Lachlan Clyne finally resigning as Mayor of the City of Unley

It’s Official. Lachlan Clyne is finally resigning as Mayor of the City of Unley, effective at the end of this month.

 

As most of us are aware, he is the Liberal Candidate for the seat of Badcoe in the upcoming State Election. In resigning as Mayor he can now focus all his energies on getting elected.

This has been the worst kept secret in Unley for some time now. Many amongst us believed he had already resigned. This is not the case. He was only on leave between September and November. During this time, I deputised (as Deputy Mayor) for him at Council meetings. We shared civic duties.

He returned to his Mayoral duties in December chairing the December meeting. He will chair the upcoming January meeting. Again, we shared the civic duties.

I would like, on behalf of our Community, to thank Lachlan for his service to The City of Unley. We wish you well, in whatever the future holds for you.

This Council can be proud of what it has achieved during Lachlan’s time as Mayor.

Following on from the establishment of the previous Council’s 2033 Community Plan we painstakingly master planned the various components of the plan. We have, and certainly in the more recent of times, implemented many of the plan’s initiatives.

He will be missed by many in the community of Unley.

As regular readers of this blog would know, I announced in my blog on November 27 that I have put my hand up to become our Acting Mayor in his absence.

I do so to avoid confusion for the many in our community who believed that Lachlan had already resigned as Mayor and I had taken over. I believe it is in everyone’s best interest that we present a picture of continuity and stability of community leadership.

People Power Does Work.

Don’t bother responding to this public consultation. You are wasting your time. They don’t listen to you. Thought that? Heard that?

I am here to tell you that People Power Does Work!

 

The Planning Minister recently advised that 4 of the “specific sites” recently proposed for zoning changes were not included in the approved development plan amendment. He cited significant community opposition as one of the motivators behind his decision.

He also agreed with the reasons given for opposition to those sites expressed by the local community.

The community says no

People power does work.

One of the sites was at Unley Road Malvern. Not many in the community were aware of the proposed changes. Communication by the Government was poor and the reason for this. One of the local elected members for Council, Cr Michael Rabbitt took it upon himself to alert the local community.

Jennie and I did this during DPA 2 a few years back. We made sure that everyone that would be affected by the proposed changes knew that the changes were proposed. We also encouraged, as did Michael this time, the community to put their views forward.

Speaking with Malvern residents yesterday at a celebratory street party I heard how those who spoke out were told by some they were wasting their time. They were told they were that no-one ever listens, that they won’t change the Government’s mind.

Wrong. They were listened to. People power does work. Not only were the listened to, they had the ultimate influence over the minister’s final decision. This, with 3 others  was excluded.

The same occurred with three other sites in other Council areas.

It also occurred with DPA 2 I mentioned above. It occurred with the recent Unley Central DPA where both the Council and the Minister took notice.

People power does work.

Let me finish with a question for you. What is the worst thing that could happen if you don’t speak up?

Should we repeal the code of conduct for council members.

The code of conduct for council members is not working many believe. Scrap it some say. We should repeal the code of conduct for council members.

I agree we do need to remove the opportunity for frivolous or vexatious claims to divert us from more important issues. We also need to strengthen the Code to deal with the more serious offending. My final statement in my last blog was the system needs an overhaul.

There is evidence that members have used the Code to bully their colleagues. There is also evidence of persons outside of Council using the Code to make false and misleading claims.

Investigating claims requires significant resources and funding. Resources that are better put to building our community in the case of such claims.

The Premier recently announced an intention to repeal the code of conduct for council members, possibly because of this.

There is another side to this argument. The actions of a handful of elected members are so grave there remains a need for a system to deal with it.

So, while there is angst concerning the frivolous, the Local Government Association (LGA) is advocating for tougher measures in the Act. In other words, they are advocating for the existing code to be improved and strengthened.

A stronger code of conduct with increased penalties for breaches will provide councils with better tools to address serious – albeit isolated – behavioural issues as they arise. The ability to bring to account those that bring our industry into disrepute. At the same time an opportunity for minor behavioural breaches not to be used to bring us into disrepute.

In this background the Premier has announced he is putting off his plans to repeal it. Presumably he is waiting on talks with the LGA.

We should repeal the code of conduct for council members.

In Government Liberals Demand Council Travel Transparency

The Liberals Demand Council Travel Transparency if they win Government in March.

Travel-Allowance

They will make it mandatory for all South Australian councils to publish travel expenses in their annual report to increase transparency and accountability. They will Demand Council travel transparency.

Seems their answer to the State’s woes rest with fixing Local Government.

You get no argument from me regarding transparency. I demand Council transparency too.

All Governments should be transparent in all they do. It is important that those who have the responsibility of spending rate payer (or taxpayer) funds be subject to public scrutiny.

My colleagues here in the City of Unley concur with the principle. Cr Bob Schnell and Cr Mike Hudson have both welcomed the move as can be seen on their blogs. My Co-councillor Jennie Boisvert has likewise responded. Bob & Jennie have questioned them however.

 

It sounds like we have no such obligation now. Wrong!

Section 79 of the Local Government Act 1999 already requires the Council’s CEO to keep a register of all allowances and expenses paid to their elected members. Section 7 of the Local Government (Members Allowances and Benefits) Regulations 2010 then goes on to say that this is required on a quarterly basis.

Unley’s own David Pisoni said a check of 19 metropolitan councils showed just one disclosed travel undertaken by elected members. I wonder which Council he is referring to.

He can’t be talking about the councils of 6 Mayors I talked to yesterday. We all do. This group of Mayors are of the belief the Liberals see fixing Local Government as their priority in Government, rather than the workings of State Parliament. Hmmmm!

This may be why we keep hearing that the public, in a background where they hate the government and see Mr X as looking to fix Parliament, see them as irrelevant.

Community participation in government community engagement programs do impact

The benefit of community participation in government community engagement programs can be seen behind the headlines in yesterday’s Advertiser “New Laws pave way for $200m in high-rise projects.

The report goes on to indicate that Adelaide is set to go sky high. The State Government has approved taller building height limits for eight hubs across the metropolitan area. Actually 8 specific sites would be a more accurate description. This means four sites in total were removed from the DPA, including one in Unley.

The community engagement on the Development Plan Amendment (DPA) covered twelve sites, 4 of which are in the City of Unley. The sites removed were all hotly contested by the relevant local community. That included our own site 7 at Unley Road Malvern.

 “I have not approved rezoning for the 4 sites where the community was strongly opposed to the rezoning, and where impacts on adjoining residents would be more difficult to manage,” Planning Minister John Rau said.

“The size and location of those sites meant that the interface with existing houses would be challenging.”

His observations of the impact of such development at Malvern are “spot on”.

Had it not been though for the community reaction of the local residents would likely not have been made. Truthfully, they are that obvious the sites should not have been considered in the first place.

 A victory therefore for people power. But only because they stood up and spoke. It is rare for the community to stand up at the DPA stage of the process. Rather the end of the process when an actual development is likely not at serious variance to the approved plan.

Cr Michael Rabbitt is to be congratulated for alerting the residents in this area. This is like Jennie and I did a couple of years back when DPA2 was on the books and with similar result.

It will be interesting to see how the local residents react when a development application is lodged at the other 8 sites, including the 3 in Unley.

It’s all go with the Goodwood Oval Grandstand with Council signing off.

It’s all go with the Goodwood Oval Grandstand with Council signing off on the State Government’s grant.

Council unanimously accepted the following motion on Monday night. It’s all go with the Goodwood Oval Grandstand as a result.

In my opinion this is great news for the western Unley community.

The Goodwood Oval Precinct is utilised well by the community. The Goodwood Saints Football Club and the Goodwood Roos Cricket Club are a big part of this. Both are leaders in their respective fields.

With the activity that exists, the facility deserves better than the current accommodation .

As acting presiding member in the absence of our Mayor, I was unable to move or contribute to the debate. It turned out that this was not needed. Your elected members were strong in their belief on the way forward.

For the Grandstand

The decision means that we can now move from the concept drawings we have now to detailed drawings. Council will work with the Department of Sport & Recreation and continue to work with the clubs to make to that end. Our community will be engaged as part of this process to.

The motion recommended by our administration was amended on the night to accept a 2-storey solution. Members were of a similar view to the clubs as to which model best suited, not only the clubs needs, but the community at large.

For Tennis Lighting and Millswood Croquet

While it’s all go with the Goodwood Oval Grandstand, the motion also endorses both of these projects.

The focus is to secure additional outside funding for both. This is needed as we have redirected the funding we allocated for these projects to the Grandstand to secure the State Government Grant.

To secure outside funding more work will be needed on the concept designs to ensure it is fit for purpose and affordable.

Putting my Hand up for Mayor in Council’s January meeting.

With the pending resignation of our Mayor Lachlan Clyne I am putting my Hand up to be Mayor leading up to 2018 November local government elections.

As I have blogged previously Lachlan Clyne, our Mayor, intends to resign in January. He is doing this in his pursuit of seeking the seat of Badcoe in the March State elections. The timing of the announcement is designed to avoid a costly bi-election.

Assuming he does resign, Council will appoint from within its ranks a replacement rather there be a bi-election. Section 54 (8) of the Local Government Act refers

If a casual vacancy occurs in the office of mayor—
(a) on or after 1 January of a year in which a periodic election is due to be held
(and before polling day for that periodic election); or
(b) within 7 months before polling day for a general election (other than a
periodic election) (the date of that polling day being known at that time),
a member chosen by the council may act in the office of mayor until the conclusion of the election.

I have confirmed to my colleagues in my written report to the November Council meeting that it is my intention to nominate at the January meeting.

I do so believing that Council needs continuity in the role of Mayor. Given my involvement in the last three months, my continuing in the role until the next election will provide I believe in the eyes of the public a stable governance for Council. For stability.

I have enjoyed taking on the responsibility for filling in for the Mayor over the last three months. Continuing in the role makes sense. Rather than someone else  starting from scratch for the ensuing the mere 7 months leading up to the caretaker mode and the election.

And I have the time, the energy and the enthusiasm to give to the role. So I am putting my hand up.

More than just a new Grandstand

The recent announcement in the fight for the seat of Badcoe of a $ 2.5 million State Government grant to Council is about more than just a new Grandstand. It is much more.

Locals are aware of the push by the candidates of both the major parties’ candidates for a new Grandstand at Goodwood Oval. From a Council perspective it is about much more than just a new Grandstand.

Tennis World (Goodwood Oval) Millswood

As evidenced by many posts on this blog site, Council has been working on a master plan for the Goodwood/Millswood Precinct for some time. Since that initial public consultation, we have had extensive consultations with the clubs.

Balancing the needs of clubs on both sides of the Seaford Rail Line has been a challenge. We recently determined the priorities from the many opportunities identified for the precinct.

Millswood Croquet Club

Before talking Goodwood Oval, we have identified a priority need to provide a new club room for the Millswood Croquet Club. Readers of this blog may remember me publically expressing previously the opinion that the current club room is a death trap. So, a new club room (some 245 m2 compared to the current 145 m2) is proposed.

Funding for the projects will now have to be re-sourced. We allocated $ 1.2 m for all works in the precinct. Allocating $ 1.0 m of this to the grandstand will leave a hole in the funding bucket.

Even for Goodwood Oval it is more than just a new Grandstand. Three projects have been identified for Goodwood Oval. Outside the Grandstand we also have identified the need to:

  • Upgrade the Tennis SA court lighting. This project is designed to prevent light spillage from the tennis courts to surrounding houses and the streets.
  • Provide a community area complete with access pathways in the north-western corner of the Oval surrounds. This should encourage more people to use this part of the precinct.

All the options, more than just a new grandstand, will be considered at our next Council meeting, tomorrow night.

 

Golden Gnomes are popping up around the City of Unley

Golden Gnomes are popping up around the City of Unley. They are being received with enthusiasm from residents who have landscaped their verges.

As part of Councils’s Greening Verges initiative to convert dolomite verges, Golden Gnomes are popping up around the City of Unley. A number of our residents have taken advantage of incentives we have provided to green their verges. We felt it was important to recognise some of those residents.
 
Students from the Concordia College Year 12 came to our assistance. Their community service volunteer program have assisted us to paint 30 small gnomes, develop thank you tags and select recipients.
The students, in teams of two, selected their favourite greened verge in each of our Wards. Five random streets were selected per ward and their favourite greening rewarded. Gnomes and thank you’s were provided by the students during the last week.
 
The thank you tags say the following:
“Congratulations you have been awarded a Golden Gnome!
Thank you for gardening your verge and helping make the City of Unley green and beautiful. This recognition project is a collaboration between the City of Unley and students at Concordia College. This Golden Gnome was decorated and delivered by Year 12 students from Concordia College and their involvement is one of the ways the students are serving the Unley community through their Pastoral Care Program.”
 
This is a small but fun project. It acknowledges a handful of residents that have been gardening and maintaining their verges prior to council incentives being offered. The students have enjoyed the project and learnt about the importance of plants in urban areas.

Emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated

In the absence of our Mayor, I attended today’s Local Government Association AGM. It was a good day for me, and I expect everyone in our community will be pleased with the result.

On behalf of Unley Council I was able to address a problem with our State’s Development Assessment procedures that create conflict between groups of people causing emotional stress. A chance to do something around opposing emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated

We put forward a motion on the use of independent experts for assessment of regulated trees. The aim of the motion was to provide more clarity and assurance around the assessment of regulated and significant trees under the Development Regulations.

It allows people to believe council is allowing the removal of trees that are healthy, and not posing a threat to person or property. At the same time others can see council as ignoring the safety of people (particularly children), in favour of keeping trees.

This comes from there being potentially two reports with conflicting expert observations.

The motion below was put forward by me on the day and seeks for the emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated with a view to avoiding conflict and disappointment. It had a 90.9% support from those councils present.

 

That the Annual General Meeting requests the LGA to: 

  1. investigate with councils and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure the development of a Planning Circular which outlines the ‘special circumstances’ which should apply to request an expert or technical report relating to a tree; and 
  1. advocate for arborists involved in the assessment of Significant and Regulated Trees to be included in the Accredited Professionals scheme and Code of Practice to be established under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act.

We now await the investigations.

Devastating blow across the bow in the fight for Badcoe

A win for the Labor Candidate for Badcoe, Jayne Stinson. Armed with a 900 plus signature petition, she has successfully lobbied her party to back her campaign to upgrade the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.

Goodwood Oval Grandstand

The State Government’s announcement today of providing funding to Council for improvements to the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sporting Complex is, I suggest, profound. For the Liberals, this is surely a devastating blow across the bow in the fight for Badcoe.

The Liberals and their candidate (our Mayor), Lachlan Clyne have had the rug pulled out from under them. This the Government has done, by promising the funds now. Yes! To be paid now, prior to the election. A commitment that cannot be undone after the election. A commitment I find hard to see the Liberals matching.

This is welcome news to the City of Unley’s western community. That is subject to any conditions we are unaware of. Readers of this blog would be aware of the work Council has done on master planning of this precinct. You would also be aware of my efforts to ensure the best possible result for our community.

Jayne Stinson, entertained by Goodwood Saints President Craig Scott.

Looking back, I am happy that I took an early and ongoing leadership role in promoting (through the upcoming State election) the project as one warranting State Government grant funding. After introducing the project to Jayne Stinson as soon as she gained preselection back in March, I took the opportunity to introduce her to the Presidents of the Sporting Clubs. Their subsequent conversations have reinforced Council’s views of the needs. And then some.

In the meantime, we have been hard at work on our Master Plan.

We invited and received comment from our community some two years ago. Protracted discussions with all the precinct’s sporting clubs followed.

We are close to having a near shovel ready project. Good timing it would seem.

Watch this space for further information including Council’s response once we receive the official conformation and detail of the Grant.

Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand

Recent media headlines have identified that the Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand.

Goodwood Oval Grandstand

I am pleased that both the Labor (Jayne Stinson) and the Liberal (Lachlan Clyne) candidates are focused on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand. For someone acutely aware of the state of the current grandstand facility this is heartwarming.

Some of the credit/blame for Jayne’s focus is probably due to me. I canvassed among other things redevelopment of the Goodwood Oval Grandstand when I first met her. This was a week or so after her candidature was announced earlier this year. I then followed up by introducing her to the Presidents of the resident football and cricket clubs. She has taken this prompting seriously, conducting her own survey.

Lachlan Clyne, as Mayor of Unley, is of course only too aware of the state of the Grandstand. He is also aware, up until recently, of what work Council has put into determining a way forward.

Trouble is the candidates have been so keen they have been replicating what council has already done.

They have both been conducting their own public surveys. Surveys designed to see how the locals feel about replacing the current grandstand with new club rooms. Surveys on one option only.

Millswood Croquet Club rooms

Council did this as the first stage of our master planning for the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Reserve some 4 years ago. This has allowed us to identify the priority projects and consider options. Something the candidates are not doing.

There have also been reports that they are publically asking Council how much we would be prepared to contribute to the redevelopment. Hang On Guys! This and Millswood is a Council owned facility.

As the Battle for Badcoe focuses on the Goodwood Oval Grandstand we ask the candidates how much their parties are prepared to contribute to this and the other three projects.

We will shortly, hopefully at the November Council meeting, have options available to consider. Options that have been costed for all three projects to come out of the Master Plan. That includes the Grandstand, the tennis lighting and the Croquet club rooms.

From memory we have committed around  $1.0 m in our long term financial plan. We await on how much the future State Government is prepared to contribute to our project.

 

Football Clubs (in this case Sturt Football Club) inspire and lift a community

There is nothing quite like sport to inspire and lift a community. And in South Australia and Adelaide the sport with the capacity to inspire and lift is Aussie Rules (AFL) Footy.

This is what we have seen this week with the back to back success of the Sturt Football Club. We in Unley get to experience and taste the euphoria that comes with Premiership success for the second consecutive year.

Sturt players holding the Thomas Seymour Hill Cup.

The Sturt Football Club yesterday defeated Port Adelaide by the slenderest of margins. They got to lift high the Thomas Seymour Smith Cup in triumph. Final Scores

Sturt                         7.8         50

Port Adelaide      7.7         49

Much of my pre-Council community service was in the world of sport and in particular, football. I know only too well the benefits that sport and certainly AFL football brings to a community.

Sporting clubs are some of the strongest community organisations in Australia and South Australia. Football Clubs are the best example of this.

They bring together people of all types. They attract people of all social standings and bring them together. We see CEOs and assembly line workers work together for the benefit of their club. Male and Female and people of different cultures, all arm in arm with a shared passion.

Football Clubs, and Sturt is no exception, give to the community in numerous ways. As I said earlier they inspire and lift a community. They provide hope to their community.

In the lead-up to the recent Grand Final we saw double blue coloured balloons lining Unley Road, King William Road and Goodwood Road. There was a buzz in the air along these streets. That will multiply this week on the back of a success of which the community will take ownership.

Hours away from closing their doors just a few years ago, this club (both on and off the field) epitomises everything you wish to see in your community and an example for all communities to follow.

Congratulations Sturt Footy Club.

 

I have Joined the Unley Actors Guild

Our Mayor has gone on leave. In his absence I have joined what I have affectionately called the Unley Actors Guild. In other words, as Deputy Mayor, I have now become Acting Mayor.

In my 7 years at Council I have oft observed the following procedure.

  • A member of our Administration sends me an email;
  • I respond immediately to this email;
  • My email attracts a prepared response to say that member of Administration is on leave and if my matter is urgent contact “x”;
  • In contacting “x” I find he or she is wearing the “Acting Manager of this or that tag”.

This I was unfamiliar with until joining Council. In private enterprise and more appropriately in an SME I simply never experienced anyone wearing an “acting title”.

Little did I realise that one day I would join this club, courtesy of the Mayor’s decision to run for the Seat of Badcoe.

Mayor Lachlan Clyne, not that he has to unless and until elected to the seat of Badcoe, has decided he will resign as Mayor in January. The timing of his decisions, both to go on leave and to resign, is to avoid Unley having to fund a bi-election for Mayor in the lead up to our own election. If he were to resign in 2017 now we would be forced to have a bi-election.

In his absence I (as Deputy Mayor this year) will join the Unley Actors Guild and take his place. I will have this role until sometime in January.

Once he has resigned, Council will hold an internal election. We will elect from within our number both an Acting Mayor and a Deputy Mayor to see out the tenure of the current Council. Our elections are due also next year, in November.

Signing Off: Deputy (Acting) Mayor.

Member of the Unley Actors Guild

 

 

Jayne Stinson engages with our local community in the Battle for Badcoe.

Hot on the heels of my blog recently on a 3rd candidate in the battle for Badcoe, endorsed Labor candidate Jayne Stinson engages with our local community in the Battle for Badcoe.

She held two public meetings yesterday. The first was held at Dora Guild Playground; the second at Page Park. I attended both.

Of interest was the presence of the President’s or immediate past presidents of three of our local premier sporting organisations.

Jayne was entertained by President Craig at the Goody Saints v University match

Goodwood Saints Football Club and Goodwood Cricket Club promoted their joint pursuit of female participation in their respective sports. Both clubs are leaders in their competitions and are active in female participation. Later Jayne spent the afternoon as guest of the Footy Club watching the “A” grade beat and pass University in the top five.

They are both keen to see renovations to the Grandstand. Renovations that are long overdue. Renovations that have become urgent given female participation in both Football and Cricket. They lobbied for grant funding for Council’s proposed upgrades.

Millswood Bowling Club and, by way of a phone call to me to promote their needs, Millswood Croquet Club promoted their respective grant funding needs. The Bowling Club is in urgent need for upgraded female toilet facilities and likewise a need for disabled facilities. The Croquet Club in need of new premises.

All four have embraced the principles of Council’s Active Unley strategy. This has resulted in the needs promoted.

Their lobbying backs up my lobbying with Jayne earlier this year.

Other issues included looking at safety of the pedestrian rail crossings at the Clarence Park Rail Station. The introduction of quieter and faster trains while removing gates has created a more dangerous environment than ever before noting this is a Station that has previously seen a death of a young child.

In the meantime, I am looking to catch up with the 3rd candidate later this week, Cr John Woodward.

What is the Value of the Trees of Unley

Yesterday I focused my blog writing on the extreme emotions around trees. Today I look at the value of the trees of Unley.

As I blogged yesterday trees, and therefore the trees of Unley, are both an asset and yet a liability.

Trees are a considerable asset to the community on many levels. They are an important element of the rich culture heritage of Unley. Our trees compliment the environment. They enhance our enjoyment of open spaces by making them more comfortable and pleasant. Just as importantly they provide a wide range of other benefits. Benefits such as shade, cooling and habitat for wildlife.

Conversely, trees constitute a potential risk to our community. There are several risks to both property and more importantly to person. The older they get the greater the risk. These risks include from both underground and aboveground.

Underground risks include movement causing damage by lifting to paths, roads and to buildings. The movement can create trip hazards in our vast footpath network. Above ground dropping limbs can cause property damage and (as highlighted yesterday) are a risk to personal safety.

Like other assets, such as buildings, trees require considered and ongoing maintenance. As with buildings this maintenance should be designed to maximise the benefits they provide and to minimise risks.

So what is the value of the trees of Unley?

Our Tree Strategy Policy 2016-19 is taking a proactive stand toward maintaining and growing our urban forest.

The core of this is recognising for an urban forest to be sustainable there must be a wide age-distribution of trees to create a cycle of succession.

Council’s urban forest has 26,000 trees. 23,000 of these trees are located in some 450 streets. The remaining 3,000 of these trees are in our parks and gardens.

A recent audit of our trees indicates that 20% of our trees realistically require replacement in the next five to ten years. More urgently 7% of our trees (1,570) will require replacement in the next 5 years.

During this time, we plan to remove 1,924 trees. More importantly we aim to plant 2,806 new trees. Rather than just replace trees we have determined are in need, we have identified opportunities to plant trees where none exist now.

 

Trees bring out emotions at the extremes. Often only at the extremes.

Anyone following the media in Adelaide would be aware that trees bring out emotions at the extremes. Often only at the extremes.

There have been many a local media article identifying these extremes recently. In particular, we see this repeated in Adelaide’s inner suburban areas. We have seen the emotions rise to the extreme at both ends of the scale.

At one extreme, we saw the recent save our tree campaign focused on the Government’s redevelopment of Glenside Hospital. At the other end, we often see people expressing concern for the safety of their kids.

We have seen it regularly in the City of Unley with development applications for removal of significant trees.

One such recent application before Council’s Development Assessment Panel has typified that trees bring out emotions at the extremes. Our Panel considered one such application recently.

On that night the gallery was full of people desperate to save the tree the subject of the application. Emotions ran high on the night. Their energy and their emotions unfortunately resulted in their interrupting the proceedings. One unidentified person then graffitied the front fence of the applicant.

This prompted a storey in the Eastern Courier Messenger and in the Advertiser. The storey, in turn, prompted a significant social media response at the other extreme.

Those responding were overwhelmingly of the view that trees should take second place in the hierarchy to humans. They were just as passionate. Any hint (no matter how slight) of there being a risk was enough to say down with the tree.

Definitely, trees bring out emotions at the extremes. And there seems to be no middle ground. It is either one extreme or the other.

Council’s are often caught in the middle here, unable to be seen in good light. Like an umpire at a sporting event, always wrong according to half the supporters.

 

Council Development Assessment Panels set to change

Word is that 1 August 2017 will see the commencement of the assessment panel provisions of the Planning Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act). 1 October 2017 is set to be the designated day for the new system.

This means changes for our own Development Assessment Panel (DAP). First up, the Council Development Assessment Panel will now be known as a Council Assessment Panel (CAP).

The change though with the most impact will be the change to the membership of the Panel.

The current membership of the Panel is 7 people. Elected members fill three of the positions on the panel. The remaining four members are filled by independents appointed by Council.

The effective number will reduce to no more than 5 from 1 October however. More to the point, there can now only be one elected member of Council on the Panel.

Membership of the panel will now have to be reviewed by Council. It means we must reduce the elected member representation.  We can and I expect will retain the 4 independent members on our Panel.

We will need to consider keeping only one of the current elected members on the panel or starting again. The opportunity for all elected members now exists to nominate for membership of our panel.

Last night I attended Unley’s Development Assessment Panel meeting last night as a spectator. Interestingly there were two apologies dropping our 7 strong team down to 5.

As a result, if the new Council Assessment Panel was in operation 2 apologies would see the members of the Panel in attendance reduce to 3. Members of the Public were disturbed that the number on the night (5) was too small a number.

Finally, as has always been the case, assessment panels will be relevant authorities by virtue of the PDI Act, not because they receive delegated authority from another body, such as a council or the Minister.

 

Is the Gourmet Gala too expensive to run?

Should we disassociate ourselves from future TDU’s. I ask everyone a separate question. Is it the TDU you have a concern with or the Gourmet Gala with its cost of $ 266,000 per event?

In other words, is the Gourmet Gala too expensive to run? Should we continue to run the Gourmet Gala?

The Gourmet Gala is held the night before a stage start for the TDU. It certainly does compliment the race start the next morning, making for an extended celebration.

 

But again, is it the TDU?

The Gala does require an investment by council of some $ 266,000 to stage. This is a significant investment.

But is it? It is actually in the order of just $ 10.00 for every rate payer, whether residential or commercial.

Some see this as focused on an elite group, others just a big party that we can do without. Others, a party we could hold at another time, at another venue, at far less cost than $ 266,000. A solid argument.

If it is all about party time in Unley we certainly can look at doing it at less cost. The Unley Way to go held many moons ago on Unley Oval is evidence of this.

The gourmet gala many do not realise goes well beyond this however.

The Gourmet Gala attracts people from within and from outside to King William Road as a destination. Up to 30,000 at a time which is far from an elite group.

This, in turn, must be economically good for business in King William Road. We are told by qualified experts that it has provided an economic benefit to the strip of over $ 5.0m to the City of Unley between 2011 and 2017. An average of close to $ 730,000 per event.

Some traders disagree, losing money on the night. These traders I suggest do not see the marketing potential of such an event. That is a debate however for another time.

So, when this comes up again, let us focus on what we are actually debating. Is it the TDU or is it the Gourmet Gala? Or is it both?

The above is far from an argument justifying the Gourmet Gala.

There is much more to consider as we consider any future commitment to the Gala. This conversation I think needs to expand into at least a 4th post just to explore alternatives to the Gala.

So watch this space.

City Strategy & Development Committee concurs with Local Knowledge Assessment

Last night our City Strategy & Development Committee met and discussed the Ministers two DPAs. Refer my recent blog on the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment.

We concurred with the Local Knowledge Assessment by our Mr Brown of the Ministers (Specific Sites) DPA. Led by my observations in support of his assessment and a motion moved by me the committee has recommended Council go further than his recommendation.

As noted in my last blog post Mr Brown provided an in-depth analysis of the Ministers DPA. This analysis demonstrated that the Specific Site DPA did not relate to his Design DPA. It fell well short of the parameters that Unley has previously demonstrated with our DPAs. Parameters that his Design DPA had been based on.

The Committee saw the Ministers DPA this way.

The most significant observations were the zoning the Le Cornu site as a Transit Zone and Unley Road Malvern as High Street. The other observation is the classification of the street behind Cappo as a primary street.

We concurred that the street behind Cappo is a narrow suburban street that should be classified a secondary street. Our recommendation will provide setbacks not provided in the proposed zoning. Setbacks that will soften the interface with the surrounding residential zone. Setbacks that will reduce the height along Chinner.

Both the Le Cornu site and the Malvern site unmistakably should both be business zones with setbacks along both Anzac Highway and Leader street, the latter to protect the interface with the residential zone to the south.

So long as setbacks are recognised we had no difficulty with the heights proposed at Le Cornu. We did however on the Unley Road site. We determined in discussions a height of 4 storeys, or even 3 with Business zone setbacks rather than high street. But we went further.

We determined that it was inappropriate that this site be included in the DPA. In a climate of low population growth, it was not necessary to isolate this site from its surrounds. Council has provided opportunity for significant growth (say 200 people) just down the road in the District Centre. This site we believe would potentially compete in a low market with the District Centre and the latter surely should be encouraged first.

Now, let us wait on whether Council concurs in two weeks or whether they would prefer changes to this recommendation.