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.

 

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.

Using Loan Funding for Capital Works and Replacement

Council has long had a policy of using loan funding for Capital Works and Replacement. Doing so spreads the burden of capital expenditure over current and future rates.

Following on from my post introducing this years budget, if you look deeply into this years draft budget you will see that we are planning to have $15.7m of loans outstanding as at June 2018. This is $ 1.0m more than predicted for June 30 this year.

Our capital expenditure will actually grow by $ 3.5m during the next twelve months.

Most of this will be to fund our contribution to the Brownhill Creek Flood Mitigation Scheme. Part will be to fund the upgrade of the Goodwood Oval Grandstand. Part to provide detailed concept (project shovel ready) plans for the Goodwood Oval and Millswood Sport Grounds improvement plan. The Unley Oval improvement plan and the King William Road master plan will also be funded this way.

Whilst committing funds to these projects we will be paying back our current loans to the tune of $ 2.5m.

Loans of such magnitude can be frightening to some not personally used to loans of this size, including elected members. Having said that I remember when I first secured a home loan I could borrow 7 times my annual wage. Using that formula Council could conceivably borrow $ 280m.

That said this will not ever happen. We have a commitment to borrow no more than 80% of our net operating revenue (or approx $ 32m on today’s revenue).

Some might also suggest that we should not penalise future generations by burdening them with “such high” loans. If you have the cash to do this that is a reasonable observation.

The only way we could do this would be to increase the rates. If we did this to fund just $ 1.0m of capital expenditure we would need to increase rates in the order of 2.5%, nearly as much again as what we are currently proposing this year.

Council will continue therefore with a policy of using loan funding for Capital Works and Replacement.

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 Oval Grandstand upgrade ready for public engagement.

The next phase of the master planning process for Unley Oval took the next step today. Concept designs for the Unley Oval Grandstand upgrade have been completed and ready for the next round of consultation.

 

Unley Oval Grandstand

This is a necessary step so that we can be what you might call “shovel ready” if and when funding from outside sources ever become available. In today’s financial climate that does not look like being around the corner but we need to be ready if and when it does and in time in will.

Community engagement on the Future Grandstand Upgrades at Unley Oval has commenced today and will close on Friday 13 November.

Hard copy information is displayed at the oval, and in the civic centre foyer, libraries and community centres.  Feedback forms are also available at these sites.

The online ‘Your Say Unley’ portal will be the primary source of information (including FAQs) and for receiving feedback, however hard copy forms may also be posted or handed in at the civic centre.

The online link can be viewed here – http://yoursay.unley.sa.gov.au/future-grandstand-upgrades-at-unley-oval

We have also written to local schools and the Unley Oval clubs to promote to their networks.

Can I encourage you to contribute to the process.

Unley Oval Grandstand Upgrade

A key component of the recent Unley Oval master planning process was to consider upgrades for the ailing health of the Unley Oval grandstands.

 

Council had previously resolved that it would be appropriate to have “shovel ready” plans for the redevelopment of the grandstands, in the event that a grant funding opportunity presents itself in the short to medium term. Whilst both the State and Federal Governments both have tight budgetary concerns currently we resolved that it is prudent to be ready for whenever grant funding may become available.

As part of the process of being shovel ready Council last night considered a proposal to take concept designs out to consultation. These designs focus on what council have previously indicated is their preferred option for upgrade.

If completed, the grandstand upgrades will provide a significantly enhanced experience for users of Unley Oval.

Whilst the upgrades will not mean any significant visual change to the oval vista when viewed from anywhere on the playing field or surrounds, they will deliver facilities much more closely aligned to the AFL Preferred Facilities Guidelines for State League competitions. They will also provide much improved facilities for all other users of the oval besides the footballers, in terms of amenities, canteen access, and community function facilities.

The key features of the nominated upgrade option include:
McKay Stand
• Small extension on northern end containing Umpires Rooms and possible Property Store on the ground floor, and a new public canteen on the upper level which is directly accessible by the public from the mound in front of the stand
• Interior fully upgraded for use as ‘away team’ rooms with locker room, warm up room and replacement amenities
Oatey Stand
• Ground Floor – new public toilets, new ‘home team’ rooms
• First Floor – office accommodation
• Second Floor – function rooms
• Lift to be installed

The total estimated project cost is in the order of $8.25 million, and it is anticipated that grant funding and contributions from the Sturt Football Club (perhaps via the SANFL Football Park distribution) would comprise a major component of this amount.