King William Road to Keep it’s Pavers

The Legacy of the State Government imposing on Local Government any informal meeting of Council being available to the public is on show this week with the storey about King William Road in the Eastern Courier and the subsequent media explosion.

The legislation requiring this has led to this week’s headlines about King William Road, headlines based on discussions in an informal gathering of Council that have no legal status. Headlines that have left our community believing we have made decisions contrary to our vision for King William Road.

King William Road

King William Road for pedestrians

Councillors and Senior Management discussed how the role out of our King William Road Master Plan is going. Because any informal gathering of council must now be open to the public this discussion was attended by our local press representative.

For those out there who believe the headlines and can’t understand why we would pull those pavers up and put asphalt down in its place don’t panic. We have made no such decision.

Your stress is State Government induced. By making all our meetings subject to public attendance we no longer can simply discuss an issue without people believing that the discussion is tantamount to a decision on our part.

Here is what happened.

Anyone who has frequented King William Road in the last two years would be aware we have trailed the use of parklets in the precinct. The first two have now been replaced with permanent kerb build outs allowing comfortable alfresco dining in two of the side streets.

This shows some receptivity by traders to modifying the King William Road environment between Park/Mitchell Streets and Arthur Street. Enough to suggest moving the master plan forward.

Administration advised during the discussion that with the need to consider repaving the street in the near future, moving the master planning forward was probably a good move. They did compare the cost of doing this by bitumen rather than pavers to assist us elected members understand what we are faced with.

We are likely to see later this year a report from Administration come to a full meeting of council. At that meeting I suggest we are likely to decide whether to pick up the pace of improving the road to make it more pedestrian friendly and therefore more of a destination sooner than our current program is doing.

A far cry from replacing our 30-year-old pavers with asphalt or bitumen.

If you are interested, you can view the 2014 master Plan draft here.

Public outdoor dining areas in South Australia must now be smoke-free

As you are probably already aware, public outdoor dining areas in South Australia must now be smoke-free under section 52 of the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997.

No_smoking_symbol.svgYou have probably seen the advertising over the last few months. A public media campaign was undertaken from May 2016, including radio, online, and press.

Councils have been legislated the role of enforcing the regulations. With a plethora of outdoor dining areas in the City of Unley you can rest assured Council will be policing this with fervour.

We want to make sure your dining experience will indeed be smoke free.

Our City of Unley Environmental Health Team have been promoting to food premises over the past few months to ensure they are ready by the due date of July 1. SA Health have undertaken two formal mail-outs to all food businesses (using our database). Environmental Health Officers have been promoting the change during all food inspections (including handing out an information pamphlet developed by SA Health).

The last two weeks has been a period of grace as we all learn the new rules. Starting from next week the team will undertake focused enforcement of smoking in outdoor dining areas in our main streets.

This will involve the General Inspectors and the Environmental Health Officers walking down the main streets once a week over 3 weeks. If outdoor diners are found smoking, expiations of $160 will be issued to businesses. After this focused enforcement period the Environmental Health Officers will continue to monitor and also expiate where appropriate as they go about their routine inspections. The team will undertake focused enforcement every 6 to 8 months or earlier if there are issues/complaints reported.

Before the legislation Council had a policy of providing as discount on the fees associated with a business having outdoor dining on Council land. From memory not too many businesses took up the offer. Under the legislation there will be no need to offer this as they simply now must comply.

You should feel quite comfortable now in dining anywhere in Unley. You can feel assured, with Council policing it, that food businesses are taking positive action to avoid fines and therefore creating smoke free dining experiences.

Outdoor Dining Policy revisions not ready to go to public consultation.

Last night Council endorsed changes recommended by our admin to our outdoor dining policy out for public consultation.

 

Outdoor dining is becoming more popular along Unley’s main streets, where there are a growing number of restaurants and cafés.

The City of Unley has been supportive of outdoor dining as it brings vibrancy and activity to the main streets. It also provides financial benefits to the operators, thus making our main streets more sustainable.

However as recently seen at Mothers Milk cafe, it also brings issues associated with access, road safety and movements (both pedestrian and vehicle) along these corridors. At times, the competing needs of various users results in conflict points.

A good outdoor dining policy should provide a balance between the safety of all users, access for everyone with all abilities, and comfort/enjoyment of the diners using these areas. While reviewing the policy, it is important to continue with and expand the positives, while addressing the gaps in the existing outdoor dining framework.

At the core of this review, the primary consideration is to achieve the aforementioned balance while aspiring to the overarching objectives of the Community Plan 2033. The following are the key considerations to the review of this amended policy:

Safety

The proposed policy recommends safety to be at the core of the decision making for outdoor dining applications. It recommends that no outdoor dining shall occur on or adjacent to roads with 60 km/hr speed limits unless the dining area is protected by appropriate safety barriers (e.g. energy absorbing bollards) or other traffic management treatments mitigate the risk.

Access

There is considerable confusion in relation to Council’s obligations to provide access along public footpaths.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 does not mention the word ‘footpath’. It also does not mention the words ‘continuous accessible path of travel’. There is no Australian Standard in relation to either footpaths or accessibility of travel along footpaths.

In February 2013, the Australian Human Rights Commission issued an “Advisory Note on the streetscape, public outdoor areas, fixtures, fittings and furniture”. These advisory notes are an attempt by the Commission to provide clarity on the legislative requirements, but are not enshrined in legislation themselves.

The proposed policy can be found here