As the Government’s reform package does not wait on Council elections it becomes difficult for elected members to have influence over the debate. That has not stopped me however.

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I am offering opinions in two current planning areas that impact on you.  They are the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

Accredited Professionals Scheme

In my opinion, the Accredited Professionals Scheme is sadly lacking and is fraught with danger. The proposed accreditation appears to be quite liberal.

The level of experience for assessment panel members is surprisingly limited. It flies in the face of the previous ministers’ assertions the involvement of Council elected members. He believed elected members largely had an insufficient skillset. The proposed qualifications however for future panel members would curiously allow elected members easy access to the panel.

Likewise, as a retired building inspector, I am concerned that the Level 4 accreditation for building inspectors requires only 6 months experience. It seems we may be moving to a system which allows what I would consider less competency than now. Surely a backwards step.

Assessment Pathways 

I am pushing that Assessment pathways for any development that has variances to the plan such that they impact on the neighbourhood, even if only “minor” should have a public consultation component to them.

We must continue to fight for this. This is because developments invariably will sit outside the parameters set in a development plan.

Assessment must remain with Council rather than with private certifiers when public notification is a requirement. This is because councils are the only body with the availability of being transparent and accountable.

Private Certifiers will never have the level of accountability that Councils have. Even with the number of elected members sitting on assessment panels reduced to one, accountability is only possible with Councils being responsible.

Two extremes of public notification need to be addressed. I am promoting accordingly.

Obviously larger developments must include public notification and this must extend beyond just the immediate neighbours. Rear of house developments regularly however do not impact on other than the immediate neighbour/s. This includes neighbours who live on the other side of the street and cannot see the development. Those not impacted should not be invited to make representation.

If re-elected, I will remain in a position of working for you and providing local leadership on the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways and all subsequent planning changes.

 

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Giving Time and Passion.

As a retired businessman I can offer you something that none of the other candidates can. That is an abundance of time and passion that comes with being free.

 

Time and passionFree from the hassles of holding down a job. Free from having to commit to training for a future occupation.

 

To provide local leadership and to work for you it is important that your representative is giving you time and passion.

In my opinion you need to find 20 hours plus each week to be an effective elected member of council. Balancing family, work, social and play and the demands placed on you as an elected member can be most challenging. Anything less than 20 hours per week will mean you are not getting value from your representative.

Why would an elected member need to devote that much time you may well ask? Isn’t it just one meeting a month?

 

Working for you requires a commitment to the management role as a “board of management” contributor. The Local Government Act requires this of your representative.

This entails attending at least one full council meeting each month, plus at least one briefing. Attending these and (more importantly) preparing properly for these meeting is time consuming.

Then there are committees and we have many. Ideally they should be spread around. It tends not happen however. Some of us may be members of multiple committees while others may choose not to participate. I am one who contributes to multiple committees because I have the time and the passion where others don’t.

Then there is the need to give time to the various community groups who appreciate your support. The local sporting clubs, the community centre, the neighbourhood watch group etc.

The ultimate time commitment though, is the time devoted directly to you. The Local Government Act requires a person elected to council to represent the interests of residents and ratepayers, to provide community leadership and guidance, and to facilitate communication between the community and the council.

Time is something I have previously and still can offer you (more so), and wish to. In abundance. May I ask, can the other candidates?

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

 

Providing Local Leadership: Working for better local government (LGA).

The City of Unley has not taken full advantage of their membership of the Local Government Association (LGA). Many other Councils likewise.

 

LGA LogoThey all willingly take advantage of services such as the discounts available on Insurance or lower finance costs in taking out loans. Likewise, other services such as these are on offer and utilised.

We all also gain a benefit from the significant research and advocacy that the LGA provides. Research and advocacy that Councils individually simply could not afford to do on their own.

Councils who contribute to what to research or what advocacy to undertake are the ones who receive the greatest benefit. By this I mean the LGA will research what the Councils who take an interest ask them to research. Likewise they will undertake advocacy roles asked of them by the majority of Councils. Unley has not recently contributed t this.

Some Councils who also have been inactive here have complained they don’t get the service they should from the LGA. Murmurings similar to this have echoed from time to time in Unley.

I have always been a firm believer that an association is only as good as its membership. Active members make for a strong association. Passive members don’t contribute and this is when a feeling of disassociation occurs. Not because of the executive however but because of the members themselves.

To avoid the City of Unley being caught up in this I have put my hand up to become our representative on the Greater Adelaide Region of Councils (GAROC) Committee. Council has endorsed my nomination.

If elected to this board by the LGA members I need also to look for your endorsement as one of your two local councillors. If you elect someone else, no-one from Unley will be providing local leadership to the LGA.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: New Council, new faces, new ideas, needs stability and local leadership

The make-up of the new Unley Council is going to be totally different to recent councils. It will be just that, a new Council. It will have new faces and new ideas. We will see greater representation from both a gender and age perspective.

 

Stability

Change is great. Change should be welcomed. Significant change however, which we will be experiencing, needs stability and local leadership.

As I have indicated a few times recently I expect there to be at least 5 females on the new council.

Indeed we have two already, having been elected unopposed. Monica Broniecki will be co-councillor with Cr Michael Rabbit in the Unley Park ward. Jordan Dodd will be co-councillor with Cr Peter Hughes in the Fullarton ward.

Three of our wards have seven candidates each. Five of the seven in both Goodwood and Unley wards are female. One of the seven in Parkside are female. Clarence Park ward has 4 candidates. Two male, one female and one transgender female.

Looking at candidates attending recent Council meetings I would assess the majority of the candidates to be much younger than the current council. It is not unreasonable therefore to expect the next council to be a much younger council.

The current council had but one member (at age 30’ish) under the age of 50. It had three over the age of 80’ish. The median age of the next council is quite likely to be in the region of 50, with a handful over this age and a handful under this age.

The bottom line is the new council is going to be much different than the outgoing council. Not only will there be at least 5 changes, the changes will create a far greater degree of diversity.

With such change happening automatically, I believe it is important that we do not lose the corporate knowledge and the experience of the previous council. To that end it is desirable to re-elect members such as myself to ensure some stability and local leadership in the new council.

 

StabilityIt is not that long ago that I joined council. I remember my introduction into Council was the biggest learning curve I have experienced in my life. It took some time to acclimatise into the Council structure and ethos.

The new members of the next council will surely find similarly. They will need time to collectively and individually acclimatise to the structure and ethos of Council. While they are, those with knowledge and experience will be needed to guide the newbies through the transition phase.

An exciting prospect to be sure.

A prospect I relish as we transition to a new generation. Hopefully you will place on me the responsibility of providing stability and local leadership to the new brigade.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Time to consider an Unley Cat By-Law

The time I believe is right to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. I am hearing this from rate payers as I walk the streets of the Clarence Park Ward.

 

Cat ByLawI am hearing this from rate payers who have problems with stray cats. Likewise I am hearing from rate payers who are responsible cat lovers. I am hearing it also from ratepayers who are concerned about native wildlife.

….

Earlier this year I represented and advocated for a solution over a cat dispute between neighbours within the Ward. I helped both the cat owner and the aggrieved neighbour negotiate with council for a solution.

The end result was, I believe, a win-win for both.

The City of Unley does not have a cat by-law. It is true we have not had many complaints about nuisance cats. We have had enough however for us to consider an Unley Cat By-Law.

The previous Government recently made changes to South Australia’s laws in dog and cat management. Changes that are being phased in over the next 12 months. These changes include new requirements for micro-chipping, de-sexing and breeder registration.

Beyond this, under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, local councils can introduce By-laws for the management of cats that go beyond this legislative mandate.

Such by-laws may include—

  • limiting the number of cats that may be kept on any premises;
  • fixing periods during which cats must be effectively confined to premises occupied by a person who is responsible for the control of the cat.

Two simple but effective measures that our whole community would surely support. We don’t need I would suggest to go any further than this.

I commit to providing local leadership by encouraging council to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. A simple cat By-Law that everyone can agree to.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Safer Clarence Park Rail Station

A safer Clarence Park Rail Station is high on my agenda. This is one of those Advocating at State & Federal Level issues I spoke of yesterday.

 

Safer Clarence Park Rail StationA safer Clarence Park Rail Station has already been recognised through our local Clarence Park Neighbourhood Watch. Living so close to the rail station, being a frequent user, and conscious of the safety issue I am looking to take this to the State Government.

Prior to the electrification of the Seaford (previously Noarlunga line) the station had self closing gates at all 4 entrances. In spite of the increased safety risk with the use of more silent trains nothing happened. DPTI argued back then, that safety was not an issue.

Attempts in the past with the previous Government to reinstate them were unfortunately not successful. With a new Government and with a new Council comes fresh hope. Hope that appropriate safety comes back to the Clarence Park Rail Station.

This with the Clarence Park Community Centre child care service located directly opposite the station in Black Forest. Likewise with the Clarence Park Community Kindergarten on the other side in Clarence Park.

I have witnessed many train drivers sounding their horns to alert pedestrians about to step out in front of the train. They have done it to me even though I believe I was far enough back and alert to their presence.

This should not be the primary strategy for safe crossing at the Clarence Park Train Station. Like nearby Fairfax Avenue and Victoria Street there should be self closing gates at the Clarence Park Train Station. Like also exists at the Hove and Oaklands Rail Stations.

I will work for you, providing local leadership, if you allow me to work with you to lobby for this safety necessity.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Green Verges rather than Ugly Dolomite

Forever berating the existence of dolomite verges that frequent the City of Unley, I recently inspired a solution offered by Council’s administration. We approved in this term of Council a program designed to encourage green verges rather than ugly dolomite.

 

Planting Verges

Planting Verges

Unlike the outer suburbs of Adelaide finish not at the street kerb but at the property fence line. This discourages home owners from looking after what is, at the end of the day, Council property.

 

 

If your lawn continued to the street kerb you would mow it. Unfortunately there is no apparent obligation where it finishes at your fence line.

Therein lies my dilemma. Past Councils saw dolomite as the solution to property owners not looking after the verge in front of their house. Certainly it presented as a cost effective solution. This is because dolomite does not require anyone to look after it. If looking after the verge is to be a Council responsibility it would add significantly to the rates you pay.

Dolomite is that ugly grey material. It pulls down the value of properties where it is the prominent verge solution.

The solution was to encourage home owners to take ownership and work in partnership with us to green the verges. Accordingly, our commitment was to pull up the dolomite and provide loam in lieu. The home owner contribution was to plant the verges. Examples of what could be done were provided by us in Edmund Street, Unley.

Many more than what we have budgeted for have taken up this opportunity. The uptake has been inspiring. I am looking to make sure this initiative continues.

Should I be re-elected, I can do this by providing local leadership and working for you and with you for a better street amenity. Would you rather green verges rather than ugly dolomite.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034