Unrest from some over Unley hosting the TDU

Amid cries that it is too expensive and/or it has had its day, there is unrest from some over Unley hosting the TDU.

During budget deliberations, we heard cries from some in our community to abandon the TDU. Indeed (from memory) two councillors said the same. Some including the two councillors will be disappointed with the news it is going to happen.

Those same cries were not so apparent when we debated earlier in the year whether we should put another bid in or not. That is when the debate was needed to be had, not at budget time.

Curiously this happens every year. We agree to put in a bid. Then at budget time we debate if we should change that decision.

With the announcement imminent of who has been successful in hosting a start or a finish, budget time is precisely the wrong time to have the debate. To pull out then would surely to be irresponsible.

But what are we debating. The calls to drop our association with the TDU come from concern over the $ 266,000 it costs council to stage the Gourmet Gala.

I don’t argue that this is a significant amount of money for one event. But is it? More on that in a future blog.

Whilst the Gourmet Gala is associated with the TDU it is not the TDU. The TDU start surely must stay. As I wrote in my last blog post the City of Unley and the TDU go hand in hand.

For the premier bike capital of Adelaide (Unley) not to host a start, or a finish for that matter, would surely be criminal.

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 City of Unley and the TDU go hand in hand

The City of Unley is recognised for being the most cyclist friendly City in all of Adelaide. Adelaide in turn is Australia’s home of the Tour Down Under (TDU). Truly the City of Unley and the TDU go hand in hand.

 

Unley is recognised for it’s extensive bikeways. An inner suburban Council, we have been proactive in finding alternate forms of transport other than single occupancy cars.

For this reason, the City of Unley and the TDU go hand in hand.

It should be expected therefore that the Tour organisers see Unley’s bid to host a TDU start as a no-brainer. No surprise then that we have been awarded a Stage 2 start for the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under.

Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur said the race was thrilled to be returning to Unley for the start of Stage 2. “The location of Unley as a stage start is one of the iconic start locations throughout the history of the event and never disappoints,” he said.

“The support from the community in Unley and its surrounds is terrific. Next year the race will start on King William Road and the peloton will parade through the city from Unley and take a route down Melbourne Street for the first time.”

Stage 2 will be held in the morning of Wednesday 17 January.

As always, we will hold our Gourmet Gala event on the night before. An event that often attracts 30,000 people or more. The Gala has become one of Adelaide’s iconic events, seen by many as integral to the whole TDU experience.

There are however some within our community, indeed on Council, who see this differently. Please stay tuned for my take on that shortly. When I do, just remember that the City of Unley and the TDU go hand in hand.

The importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment

Tomorrow night we will see demonstrated the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment (DPA).

 

A report from our Policy Planning Officer Mr David Brown on the Minister’s Corridors DPA will be received by Council’s City Strategy and Development Policy committee tomorrow night.

The DPA is a site specific DPA, including (in Unley) 4 sites;

  • The Le Cornu site at Forestville
  • The Cappo site on Glen Osmond Road
  • 12-30 Anzac Highway Everard Park
  • 299-307 Unley Road, Malvern

We will consider the DPA with the help of his analysis. The committee will then make recommendations to Council.  Council can then consider in to weeks times making similar representation to the Minister.

Honestly, the Minister could do with having David Brown on his staff at DPTI. David’s analysis has identified a plethora of anomalies/discrepancies in the DPA.

There are discrepancies between the DPA and Unley’s previous parameters set in our Corridor DPA. Discrepancies also indeed between this DPA and his concurrent running (design) DPA (also being considered tomorrow night).

Too many to highlight in a blog post. Sufficient, that said, to demonstrate the folly of the Government’s move to progressively take Council out of the planning process. Sufficient to demonstrate that a State or Regional Government does not and cannot identify with local nuances.

I will be keen to hear the input of our independent members into the DPA and into David’s analysis.

His analysis should be the catalyst for quite a comprehensive representation on our part to the Minister. It is to be hoped that he takes on board our observations and suggestions, whatever they wind up being after Council considers the committee’s recommendations in two weeks’ time.

I believe the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment will be demonstrated tomorrow night.

If you want to see David’s in depth analysis check it out here, item 9.

Lobbying the Libs in the Battle for Badcoe

I took the opportunity today to speak with the Leader of the State Opposition, Stephen Marshall. An opportunity of lobbying the Libs in the Battle for Badcoe. An opportunity not to miss.

 

My wife and I met today with him and the Badcoe Liberal candidate (Unley Mayor) Lachlan Clyne. They had a meet and talk session for the local community at Sublime between 11.00 and 11.30 which we took advantage of.

 

This I did the same some months back now at Carnevale with Jayne Stinson, the Labor Candidate.

As I did with Jayne back then I unashamedly pushed a City of Unley agenda. Well, more precisely a Clarence Park Ward agenda.

Our community deserves to know what both major parties have to offer in my opinion in the following areas:

 1 Improvement to our Major Sporting/Recreational facilities.

As Council puts the finishing touches to the master planning for the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sporting Complex we will be seeking grant funding from the State Government, whoever they may be come March 2018.

2 Answers to South Road

Knowing when and what South Road will look like will give locals some comfort for residents living on or near East Avenue. Likewise residents living on Leah Street in nearby Goodwood Ward. South Road as a non stop road can only improve the internal traffic to the benefit of all home owners in these areas.

Once again knowing what is planned for South Road will shape what can or should/should not happen in the DPA for Black Forest, which is due to come back for consideration by Council later this year.

And then a chance for my wife as she promotes Rail Safety

Since the electrification of the Seaford Rail Corridor we have seen the removal of gates to the rail stations along the corridor. This is a risk of significance at Clarence Park Rail Station in that young children particularly are at risk.

On one side we have the Clarence Park Community Centre, the home of occasional child minding. On the other we have the Clarence Park Community Kindergarten.

This is a deep concern to both my wife and I, noting there has been a death at this location in the past.

She (my wife) also lobbied for changes to the access ramps to the station. The ramps are non DDA complying. Wheelchair or Scooter access is therefore very difficult.

Our 2017/18 Budget: a win for those in Our Community who contributed to the process.

After the most significant contribution from our community in who knows how long Council has determined its budget for 2017/18. A win for those in our Community who contributed to the process.

 

As I suggested in my blog post entitled “Please Stay with Us” the contribution from our community has seen positive results. Many initiatives suggested have now been included in the budget.

Those that have not have been earmarked for council to contemplate as projects later in the year. Should any of those projects receive council endorsement we will need to include them in one of our quarterly budget reviews.

The inclusion of the extra initiatives has seen the rate increase lift from 2.8 % to 2.9%.

The significance of this budget is the expectation that some of those projects we have been contemplating since before I joined Council may occur sooner rather than later. This includes:

  • the start of the Brownhill Creek Flood Mitigation project,
  • the redevelopment of the Unley Oval grandstand. This will be the culmination of a number of improvements at that ground.
  • Possible commencement of the Goodwood Oval and the Millswood Sporting Reserve,
  • Possible commencement of the redevelopment of King William Road between Arthur Street and Mitchell/Park Streets.

A win for those in our community who contributed to the process.

It will also see something I have been championing since my early days on Council. That is an improvement in service standard in the reactive maintenance of our footpaths.

Of course, we have also had to pass on a 9% increase in the NRM levy that Councils are forced to collect on behalf of the government. Our rate payers are contributing the equivalent of 3.1% of our rate-able income. That is a whopping (in excess of) $ 1.2 m. And we are collecting $ 38.3 m in rates.

If you want to know more about what the budget includes you can check it out here.

Just Retired and Inspired by those who Precede me

Just Retired and Inspired by those who Precede me is my take on this morning. Just retired I am grateful that I am part of a Council that supports older people.

 

Regular readers of this blog website know I have recently retired.

With the development of an Active Ageing Strategy in 2014, we (the City of Unley) has been leading the charge in celebrating ageing and implementing initiatives that support people as they get older.

The latest initiative in Partnership with Resthaven, Unley Legends, is an absolute winner. It was launched at another Unley Legend, the Capri Theatre today.

Unley Legends is a video series celebrating ageing.

The series of short videos showcases seven inspiring legends of the Unley community who are still young at heart, including 99-year-old Millswood resident Harold Sammells who still travels overseas. He could not attend because he is cruising in Canada.

I was inspired too with the Legends in the west. Two contributors of and one participant at the Clarence Park Community Centre out here in the west of the City were featured among the seven. They include:

  1. 72 year old Peter Moors who contributes to the centres TOYS program.
  2. 73 year old Evaristo Barrera who conducts Yoga lessons at the Centre
  3. 90 year old June Harris who participates in line dancing at the centre

These guys have provided me and you if you care to hear what they have to say some great mentorship. I heard all of them tell me that it is important to stay active. Physically,mentally, socially and spiritually. The other message is take your eyes off yourself and do for others.

So yes! I am just Retired and Inspired by those who Precede me. How could you not be.

Check out for yourself what the Unley Legends video series, visit unley.sa.gov.au.

The Future of Local Government-Local Government in Crisis

Local Government in Crisis was the topic of a summit I attended recently on behalf of the City of Unley in Melbourne.

 

As testimony that local government (worldwide) is in crisis the leaders of the summit sited the election of Donald Trump and Brexit. To build on this a key note speaker spoke of the crisis being faced by the City of London.

 

Curious examples I would have thought. An outsider being elected to the post known as the leader of the free world. A sovereign country leaving the European Union. The London Council, more like a State Parliament here.

Local Government in Crisis

Truthfully Governments, we all know, are in something of a crisis worldwide as evidenced by the examples given above. Does this drill down to local governments is the question to be answered?

 

Councils over in New South Wales it could be argued are in crisis. Theirs’s however is not one of people being disillusioned with them. It is under the pressure of forced amalgamations being imposed by the State Government. The people there indeed are actually fighting their State Government in support of the current Local Government model.

 

And back here in Adelaide the LGA has conducted a survey which has indicated that local government is the most trusted level of government in this state. A far cry from what I was hearing in Melbourne.

 

Local Government to lead the way, not Local Government in Crisis

 

Backed by these last two observations what I do agree coming out of the Summit is that Local Government “can” lead the way to correcting the disillusionment in Government that the Trump, Brexit factor shows exists. So far from the catch cry being local government being in crisis it should be local government to lead the way in healing public government relations.

 

In other words, I agree with the manifesto that came out of the Summit. A manifesto that rests on a belief that the state of the nation and the health of our society depend on community-driven action in the neighbourhood, not just decisions made in parliaments or boardrooms.

 

Put another way, the crisis facing governments worldwide can only be addressed by a localist approach. And that my friends is the strength of Councils similar in size to the City of Unley.

 

 

Welcome to Our World.

Following on from my last blog post, there are two observations I believe warrant making in this platform. The first is welcome to our world and please stay with us.

I will deal with the latter in a later blog post.

With some of the observations that our ratepayers have made on this years draft budget I say welcome to our world. You are experiencing what we (the councillors) experience each year.

Elected members historically focus only on new initiatives in our budget deliberations. New initiatives in the operating projects amount this year to $ 1.2 m. This is very small compared to our general rates income of some $ 38 m.

Ongoing operating programs are reviewed regularly by elected members during what is known as regular service reviews. They are therefore not addressed at budget time . This includes a number of initiatives in our environment strategy.

Things like maintaining our parks and gardens. That includes the Village Green. So while we have been criticised by some for not allowing maintenance of the Village green in our budget we have. It just is not highlighted. Showing the maintenance of every one of our parks and gardens woudl make for a very complex budget and therefore not shown.

Then there are new initiatives such as the Brownhill Creek flood mitigation project, funded through capital works and loan funding. The biggest single environmental project I suggest we have ever done.

Talking roads, rates and rubbish which some have asked us to focus on. We have been asked to spend more in this area. After a service review we will actually be spending some $ 1.0 m pa more on reactive footpath repair. Requests to resurface Kenilworth Road. It is in the budget.

Yes. Welcome to our world.

We elected members focus on just 1/40th of the overall budget. You get to comment on that too.

This is not easy for sure but please stay with us. If you do you will become more intimate with the budget and it’s real depth.

Proud of our Community’s contribution to determining our next budget.

Before this year I have not seen much interest from our community in setting our yearly budget. This year I can honestly say I am proud of our Community’s contribution to determining our next budget.

So why am I proud of our Community’s contribution to determining our next budget?

Previously we have seen only between one and four members of the public turn up to our information sessions. This year we had in excess of 25. Numerous requests and observations were received on our have your say site, or by email or letter. This has followed on from the keen interest our community showed recently in the Unley Central DPA.

We have always had good community consultation on all manner of things. For some reason we have not on the budget itself. As a result, I believed this to mean our Community were telling us that they have already had their say on the various projects. More to the point they were happy to leave it to us to determine the priorities.

With the Sword of Damocles of the State Liberals rate capping promise for the next election sitting over our heads our community did not focus on this. Their attention was focused in lieu on the priorities of programs in the draft.

A significant portion of the observations we received focused on:

  1. Our being too much a “happy city” focused on events.
  2. There being too much focus on what they see as favouring the Sturt Footy Club.
  3. A concern over the first two possibly contributing to a reduction in spending on environmental issues.

Whilst I am proud of our Community’s contribution to determining our next budget we are yet to see what impact it has. I believe we will see Council make some meaningful adjustments in response to our Community.

Minister Rau announces new DPA to focus on specific sites.

The Minister today announced a change in direction with his program of Development Plan Amendments. He announced a new DPA to focus on specific sites.

This DPA is known as ‘the Inner and Middle Metropolitan Corridor (Sites) Development Plan Amendment”.

In making the announcement he acknowledged difficulties with the Corridor DPA’s. He recognises too the redevelopment along the corridors may be a future thing rather than an early or soon thing. This means those incomplete or not commenced Corridor DPA’s will be put on hold.

The Minister is aware that there are sites that are ready to be redeveloped sooner rather than later. They have been identified too as being good opportunities for incorporating the other DPA he announced today, “the Inner & Middle Metropolitan Corridor (Design) Development Plan Amendment”.

He is focused therefore on a new DPA to focus on specific sites that provide the opportunity for early redevelopment.

Twelve sites in all have been identified. Six of these are in the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters. There are two in our neighbour, the City of West Torrens

For Unley this focus is on the following four sites:

  1.  12-16 Glen Osmond Road (The Cappo seafood site)
  2.  301-305 Unley Road Malvern (between Cheltenham & Winchester Street)
  3.  10 Anzac Highway (The Le Cornu site)
  4.  22-28 Anzac Highway, Everard Park (between KFC and Solver)

All 4 sites could be considered a catalyst site. A site where development might occur sooner rather than later.

Both DPA’s are open for public consultation as of tomorrow. Submissions are required by 25 July. A public information session has been set for City of Unley participants on 22 June between 4.00 pm and 6.30 pm. It will be held at the Latvian Hall, 4 Clark Street Wayville.

I encourage all who have shown an interest in the recent series of DPA’s to take the opportunity to look at this one, and take part in the consultation.