City of Unley 2018/19 Budget ready for Public Input.

The City of Unley tomorrow night will consider and endorse the draft of the 2018/19 Budget for public input. You will then have an opportunity to review the presented projects and their impact on funding requirements.

It will be your chance to influence 2108/19 budget, the rates you will be paying, and what services you will receive for this. It is indeed your chance to show the new State Government that you would prefer to influence our budget rather than allow another tier of Government (with no empathy for your neighbourhood) do it for you.

Council is considering a rate increase of 2.5% resulting in new borrowings in the order of $5.277 m to deliver all proposed projects and maintain current service levels. Not yet included is any allowance for increased waste disposal costs on the 2018/19 Budget.

Not included is any impact resulting from China’s ban on foreign waste to determine how this will affect our recyclables contract. We are currently investigating the impact. I am not sure whether we will have enough information to include it tomorrow night. Once done though it will quantify any possible cost increases for the disposal of recyclables (yellow bin) so as to incorporate it in our final draft.

Community consultation on our 2018/19 Budget

Community consultation will occur between 26 April and 25 May 2018. It will include six (6) public meetings/community information sessions as shown below. Council will also receive submissions by visiting Council’s website (through Your Say Unley) or written submissions to PO Box 1, Unley 5061.

We will accept all submissions up until the close of business on 25 May 2018.

Location                                                      Date                                 Time

Goodwood Library                                        10 May                            10.30am – 11.30am

Clarence Park Community Centre            10 May                             6.30pm – 7.30pm

(How convenient for ratepayers residing in my Ward)

Unley Civic Centre                                        14 May                             6.30pm – 7.30pm

Living Choice Fisher Street                        17 May                             10.30am – 11.30am

Living Choice Fisher Street                        17 May                              6.00pm – 7.00pm

Unley Community Centre                         21 May                              10.00am- 11.00am

The Annual Community Plan which underpins the 2018/19 budget will be found on the Council website after the meeting. Highlights can be found in my separate blog which I expect to post on Tuesday.

Now that the dust has settled on the State election it is now time to turn our attention to Local Government

Congratulations to Jayne Stinson on being elected as the member for Badcoe and to David Pisoni on being returned in the seat of Unley. I look forward to working with you both to better our local community.

Councillor, Clarence Park Ward. City of Unley.

Now that the dust has settled on the State election it is now time to turn our attention to Local Government. Yes! Council elections are scheduled for November this year.

It is my intention to put my hand up again. I will be looking to continue as one of your two Clarence Park Ward Councillors.

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Why Councillor? Why not Mayor?

Many people have asked me in recent times to run for Mayor, which is certainly flattering. I believe however my true value to council and to its ratepayers is to focus on being a Ward Councillor.

The elections will see a significant turnover of elected members. Two members, one being the Mayor, have already resigned. Two other councillors have announced that they will not be renominating. A fifth is considering his future.

Five of 13 positions on Council will therefore see a change of member.

Two, maybe three, of our current membership are considering running for Mayor. Given anyone losing the Mayoral race will not be on Council this means a turnover of 7 out of the 13 positions. If I were to run for mayor too the change will lift to 8, 9 if an outsider won the Mayoral race.

Change is usually healthy. It is good to see change after each council election. New ideas, new perspective, new energy etc. If the extent of change is excessive however this can be unsettling.

This is because the learning curve when stepping into the elected member role is extreme. New members therefore need time to settle in.

Running for Mayor, with so many others considering it, would increase this risk.

Please Minister, Follow Unley’s Lead

As the government tries to take the lead on Planning Reform I implore them to follow Unley’s lead.

 

The Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure (DPTI), on behalf of the Minister, wrote to us late last year. They put a proposition to us  to co-operate with them as they push ahead with the Government’s planning agenda.

In attempting to take the lead on planning reform they have asked councils to collaborate with them. They are asking us to sign a formal agreement to work with them. An agreement intended as a living document that will adapt as things evolve and change. An agreement recognising the need for a more “formal” elected member involvement and direction.

I implore them to simply follow Unley’s lead. They have agreed with Unley’s approach to good design but this has yet to occur in other council areas.

This week our City Strategy & Policy Committee will be making a recommendation to Council in response to the Government’s request. I expect the committee (of which I am a member) and indeed council to agree to work with them. To facilitate the efficient and effective development and implementation of the new planning system, the co-operation and contribution of local government is pivotal.

In a spirit of continued co-operation and as an investment in better “local” outcomes, a genuine commitment to involvement is warranted. However, this must work both ways.

They (DPTI) need to recognise our understanding of the local environment. They need to follow Unley’s lead. Furthermore, other councils need to follow Unley’s lead.

We have already, with a series of DPAs, achieved the population accommodation required by the Government’s 30-year plan. We achieved this with selective rezoning. It has been achieved with planning principles for transitioning to adjacent residential zones not achieved anywhere else.

Please Minister, whoever you may be after the upcoming election, follow Unley’s lead.

People Power Does Work.

Don’t bother responding to this public consultation. You are wasting your time. They don’t listen to you. Thought that? Heard that?

I am here to tell you that People Power Does Work!

 

The Planning Minister recently advised that 4 of the “specific sites” recently proposed for zoning changes were not included in the approved development plan amendment. He cited significant community opposition as one of the motivators behind his decision.

He also agreed with the reasons given for opposition to those sites expressed by the local community.

The community says no

People power does work.

One of the sites was at Unley Road Malvern. Not many in the community were aware of the proposed changes. Communication by the Government was poor and the reason for this. One of the local elected members for Council, Cr Michael Rabbitt took it upon himself to alert the local community.

Jennie and I did this during DPA 2 a few years back. We made sure that everyone that would be affected by the proposed changes knew that the changes were proposed. We also encouraged, as did Michael this time, the community to put their views forward.

Speaking with Malvern residents yesterday at a celebratory street party I heard how those who spoke out were told by some they were wasting their time. They were told they were that no-one ever listens, that they won’t change the Government’s mind.

Wrong. They were listened to. People power does work. Not only were the listened to, they had the ultimate influence over the minister’s final decision. This, with 3 others  was excluded.

The same occurred with three other sites in other Council areas.

It also occurred with DPA 2 I mentioned above. It occurred with the recent Unley Central DPA where both the Council and the Minister took notice.

People power does work.

Let me finish with a question for you. What is the worst thing that could happen if you don’t speak up?

Community participation in government community engagement programs do impact

The benefit of community participation in government community engagement programs can be seen behind the headlines in yesterday’s Advertiser “New Laws pave way for $200m in high-rise projects.

The report goes on to indicate that Adelaide is set to go sky high. The State Government has approved taller building height limits for eight hubs across the metropolitan area. Actually 8 specific sites would be a more accurate description. This means four sites in total were removed from the DPA, including one in Unley.

The community engagement on the Development Plan Amendment (DPA) covered twelve sites, 4 of which are in the City of Unley. The sites removed were all hotly contested by the relevant local community. That included our own site 7 at Unley Road Malvern.

 “I have not approved rezoning for the 4 sites where the community was strongly opposed to the rezoning, and where impacts on adjoining residents would be more difficult to manage,” Planning Minister John Rau said.

“The size and location of those sites meant that the interface with existing houses would be challenging.”

His observations of the impact of such development at Malvern are “spot on”.

Had it not been though for the community reaction of the local residents would likely not have been made. Truthfully, they are that obvious the sites should not have been considered in the first place.

 A victory therefore for people power. But only because they stood up and spoke. It is rare for the community to stand up at the DPA stage of the process. Rather the end of the process when an actual development is likely not at serious variance to the approved plan.

Cr Michael Rabbitt is to be congratulated for alerting the residents in this area. This is like Jennie and I did a couple of years back when DPA2 was on the books and with similar result.

It will be interesting to see how the local residents react when a development application is lodged at the other 8 sites, including the 3 in Unley.

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.

 

Jayne Stinson engages with our local community in the Battle for Badcoe.

Hot on the heels of my blog recently on a 3rd candidate in the battle for Badcoe, endorsed Labor candidate Jayne Stinson engages with our local community in the Battle for Badcoe.

She held two public meetings yesterday. The first was held at Dora Guild Playground; the second at Page Park. I attended both.

Of interest was the presence of the President’s or immediate past presidents of three of our local premier sporting organisations.

Jayne was entertained by President Craig at the Goody Saints v University match

Goodwood Saints Football Club and Goodwood Cricket Club promoted their joint pursuit of female participation in their respective sports. Both clubs are leaders in their competitions and are active in female participation. Later Jayne spent the afternoon as guest of the Footy Club watching the “A” grade beat and pass University in the top five.

They are both keen to see renovations to the Grandstand. Renovations that are long overdue. Renovations that have become urgent given female participation in both Football and Cricket. They lobbied for grant funding for Council’s proposed upgrades.

Millswood Bowling Club and, by way of a phone call to me to promote their needs, Millswood Croquet Club promoted their respective grant funding needs. The Bowling Club is in urgent need for upgraded female toilet facilities and likewise a need for disabled facilities. The Croquet Club in need of new premises.

All four have embraced the principles of Council’s Active Unley strategy. This has resulted in the needs promoted.

Their lobbying backs up my lobbying with Jayne earlier this year.

Other issues included looking at safety of the pedestrian rail crossings at the Clarence Park Rail Station. The introduction of quieter and faster trains while removing gates has created a more dangerous environment than ever before noting this is a Station that has previously seen a death of a young child.

In the meantime, I am looking to catch up with the 3rd candidate later this week, Cr John Woodward.

The question on everyone’s lips is, Is the Mayor going to resign

I have been asked often recently is the Mayor going to resign? This refers to his Liberal preselection to the State seat of Badcoe I reported on Saturday. So! Is the Mayor going to resign?

This morning the Mayor has answered that question. He has advised his intentions to both members of Council and to the Executive.

First up, the Local Government Act provides for this.

Clause 54 (1) (e). A member of council must resign when that member becomes a member of an Australian Parliament. It does not require this if he or she is campaigning to become a member.

Clause 54 (8) deals with a casual vacancy that exists in the Office of Mayor on or after January 1 on a year in which a periodic election is due. It indicates a member chosen by Council may act in the office of Mayor until the conclusion of the election. The next periodic election for Council is November next year.

If the Mayor were to resign prior to January 1 next year the ratepayers of the City of Unley would have to fund a by-election. Not so if he resigns after that time.

Beyond this should the Mayor take a leave of absence the Deputy Mayor will become Acting Mayor during that absence. Under the Act any elected member can take a leave of absence for up to 3 consecutive regular council meetings without the approval of Council.

Lachlan has indicated his intentions to us.

That all said, our Mayor has advised that it is his intention to take a leave of absence in October this year. He then intends to resign as Mayor in January of next year. This is pretty much in line with the provisions noted above.

In his letter to us he believes a Councillor as Acting Mayor from January will provide the greatest stability in leadership of the Unley community. He notes too it is also considerably less expensive than a general election. This he believes is his best option.
As the current Deputy Mayor I will therefore become Acting Mayor from October thru’ January. It means also that Council may elect from within our numbers an Acting Mayor. That position will occur from January through to the completion of the periodic election in November next year.

 

Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future?

Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future or not? I trust and hope that they still are. We will find out during the next month or so.

Council has been working on a series of Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) over the last 10 years or so. These DPAs have systematically been working through changes to our development plan to accommodate the State Governments 30-year plan.

Legislation requires us to develop and adopt development plans that are in accord with the State’s overarching development plan. If we fail to do this the Government, through the Planning Minister, can do it for us.

Throughout the 10 years we have consulted widely with our ratepayers. When the process began we and our community where clearly of one mind. That was to prevent our heritage conservation zones and our streetscape zones from being highjacked in the name of development by the Government. We were also of the same mind in avoiding wholesale 2 for 1 development throughout our suburbs.

My understanding is that our community understood that there was a price to pay for these protections. I was not on Coucnil back then. The price was that there would be high rise development potential made possible in the major corridors and in what we call Unley Central.

We won those protections. The State Government is therefore placing their trust in us to deliver as promised. To date our commitment has been partly met. The development plan now caters for higher development in the two main corridors. That is namely Unley Road and Greenhill Road.

Unley Central

The next step is to deliver on Unley Central. Are Unley Council and their residents working together on Unley Central?

I implore our community to remember if the Government is not satisfied with our recommendation they can amend the plan. They will do that in a manner of their choosing. We won’t get a say in it.

That could be to not change the unlimited heights possible now and simply facilitate development by allowing mixed use. Mixed use I suggest is the element that has probably prevented any redevelopment in this area to date.

No-one other than the Government (oh and developers) would want this option to win the day.

During March, Council will have three meetings at which the Unley Central DPA will be discussed. All three will be open to the public to attend and watch us go through our deliberations. Watch as we power our way through the results of a recent public consultation to determine what recommendations we put to the minister and his government.

Without pre-empting the result, I am sure that Council have listened. Adjustments are bound to be made to the draft plan. Heights will surely be reduced in some areas.

Whatever changes are or are not made I trust our community will respect what we do.

A Dream or a Nightmare?

Is Council’s dream of a Civic Centre Redevelopment turning into a nightmare long before it can even get started. Is it a dream or a nightmare?

oxford-terrace_montageThat is the question I and I think everyone else is asking after it has been mixed up with and confused the Unley Central DPA.

I wrote in my blog post on 31 October that Council had a vision of revitalising the Unley Central Precinct.

What we did not have (and still don’t) was a dream for what a redevelopment could provide our fair city. We had no dream of what the redevelopment might look like. Just a heap of thoughts of what might be but no solid dream.

We were looking to you to help us develop this dream. We set aside 12 months starting in March of next year to achieve this.

Amid claims in your feedback to the Unley DPA that we lack transparency it appears you are not interested in the slightest at seeing what we might be able to do. This is a pity and a concern.

A pity because what I see you telling us is you don’t want anything to change. This implies they are perfect now. Notwithstanding this however I constantly hear that things are not perfect.

A concern because we have instead of building a dream by ourselves and keeping you out of the loop we wanted to start the dream building process, with a blank sheet, with you. The ultimate I would have thought in transparency but with you believing otherwise the conversation has been all about what you don’t want.

We must take the blame for this failure in communication. Realistically we should have held back with the announcement until well after the DPA process had completed so to avoid confusing you. Maybe then we would have had a chance to start a conversation without the angst that clearly exists at present.

A dream or a  nightmare? Can we, will we, have a conversation later or will either:

1   you refuse to engage with us about what can be or,

2  Council have cold feet and think it is too hard.

In either case the old saying applies here. If the Dream is Big Enough the Facts Don’t Count. What dream? I believe neither of us know what the dream is and that is why we are were we are.