Councils Overlooked Heritage for Decades, according to the ‘Tiser.

The Councils Overlooked Heritage for Decades, according to the ‘Tiser. This is a headline suggesting Councils have been derelict in their heritage responsibilities.

COUNCILS OVERLOOK HERITAGE FOR DECADESIs the ‘Tiser’ correct with this article? If you have a subscription you can read it here.

The article in today’s Advertiser has included the City of Unley in it’s list. Consequently, this (by default) suggests we too have overlooked Heritage for decades.

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Preserving our heritage is a hot topic right now, a concern shared by many. The SA Planning Commission, as they undertake the revision of our planning laws, share this concern.

So! Is our heritage at risk and have Councils been under-performing in recognising and promoting heritage properties for protection from demolition?

 

Our heritage deserves protection and is at risk.

The risk to our heritage I have already spoken about, in a blog post titled “Heritage at Risk”. Or is it?”.

I did attend the meeting noted in that blog post. The Commission Chairman at that meeting assured me that they share our concerns.

This was comforting to hear. As comforting as that may be, they can only produce what they are given. Consequently, this means the community (including you) need to let them know your views and concerns.

 

Have Councils been derelict in assessing and nominating heritage in their development plans? The City of Unley I suggest have been diligent, rather than derelict in assessing and nominating heritage plans in their development plan.

Today’s media article is sort of correct. They however did not recognise how significant such an exercise is. A lengthy process that requires significant resourcing. Resourcing that your rates fund.

They identified only the start of a process. As a result, not the completion. In addition, failing to recognise a lengthy process that requires significant resourcing. Resourcing that your rates fund.

The City of Unley did conduct a broad ‘Heritage’ and ‘Character’ survey of the whole City in 2005. As a result, using the results of the survey, this led to conducting the Unley Heritage Research Study from 2006 through to 2012. This provided a comprehensive evaluation of potential individual heritage places combined with a review of existing places.

Importantly, these studies were then used to inform the Local Heritage Places Development Plan Amendment.

This DPA was given Interim Effect in January 2013. The final DPA was authorised in January 2014.

 

The State Government holds the key to Tree Canopy Cover Targets

The City of Unley has long believed the State Government holds the key to Tree Canopy Cover Targets.

 

More to the point the key to tree canopy cover targets lies in the Government’s new DPI Act. This is the new new Act governing development in South Australia.

Thankfully the Government (through the State Planning Commission) has responded positively to our request for them to mandate a minimum 15% tree canopy coverage on all sites with new development. They are prepared to sit down and discuss this with us.

Unley Heat MapThe previous Unley Council held strong and positive views of saving our trees. There can be no doubt the current Council also holds this view. From memory, in our respective election campaigns, we all included trees in our platform.

It is not however just about preserving our trees. It goes further. We do need to increase our tree canopy cover targets.

We are doing our bit on the land we have control over. As you will see shortly when we ask you to look at our proposed budget, we are looking to significantly increase tree plantings in the public domain.

Unfortunately this will exacerbate the recent losses we have experienced in the short term, as I noted in my loss of canopy cover blog of June last year. Long term though, it will improve the canopy cover.

The public domain however, the area Council has direct control over, accounts for only 16% of our City.  Keswick Barracks has 4%. The remaining 80% lies in the control of our private property owners . Our rate payers.

This is where the Government comes in. For us to achieve the canopy cover goals set by them in their 30 year plan, they need to recognise where the focus needs to be.

Council can’t achieve a 30% coverage, even if they planted 100% of the area they control. There has to be controls set on private land, the land controlled by our rate payers.

I am therefore gratified they (the State Government) are prepared to sit and talk with us.

Heritage at Risk, or is it?

Heritage at Risk, or is it? That is the question I am asking on the back of this weeks media coverage of the State Planning Commission recent announcement.

 

Media coverage suggests that 12,000 homes across Adelaide could lose their status. Contributory items that is, could lose their status. Thankfully, State Heritage places and Areas, along with Local Heritage places appear to be safe. Heritage Conservation Zones would be at risk. So too would Unley’s Streetscape Zones.

Such a change will go down like a lead balloon in the inner suburban areas. Unley included. Many a conversation I have had with our rate payers confirm a fury over the possibility of us losing our heritage conservation and streetscape zones.

I am seeing a different storey. In short, the State Planning Commission has invited us to prove the case for retention of our various zones. To clarify, in their letter inviting us they are saying they will be receptive to our response.

Commission InviteIn that letter Mayors, Chief Executives and Elected Members have been invited to one of three sessions the Commission will hold on the transition. Transition, not removal.

We (Council) have the opportunity to ensure the zones are not lost. They are asking us to promote “why” we would transfer our zones into what is described as new layers in the new Planning & Design Code.

new layers

 

The fight not over. It is there to be won. That said, there is much work to be done.

We need (on mass) attend the workshops put on by the Commission. Accordingly, I personally have booked in to one on the 30th of this month.

We (Council) then must in within the time frames indicated by the Commission implement a DPA aimed at protecting our “character” homes. We will need to be diligent. You (our community) will need likewise to be diligent.

Make no mistake. If we don’t join forces and provide compelling evidence for retention of our current zones then our share of those 12,000 homes may well be at risk.

 

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom receives planning approval.

The new Goodwood Oval Clubroom receives planning approval after a marathon hearing at this week’s Council Assessment Panel meeting.

I was again proud of the rate payers of the City of Unley Clarence Park Ward who provided representations. As with previous CAP representations the residents presented to the panel on planning issues.

They recognise that panel members must make  decisions based on the Development Act, Regulations and the Unley Development Plan. The arguments therefore that they presented to the panel respected this.

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

The main focus of the representations centred not so much on the built form but the hours of use. They viewed the hours of operation in the application as excessive.

The panel, in turn, recognised the intrusion into the amenity of the area of excessive use. Approval, which was unanimous, was therefore conditioned upon a number of reductions in the extent of use. The reductions we not the result of the panel’s consideration however. They were the result of the applicant responding to concerns from the panel members.

Subject then to any appeal to the ERD Court, work can commence on preparing working drawings and calling tenders from builders.

This project has been a long time in the making. It will replace the old Grandstand with a new clubroom and change room suitable for sporting activity of the 21st Century. Activity that now includes female participation in both football and cricket.

The project has been on the drawing board since before I became a City of Unley Councillor back in 2010. It has evolved in that time from simply catching up with much needed maintenance and upgrade to a complete replacement. Female participation has been the major catalyst behind the approved design.

The Presidents of both the football club and the cricket club have since communicated to their members. I have sighted this correspondence. Correspondence that confirms the approval but which recognises that representors can appeal the decision to the ERD Court.

Both have reminded their members of the need to respect their neighbours when using the facility now and into the future. The Football Club President has also requested his members to appreciate and respect the right of representors to appeal.

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

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: A glimpse into the future

For all we have achieved together, as I noted in my last blog we have much still to achieve into the near future.

Providing Local Leadership and Working For YouFor a glimpse into the future read on as I summarise what I see as the challenges going forward. Challenges which requires proving local leadership. The following summarises what lies ahead of the Clarence Park Ward. Watch for future blogs over the next couple of weeks for more detail.

Goodwood Oval Precinct Redevelopment.

Since Jayne Stinson secured a $2.0m grant from the previous government before the last State election much has happened. Much is still left however to do at Goodwood Oval however. I will release a series of blog posts in the next couple of weeks addressing each.

Millswood Croquet Club

 As the club marches toward its centenary it desperately needs a new clubroom. A future blog will review this in more detail.

Managing Higher Density

Watch for a future blog as I explain the need for continued vigilance to ensure any changes to our development plan are respectful of the amenity will all currently enjoy.

Local Economic Prosperity

Business and economic development for an area is a shared responsibility. Council should take the lead.

I am looking for Council to consider all of its businesses, including the forgotten majority. The home based businesses.

Ensuring Financial Responsibility

Rate Capping as one of a number of financial measures in setting our budget, and therefore the rate, ensures financial responsibility. Setting the rate first and cutting our cloth to suit.

This must be done by Council with you providing the oversight, not a State Government external body.

Communication with Council

Those of you that have issue with communication from Council would be well aware of my intention to see this improve. Look out for my strategy to achieve this.

I will always that said be ready to represent you and advocate for you when needed, to help you work your way through the bureaucracy.

Trees

Always a topical and emotional topic are trees. Providing Local Leadership to ensure the correct balance will the subject of a future blog.

Council matters outside Clarence Park Ward and outside City of Unley.

Believe it or not but there is life outside our boundary. I will explore some of these shortly.

Then there is need for providing local leadership input into State and Federal issues that impact directly on Clarence Park Ward.

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For more detail in each of these areas, and others, watch for my blogs on each. I will share each blog on Facebook.

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

People Power Only Works When Applied. Kaufland development deferred.

For people power to work the people must stand up. This I suggest did not occur yesterday when the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) hearing heard representations yesterday.

If you have not heard already, the Anzac Highway Le Cornu Kaufland development has been deferred. SCAP have, since receiving the representations, deliberated and decided the development is sufficiently at variance to the City of Unley Development Plan to warrant a number of issues addressed.

Only two people represented against the development. One of these used a proxy in Goodwood Ward Councillor Luke Smolucha.

More could have represented and chose not to use people power. Those who represented focused on gaining concessions rather than against the proposed development, many of which are included in the Panel’s requirements.

I sense both groups may have wrongly felt it was a fait-accompli and not worth challenging.

As a witness to the proceedings yesterday I had two overwhelming impressions. Firstly, I was impressed with Kaufland’s project manager Sam.

Kaufland, Anzac HighwayHe demonstrated to me he had an empathy for those in the community disturbed by the impact their development might have in the community. He gave a number of assurances during the hearing.

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The most significant of these was that he would ensure that deliveries would be via Maple Street. Drivers would not use Leah and Leader Streets to access the site. After the hearing he gave me a personal assurance that he would also ensure that the contract for construction of the development would also not use Leah Street to access the site.

In particular, he agreed that the demolition, earthmoving and concrete trucks would not use Leah Street. This is now on the public record as I expect this will be highlighted in the Eastern Courier meaning it is public knowledge.

They also worked hard to address a significant variance to Council’s development plan concerning at grade carparking. They are proposing to provide extensive screening to avoid what I highlighted on my recent blog concerning this deficiency.

The second overwhelming feeling I got from attending was my perception with the paradigm of the panel, while different to the community, was correct.

They were, in my opinion, concerned that the development was at significant variance from the objectives of Council’s Development Plan. Members of the panel sought feedback from nearly all who spoke on the question of it being a major supermarket with no residential component. This included both representors and Kaufland’s representatives.

They were almost begging for opposition on these grounds. Looking I  suspect for people power to present itself.

Their concerns mirrored my own assessment, as I blogged on back in May. The absence of a response was, in my mind, a trigger for them to consider approval, and ultimately to seek deferral to address concerns. In other words, a lack of opposition bought about the fait-accompli the community felt warranted rolling over on.

I truly believe that had there been greater numbers of people (greater people power) representing and/or an emphasis placed by those who did on highlighting the development was diametrically opposed to the development plan, the decision may have gone the other way. We will, however, never know.

Of course there is another twist to this. People Power may have felt the alternative was equally or more unpalatable. That being that the development plan allows for up to 6 storey development.

On a brighter note. Kaufland may prove to be a good corporate citizen and neighbour however.

As I indicated earlier, we may find that many of the fears our community may have may actually be just that; fears. I was once told that humans spend 80% of their time worrying about things that will never happen. That may prove accurate here.

If I have assessed Kaufland’s paradigm correctly, that may prove to be the case with the LeCornu development.

And …. the panel itself is clearly seeking the best possible solutions, to the benefit of the community.

Aggrieved Residents Around Goodwood receive Double Dose of Aggravation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For all that, Council has a responsibility.

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

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

Watch for future blogs to see what we are doing.