Providing Local Leadership: Page Park Dog Park

Linked to many other parks and reserves last year an effort to adjust the hours for dogs off leads in the Page Park Dog Park failed.

 

Page Park Dogs

Page Park Dogs

Many parks and reserves in and around Clarence Park cater for children. Goodwood Oval backs up the two dedicated playgrounds at Princess Margaret and Dora Guild Playgrounds. As a result Page Park Reserve has become by default, Page Park Dog Park.

 

Because of this dog owners using Page Park requested we consider extending the hours when dogs could be off leash during the winter months.

Council considered the request. In so doing we (Council) linked Page Park to many reserves throughout the City of Unley. Concerns that extending the hours would interfere with access to the same reserves by children prompted us to reject the proposition.

Anyone who uses or passes by Page Park would be well aware of the heavy usage by dog owners. We owe it to them to reconsider a Page Park Dog Park only (stand alone) with a new motion for extended hours.

I propose to reintroduce the concept of extended hours in the next term of Council. In so doing we will need to reconsider the times. We will need to look into how to avoid extended use interfering with the use of the tennis courts. We will also need to ensure people using the gym equipment are not inconvenienced.

Researched correctly Council will be in a much better position to make a more informed decision. At the same time we can improve the dog friendly infrastructure with things like dog fountains.

With your help I can by providing local leadership work for you to bring about a solution that works for all the users of this park.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Local Economic Prosperity

To achieve local economic prosperity there is much a Council can do. In my time the City of Unley has always been conscious of being alert to ways it can stimulate economic activity.

 

Economic DevelopmentWe have done this via a body called the Unley Business and Economic Development committee (UBED). I have been a member of this committee for most of my time on Council. As a member, I am proud of our commitment to our businesses.

This committee has evolved over time, from a committee whose membership was mostly representatives of the various street traders associations and a couple of Councillors. During the life of the current Council the membership grew to include some independents, people with business and economic background but not associated with the traders. The number of councillors also grew. I promoted both of these changes.

The committee was a reactive committee, responding to initiatives considered either by Council or Council’s administration. The independent members of the current committee did however look to bring their own initiatives in a proactive approach. I had been advocating for similar since I joined the committee.

If returned to Council I will look, in seeking increased local economic prosperity, to encourage this committee to evolve even further. I will seek for this committee to become a more proactive committee, with members representing all our businesses.

 

Unley Business & Economic StrategyOur business and economic strategy is due for review. As part of the review, we need to recognise that our local economic prosperity goes much further than just assisting our local street trader businesses.

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The majority of our businesses are not the shop front businesses of Goodwood, King William and Unley Roads. They are the mum and dad businesses and the start ups operating out of home.

In my opinion, these businesses have been ignored for too long. Ignored simply because we did not know who they were. We now know how we can identify them.

I will be promoting that the UBED committee be a committee only made up of independent members and councillors. A committee looking to promote ways of helping all our businesses. A committee charged with bringing recommendations to Council rather than and in addition to Council bringing ideas to them for their input.

I will be seeking that Council recognises the value of UBED input into a wider range of  issues than normal. In other words to utilise UBED to provide economic insight into a wider range of Council initiatives. Issues not necessarily recognised as contributing to our local economic prosperity.

To advance this, it is my intention to seek election by Council as the presiding member of this new community.

With your support I will get this opportunity.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Waste Not Want Not in a Throw Away Society

Do you remember when your Grandma used to say “Ducky, waste not want not”. Those who lived through the great depression learnt that great lesson to waste not want not.

 

Waste Not Want Not

Waste Not Want Not

We live today in an affluent society. A throwaway society and have had for 40 or more years. Before that time, during the war years and the great depression that separated them, we salvaged all we could as part of that waste not want not paradigm.

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Remember too the Dustin Hoffman movie “The Graduate” when the student Benjamin Braddock was mentored by the wise old man Mr. McGuire that “plastics are the future”. How accurate was that prediction that plastics would be the future.

With plastics has come a waste challenge however unlike anything that anyone would have imagined.

This is one of the biggest challenges facing modern communities. We all know the gravity of the problem. We all need to be part of the solution.

The lead in addressing waste must come from the State Government. Our current State Government will hopefully expand on the successes of past state governments, going back to the days of putting a deposit on drink containers.

Councils can provide local leadership.

They can lobby the State Government, particularly with the China ban on taking our yellow bin waste.

Councils can lead by example by reducing what we contribute to the proliferation of plastic waste. We can, as we have just decided, not provide plastics straws at events we run. Likewise we can investigate providing filtered water in all our facilities in lieu of bottled water, and other like strategies.

The Community can play a part too.

You can have a waste not want not paradigm by be being more discerning with how you dispose of your rubbish, on what goods you buy that may be a single use product. You can also participate in determining issues that your local leadership can pursue.

The other way you can help is by electing candidates that can provide the local leadership for the City of Unley to be, in turn, a leader in the local government industry when it comes to waste disposal.

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

Heritage Preservation at risk under Government’s State Planning Policies

The current Government is intent on rolling out the planning reforms of the previous Government. Communities need to be aware of the policies and procedures being proposed. They need also to know of a lack of heritage preservation therein.

Renewing Our Heritage Planning

 

Your council, as we have with all the stages thus far, is responding to the current step in the process. This process is establishing a raft of draft State Planning Policies. Following on from my earlier blog post today I have been reviewing the City of Unley’s response to the draft.

I am concerned that the Government, like their predecessors, have little regard for local nuances. There appears to be disappointing lack of regard, importance and comprehensive appreciation for heritage by the State. This notwithstanding heritage preservation is a long-standing and well supported priority by the community.

There appears to me a clear focus that they are looking for a universal, one size fits all strategy.

For instance, the scope of the policies in respect of heritage preservation only refer to ‘use’ of places and indigenous heritage. As a minimum there is a need for policies that support way more than this including but limited to:

  • Confirmation from the State that they support for cultural heritage.
  • Recognition of the importance of conserving built heritage.
  • Recognition of both state and local built heritage ‘places’ and ‘areas’ of value, ie Historic Conservation Zones and Contributory Items.

We (you and I) need to fight for better than this.  A greater weight than appears to be being considered needs to be given to heritage preservation. Good planning policy should not ignore heritage.

I am prepared to provide local leadership. A fight against what appears to be an illogical paradigm that preserving our heritage, whether cultural or built form is contrary to sensitive and diverse future development.

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

 

Providing Local Leadership: Protecting Heritage and character areas

Protecting heritage and character areas is something the City of Unley has fought hard for. This was our first goal in working with the Government when they first started revising the Development Act.

 

Renewing Our Heritage Planning

Protecting heritage and character areas was our first focus when the previous State Government introduced their wish to change the planning system. In return we guaranteed we could provide the numbers of additional housing to meet their 30 year plan.

Afterwards, the then Minister challenged the concept of character housing. The current Government appears to have a similar view to him.

They appear to have a view that demolition of local heritage buildings be by a simple merit based consideration. Considerations not much different to standard housing. Their focus right now is not only on local heritage but on character housing zones.

It appears the Government is looking to water down the provisions of protecting local heritage and character zones. They are looking to make demolition easier. They see the answer being the use of generic rules. Rules that in my opinion may work in one area but not reasonably in another, such as Unley.

 

The current Council has continued to lobby for protections seen as important by Unley’s community. The new Council will need to continue the fight.

The new council will need briefing as soon as is practicable. Immediately after they are commissioned in order that we can continue the fight is preferable. This whole planning overhaul is moving in a way that limits our ability to respond on behalf of our community.

The new council, in this background, needs to be provided an opportunity to understand the history, the process and the schedule going forward so as to contribute appropriately. Accordingly, I have already prompted our Management to engage the new Council immediately they are commissioned.

With the aim of protecting heritage and character areas, if re-elected, I will  continue in providing local leadership to guide the new Council through the lobbying yet to do.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Working For You, advocating for and representing you.

One of the greatest pleasures I experience as a Councillor is when I am working for you directly. When I am advocating for and representing you with the bureaucracy.

 

A councillor has two roles. One of these according the Local Government Act is.

as a person elected to the 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.

Advocating for & representing youSo, when I am not in the chamber participating in the deliberations of Council, I am working for you to address concerns you may have with council. I am helping you to navigate through the bureaucracy. Advocating for and representing you.

I love this part of the job. As much as I enjoy the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf, helping you is the most rewarding.

The bureaucracy can be an intimidating, sometimes remote beast that can be challenging at the best of times. My experience on Council, indeed my relationships with the staff, allow me to mentor and guide you when it seems like we don’t care.

Sometimes my assistance will simply be guiding you in how to communicate to Council and its staff. Often it will be to represent you and advocate for you.

Many of you have asked for my assistance in communicating with Council. Working for you and with you has resulted in numerous successes. While not successful on all occasions, I am proud that I have won many a concession for and on your behalf.

That said, as many of you know I have a passion for improving the communication between you and council. I will be blogging shortly on my mission to ensure training of our staff in communication skills.

If I achieve this you should not need my intervention as much. Gee. I might do myself out of a job. Until then and beyond I will continue to be advocating for and representing you.

 

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

 

 

Waste collection- Fortnightly or Weekly

It seems every year the fortnightly or weekly bin debate recurs. This has been the storey dominating the media cycle today. So frequently what we continue to hear is it is all about cost saving.

Council waste binsI have entered this debate frequently in the past. Each time I have advocated that the question should not be about reducing the blue bin but about increasing the frequency of the green bin collection.

Our food stuff, the smelly stuff, the stuff that attracts ants should go in the green bin. We should therefore be talking about this bin being collected weekly. Conversely the blue bin, which goes to landfill, should be fortnightly.

In other words this should not be a debate focused on fortnightly or weekly. It should be about green verses blue.

An opinion incidentally I expressed today to Channel 9 when interviewed by chance in my own street.

We believe however and are being told the blue bin contains the smelly, ant attracting rubbish. This means that we as a society are not interested in getting biodegradable rubbish away from landfill.

It’s important to note, in spite of what you may be hearing, is that the LGA does not yet have an endorsed position on waste collection frequency. Until its member councils are consulted, the LGA cannot hold a position. This has not yet happened. All it is doing is trying to start the conversation.

The State Government must take the lead as the frequency of collections is set in their legislation. Any position that the LGA (on behalf of councils) might take, they (we) can only lobby the State Government to consider changing the collection.

Based on comments however made by both the Government and the Opposition today, it appears unlikely that there is support in Parliament for changes to the current system. This means they are not interested in taking the lead in better waste disposal.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Managing Higher Density Development.

Managing higher density development in Clarence Park Ward commenced a few years back in the City of Unley .

 

Managing Higher DensityIn particular the suburb of Black Forest was under threat of a development plan encouraging extreme high density development potential. Another suburb similarly exposed was Clarence Park.

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Providing Leadership most often is not determining for others what is best for them. It is providing them with the chance to make that judgement themselves. Beyond that, it is ensuring they take the opportunity to represent themselves.

This is what I did, along with my co-councillor Jennie Boisvert, when DPA2 was out for public consultation.

On the development front, the new and current government is proceeding in the same direction as its predecessor. In so doing we will see the evolution in the next period of time of the SA Planning Library.

As the Government works on the SA Planning Library, Black Forest and Clarence Park will again come under the microscope. The Planning Library is all about having generic rules that apply across all  of suburbia.

Unless we work together (you & I) at the appropriate time local nuances will potentially be ignored. By providing local leadership I will help fight for a sensible planning solution.

As in the past when first challenged with higher density, I will again work for you and work with you. And with the Government to seek the best solution that works for all.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

Providing Local Leadership: Independent Elected Members not Party Political affiliates.

Speculation is high that party politics have entered into the City of Adelaide elections. As a result, it is time to reflect on what has been great about local government in South Australia.

That is that our councils are filled with independent elected members not party political affiliates. Certainly, this is the way it should be in Local Government.

Indpendent CandidateLet me start with stating that I do not have and never have had any party political affiliations.

In my 8 years on Council there has also been no evidence of party politics in the Unley chamber.

So, the members in that time did not have any party political affiliation. Certainly, if they did, it was never apparent to me.

Elected members, having said, have put their hand up for State Parliament. These members have by so doing indicated a leaning one way or another politically.

The former Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, did recently run for state parliament of the Liberal Party. His affiliation however never impacted, in my opinion, in the chamber. As Mayor, his role was limited to chairing the meetings. From memory he only ever had a vote on a handful of occasions, to break a deadlock.

We read this week that the Greens have deplored the City of Adelaide Lord Mayor allegedly endorsing Liberal affiliated candidates in their election.  So, they are apparently endorsing members of their party as candidates.

Do you want your local government representatives being truly independent? What about keeping party politics out of the Council Chamber? Do you want independent elected members, not party political affiliates?

If you do, I encourage you to seek a commitment from the candidates in your ward that they are independent.

PS  Vote 1 Don Palmer for a truly independent candidate.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Learn to follow in order to Lead

I have long been a believer that you need to learn to follow before you can learn to lead. Hopefully I have lived that philosophy.

Learn to FollowThis means being able to listen. Whether it is providing local leadership by participating in the deliberations of Council or representing you in your dealing with Council I need to know what you believe the community needs.

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Once again, hopefully I have been a good listener. Of course, only you can testify whether I have or not.

I know I have made mistakes along the way. On occasion maybe I have not listened that well.

I am here to undertake that it will remain my objective to listen to you and to take your lead before representing you.

You will find in this “providing local leadership” series of blog posts that my focus is to lead the deliberations. To have no set position on any issue. In other words I am recognising there is usually more than one view point. That we need to consider all the viewpoints before coming to a decision on policy.

As you read through this series of blog posts I would appreciate your thoughts on the topics in question and others not mentioned. If you have thoughts I want to hear them. Happy to receive them before the election, or after. Seeking your views does not stop with the election.

In providing your views please relay them to me either by phoning me or by emailing me at [email protected]. Unfortunately Local Government Election legislation forbids me from displaying your thoughts digitally in the lead up to the election if they can be seen as designed to influence the result of an election.