Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct

Inspired by what we learnt through the Development Plan Amendment for the Unley Central Precinct, Council has developed a vision for the Civic Centre site. We have determined to lead the way in revitalising the precinct with a potential redevelopment of the Civic Centre.

Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct has been for a long time now to revitalise the heart of Unley. We expect this by generating new activity in the precinct and providing more opportunity for residential living. Redevelopment of this site is an ideal catalyst to achieve this.

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We have taken notice of feedback received during the DPA process. Rather than just facilitate it we realise we can play a crucial and lead role in shaping the Unley Central Precinct and in rejuvenating Unley Road. This should spark interest by others in seeing the potential of developing other sites in the Unley Central Precinct.

Our Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, has said in his public announcement of the project “I back a redevelopment of this site 100 per cent and I am excited about hearing our community’s ideas as they engage in the process.

I fully back our Mayor. This is an exciting project which has so much potential for our community.

We have no set view on what any redevelopment might include other than:

  • it will fit within the guidelines (particularly height) of the Development Plan and not stretch beyond,
  • it will be a mixed-use facility in the true sense of the development plan, providing new civic and (importantly) community facilities,
  • it will include extensive residential use in the upper floors,
  • the heritage buildings now housing the Library & the Museum will be retained,
  • the Village Green will also be retained, possibly enhanced.

Council will investigate over the next 12 months how the redevelopment of the Civic Complex on Unley Road might look. With the help of our community we also determine what services it might provide the community of Unley.

By selling the air rights above the Civic Centre we can fund the project without impacting on rates. This means we can provide improved or enhanced current facilities and/or provide new facilities our community is asking for, whatever they may be at no cost to the community. We would remain as manager of what would be a community title for development.

Watch this space as Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct evolve with your help.

 

Green Open Space in Unley expands with opening of new Park

Green Open Space in Unley expands with opening of new Park. The opening of the Katherine Street Reserve is scheduled (weather permitting) for November 17 at 3.30pm

Katherine Street Reserve

Katherine Street Reserve

Always conscious of Unley’s limited green open space Council seized on an opportunity that recently presented itself to us.

When Council became aware of the pending closure of the wholesale plant nursery located in Katherine Street Fullarton in 2012 we swooped in and negotiated the purchase of the land. This area of Fullarton was seen as in need of extra open space.

Council purchased the property for in excess of $2.0m. Courtesy of the Minister for Planning we received grant funding towards the redevelopment of the property. This was under the Government’s commitment to provide money for councils to invest in local reserves and playgrounds.

The playground has been constructed in accordance with designs the you participated in. Features include a junior playground with a theme of integrating play with nature. Other facilities provide accessible pathways with seating and shelter for all users. We have in, in accordance with your wishes, provided spaces for contemplation and communal gathering.

Your input was important and we thank you for your contribution. It was important to ensure the design reflected the aims of the community in order to deliver an ‘attractive and inviting’ identity for the new Katherine Street Park and for Fullarton. A true community collaboration.

Works on site commenced in April and the program was expected to be complete by the end of August. With the heaviest rains in many a year this has slid back to 17 November. For a long time the site has been a mud bowl. Hopefully the result was worth the wait.

We think we have done this. Come along to the opening and see for yourself if we have.

 

Next stage in the Unley Oval Improvement Plan

Council is requesting input from ratepayers and users of Unley Oval for the next stage in the Unley Oval Improvement Plan.

Unley Oval Pirate Ship playground

Unley Oval Pirate Ship playground

A forgotten component to the plan is reconfiguring the hill in the north west corner. This is where the oft visited pirate ship is located. The equipment is quite old. We have allocated funds in the current budget to upgrade the playground.

Since the commencement of the improvement plan the focus has been on how improvements to the ground will favour the Sturt FC. It is time now to bring the focus back to our kids.

Council does not have any firm ideas on what the playground might look like.  We are seeking community feedback to help us develop a great new space.

Whilst the ‘hilltop’ playground is not aimed at any particular age group at present, the upgrades will consider play opportunities for age 5-12 years. The playground on the other side of the Oval caters for children younger than this.

Things you might consider include ideas from the following list without being limited to it:

  • Replacement of the existing pirate ship and woodchip softfall with new play equipment and softfall, aimed at age 5-12 years.
  • The existing seat/table be retained or maybe relocated.  The existing ‘daisy swing’ may or may not be retained.
  • New play equipment (specify type) be installed in (generally) the same location as the existing playground (top of the hill).
  • The view of the oval and Adelaide hills will be maintained.
  • No change to the hill/mound
  • Other

We have determined that a shade structure will not be installed as part of this project and the existing natural shade will continue to be used.

Please give us your thoughts on the next stage in the Unley Oval Improvement Plan via one of the following methods:

 

Unley Central DPA public consultation running out.

You have just over one month to go to contribute to the final Unley Central DPA submission to the Minister. If you have a say in writing you can attend a public meeting to enhance your observations before council.

 

This blog post is an update on my post of 24 September which can be read here.

Two information sessions have been held. I attended both to gauge public reaction to the final draft. As the deadline for submissions gets closer I encourage you all to have a say. Don’t wait for a development near you to be proposed to express your concerns. It will be too late.

I am encouraged by the mature approach that those who attended the information sessions showed. They recognise that Unley’s approach has been to work with the Government rather than fight them. We were congratulated for limiting the impact on our community, even though concern still exists over what is proposed.

Some confusion exists still however as to why we are undertaking this process. Examples follow.

One attendee at the information sessions was critical of us because we did not get a mandate at the last Council election to carry out this DPA. He mistakenly believes therefore what we are doing is illegal. The Council actually has a legal obligation to pursue this DPA.  If we fail to do it the Minister can do it on our behalf under the Local Government Act 1999.

Of course the Government did take this to the last state election, and the previous.

20161011_102241Someone else is mistakenly letter boxing a claim that council is going to build an 8 storey complex on the village green. If you are confused a DPA is NOT a proposal to develop property. It merely sets the guidelines with which future proposed developments are assessed.

Please be assured also the DPA does not propose 8 storey development on the Village Green. The Village Green is retained under the draft DPA. It could indeed be reconfigured and even increased in size.

Divorced from our Local Community by Messenger Press

The bastion of local news the Eastern Courier is divorcing 1/3 of the residents of the City of Unley. City of Unley residents living west of Goodwood Road will be divorced from our local community. All thanks to a faux pas by the Messenger Press.

The Eastern Courier, which reports on the affairs of the City of Unley, will be no more for these residents. It will no longer be delivered to the doors of any resident living west of Goodwood Road. They have removed Clarence Park, Black Forest, Forestville, Everard Park, Goodwood, Wayville and Millswood residents from their circulation.

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The Messenger Press have determined that it is in their best interests and the interests of their readers to change the distribution of their free weekly papers. If you live west of Goodwood Road you will now be considered a beach goer. You will be part of the circulation of the Coast to City News.

Coast to City News will take over the area previously covered by the Guardian Messenger. It will also be our paper.

This paper will keep us up to date with what is happening at Richmond Oval rather than Unley Oval. It will keep us up to date with events along Adelaide’s beaches rather than the parks near where we live. You will miss out on hearing about an upcoming film event at Page Park at Clarence Park. We will hear not about flooding in Brownhill Creek, but rather damage to the jetty at Brighton.

We will get to know about opportunities to have our say about the initiatives of the City of Marion, the City of West Torrens and curiously the City of Holdfast. But not the City of Unley.

We in the west of Unley will become part of Adelaide’s greater west and we will therefore be divorced from our local community.

Are you happy with being divorced from our local community? If not I suggest you lodge your protest with the Messenger Press.

 

 

Lack of Compassion motivated by Compassion

The headlines on tough new rules on Road Side tributes/shrines paint Unley Council as lacking in compassion for the grieving families of those of us who have unfortunately lost their life in traumatic circumstances.

So is Council demonstrating a lack of compassion or is their new policy based in compassion?

Last Monday night Council debated and passed a new Memorials Policy.

Until now Council has not had a policy to guide Elected Members and the Administration in the management of ad hoc memorials. The new policy was intended to promote fair and consistent management of both temporary and more permanent memorials.

downloadOur Administration felt a “Memorials” policy would provide guidance for the public and Council re the type and placement of memorials. Much of the policy focuses on the management of permanent memorials. The Policy examines what form a permanent memorial in and around Council property (parks and gardens, ovals etc) may take and where and how it may be placed.

Council has always been empathetic to the grief that has prompted a temporary shrine or memorial. We have however had to deal with those in our community inconvenienced by a memorial. Often the memorial has overflowed onto footpaths restricting clear access for pedestrians.

Council does have a legislated responsibility to maintain the amenity of the area and public safety. We are obliged to maintain the streetscape and parks etc to a standard which is acceptable to the majority of the community.

The intention then of the policy is to keep a balance between allowing the public to express their grief or enjoy a celebration whilst respecting the right of people who live or work adjacent the memorial site and to enjoy ready access to their property. Having clear guidelines about what may be permitted including time frames for roadside memorials addresses this balancing act and actually provides guidance to Coucnil officers when dealing with this conflict.

There is therefore in my no pinion no Lack of Compassion in the making of this policy. Far from it. Compassion indeed I believe was at the forefront of developing this property. I applaud our administration in developing the policy and Coucnil for approving it.

The Future of Local Heritage in SA-Unley’s Response

The Government is asking us (everyone) to contribute to determining what is the future of Local Heritage in SA.

 

The City of Unley Council discussed this at our Council meeting last night. The debate in our chamber coincided with a public forum sponsored by the the City of Adelaide in the Adelaide Town Hall. A pity because I would not have minded being a fly on the wall in that room on the night.

We endorsed at our meeting the observations of our Development Strategy & Policy (DSP) Committee (chaired by myself) on what is the future of Local Heritage in SA.

DSP focused on the brief provided by DPTI and the Minister. Focusing on the contents of the brief and solutions rather than engaging in the 2 way vitriol that has caught the attention of the media was our preference. The committee in turn endorsed the work of the Local Government Association and our Senior Policy Planner David Brown with some further observations including:

 

• Conversion of the existing heritage and character provisions, and subsequent review processes, must maintain an equal status for such areas

• Court Appeal rights regarding listing being extended to Council is strongly advocated

• On-merit assessment for local heritage demolition is appropriate, providing the critical robust planning policy criteria is maintained

• Future criteria for listing of local heritage items to be clear and agreed with Council,

 

The observations of the Local Government Association and the observations included in Mr Brown’s report to Coucnil can be found on our website page here.

Your Council is demonstrating in the most  pragmatic way their response to the Minister’s calling. Frustrated as we may be like all others in Local Government we are trying to take a mature approach. Hopefully reasoned debate on our part may influence the Minister to see what he hitherto has not.

 

What is the future of Local Heritage in SA?

The Government is asking us (everyone) to contribute to determining what is the future of Local Heritage in SA.

 

I attended, along with Deputy Mayor Michael Rabbitt and members of our management, a Seminar last Wednesday hosted by the Lord Mayor and the City of Adelaide. The topic essentially was what is the future of local heritage in SA.

John-Rau-3883-850x455The Planning Minister John Rau spoke at the Seminar. A number of invited guests who each extolled the economic benefit of Local Heritage also spoke.

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The Minister went to great pains to indicate that he is yet to take a position. He pushed that he was simply starting the conversation. The audience took a different view. They saw the Minister trying to pull on over on them. He did not take kindly as I have seen him do before in public to the assertions that he was hiding the detail from us.

I support the audience’s view, and that of the following speakers, that the Minister is struggling with a basic concept of what is the difference between heritage and character.

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The Minister appears not to recognise the value of “Heritage Character”.

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He sees heritage as pertaining to a building and character to a collection of buildings. He also, it appears, sees Local Heritage as restricting employment opportunities. Preservation is in the way of development opportunities and the employment that comes with that.

This is not how those with whom he found himself in conflict see it. They see areas/precincts/streets, not just buildings, as having historic value. Some areas, in other words, require protection as much as some buildings.

Each of the speakers spoke in contrast on his economic argument. They argued that Heritage preservation is a positive when looking at local employment. Their addresses (and the ministers) will be available soon on the City of Adelaide website.

I too see the need to protect areas as opposed to simply buildings. The City of Unley does also. The City of Unley, as much as any other municipality within the greater metropolitan area, is indeed testimony to this.

Tonight Council will be considering our response and I will report on this for you.

I now ask you. What is the Future of Local Heritage in SA in your opinion? Do you agree with the Minister or do you see his agenda as potentially destroying local heritage for the sake of redevelopment opportunities?

 

Unley Central Precinct DPA is ready for final consultation

After nearly two years of deliberations, the Unley Central Precinct DPA is ready for final consultation. This the final chapter in shaping the future potential of the Unley Central Precinct.

The DPA encompasses the recommendations of the Development Strategy & Policy Committee. I am proud to have chaired this committee.

The criteria adopted is the result of all previous consultation with our community.  It includes what we learnt earlier this year from the successful Design Lab . We do not need to go to the extent many (including the government ) thought was needed. We believe the DPA will be approved by the Minister. It should achieve his government’s goals. We trust it will be acceptable to our community knowing we have to achieve the governments population forecasts.

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There is no limit currently to the height of buildings in this precinct. Building heights in the precinct will now be limited. They are to be kept within our previously successful high street 30 degree envelope strategy. Keeping inside this envelope will provide the best interface with surrounding residential areas we could expect to achieve.

Significantly the area will now become a mixed use zone. Development will no longer be limited to retail or community opportunities. Opportunity for residential development in the upper floors of the buildings will now be possible.

Walking zones through the precinct have been created. This will provide for safer access than exists now, in both the north-south and the east-west directions.

Traffic flow management is not included as it is not a planning consideration under the Act. This will be addressed separately by council after the DPA is approved by the Minister.

The Unley Central Precinct DPA has commenced.

You have until November 18 this year to contribute. Another chance to input into the final draft before it is presented for the last time to DPTI and the Minister. Please take the opportunity. There is still room for fine tuning. Your input may prove pivotal to the best outcome.

 

Councils – the lean machine as promoted by the LGA

Councils – the lean machine: that is the catch phrase for a new publicity program being put out by the Local Government Association (LGA).

In the early days of this blog site I started a similar series albeit, with apologies, not completed. With the recent threat by the opposition to cap Council rates when in Government. With the State Government imposing extra exorbitant taxes through us. With Marion seeking to withdraw from the Association.

Now we see the LGA seeing the need to remind us all what Councils do provide the tax payers of this country.

Below is a media release last week by the LGA titled Councils – the lean machine I trust you will find informative. You may have experienced already the start of this campaign.

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The LGA will launch a new campaign  highlighting the diverse range of services

and infrastructure councils provide to their communities, while taking less than 4% of

Australia’s total tax.

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LGA CEO Matt Pinnegar said with households about to receive their rates notices for

2016/17, it was important for ratepayers to know what they are getting for their money.

“Councils in South Australia manage around $22 billion worth of infrastructure, while

providing hundreds of services and facilities in their communities,” Mr Pinnegar said.

“These can include libraries, community centres, immunisation clinics, men’s sheds, footy

ovals, community events, aged care services, swimming pools and much more.

“The days of the three R’s – roads, rates and rubbish – are long gone. The State

Government is giving us more to do, and our communities are telling us they want and

expect more, so councils are stepping in to meet these needs.”

Other council facilities and services can include caravan parks, cemeteries, coastal care,

community buses, development and planning services, bushfire prevention, dog and cat

management, disability services, economic development, place making, environmental

programs, footpath maintenance, tourism information, museums, roads, netball and tennis

courts, playgrounds, recycling facilities, skate parks, street lighting, and storm water drains.

Mr Pinnegar said that goal of the campaign was to communicate that councils provide these

services while taking less than 4% of the nation’s tax.

“80% of all tax paid in Australia goes to the Federal Government, and 16% of it goes to the

states,” Mr Pinnegar said.

“We understand there’s some confusion around the funding received by councils –

especially with more and more State Government taxes being included in council rates.

“The NRM Levy is an obvious example, and is clearly listed on rates notices, but there are

others, such as the rapidly escalating Solid Waste Levy, Rubble Royalties, and Community

Housing rebates, which are all paid by councils and ultimately their ratepayers.

“What people may not realise is that in South Australia, councils receive the lowest funding

per capita of anywhere in Australia, the least amount of grants from their State Government,

and an unfair share of local road funding from the Federal Government.

“We firmly believe local government is a lean machine – and the most efficient sector of

government in Australia – given all we are able to deliver for our communities with less than

4% of national taxation.”

Hoping this helps all understand the role of Councils – the lean machine.