Providing Local Leadership: Working for better local government (LGA).

The City of Unley has not taken full advantage of their membership of the Local Government Association (LGA). Many other Councils likewise.

 

LGA LogoThey all willingly take advantage of services such as the discounts available on Insurance or lower finance costs in taking out loans. Likewise, other services such as these are on offer and utilised.

We all also gain a benefit from the significant research and advocacy that the LGA provides. Research and advocacy that Councils individually simply could not afford to do on their own.

Councils who contribute to what to research or what advocacy to undertake are the ones who receive the greatest benefit. By this I mean the LGA will research what the Councils who take an interest ask them to research. Likewise they will undertake advocacy roles asked of them by the majority of Councils. Unley has not recently contributed t this.

Some Councils who also have been inactive here have complained they don’t get the service they should from the LGA. Murmurings similar to this have echoed from time to time in Unley.

I have always been a firm believer that an association is only as good as its membership. Active members make for a strong association. Passive members don’t contribute and this is when a feeling of disassociation occurs. Not because of the executive however but because of the members themselves.

To avoid the City of Unley being caught up in this I have put my hand up to become our representative on the Greater Adelaide Region of Councils (GAROC) Committee. Council has endorsed my nomination.

If elected to this board by the LGA members I need also to look for your endorsement as one of your two local councillors. If you elect someone else, no-one from Unley will be providing local leadership to the LGA.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: New Council, new faces, new ideas, needs stability and local leadership

The make-up of the new Unley Council is going to be totally different to recent councils. It will be just that, a new Council. It will have new faces and new ideas. We will see greater representation from both a gender and age perspective.

 

Stability

Change is great. Change should be welcomed. Significant change however, which we will be experiencing, needs stability and local leadership.

As I have indicated a few times recently I expect there to be at least 5 females on the new council.

Indeed we have two already, having been elected unopposed. Monica Broniecki will be co-councillor with Cr Michael Rabbit in the Unley Park ward. Jordan Dodd will be co-councillor with Cr Peter Hughes in the Fullarton ward.

Three of our wards have seven candidates each. Five of the seven in both Goodwood and Unley wards are female. One of the seven in Parkside are female. Clarence Park ward has 4 candidates. Two male, one female and one transgender female.

Looking at candidates attending recent Council meetings I would assess the majority of the candidates to be much younger than the current council. It is not unreasonable therefore to expect the next council to be a much younger council.

The current council had but one member (at age 30’ish) under the age of 50. It had three over the age of 80’ish. The median age of the next council is quite likely to be in the region of 50, with a handful over this age and a handful under this age.

The bottom line is the new council is going to be much different than the outgoing council. Not only will there be at least 5 changes, the changes will create a far greater degree of diversity.

With such change happening automatically, I believe it is important that we do not lose the corporate knowledge and the experience of the previous council. To that end it is desirable to re-elect members such as myself to ensure some stability and local leadership in the new council.

 

StabilityIt is not that long ago that I joined council. I remember my introduction into Council was the biggest learning curve I have experienced in my life. It took some time to acclimatise into the Council structure and ethos.

The new members of the next council will surely find similarly. They will need time to collectively and individually acclimatise to the structure and ethos of Council. While they are, those with knowledge and experience will be needed to guide the newbies through the transition phase.

An exciting prospect to be sure.

A prospect I relish as we transition to a new generation. Hopefully you will place on me the responsibility of providing stability and local leadership to the new brigade.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Time to consider an Unley Cat By-Law

The time I believe is right to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. I am hearing this from rate payers as I walk the streets of the Clarence Park Ward.

 

Cat ByLawI am hearing this from rate payers who have problems with stray cats. Likewise I am hearing from rate payers who are responsible cat lovers. I am hearing it also from ratepayers who are concerned about native wildlife.

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Earlier this year I represented and advocated for a solution over a cat dispute between neighbours within the Ward. I helped both the cat owner and the aggrieved neighbour negotiate with council for a solution.

The end result was, I believe, a win-win for both.

The City of Unley does not have a cat by-law. It is true we have not had many complaints about nuisance cats. We have had enough however for us to consider an Unley Cat By-Law.

The previous Government recently made changes to South Australia’s laws in dog and cat management. Changes that are being phased in over the next 12 months. These changes include new requirements for micro-chipping, de-sexing and breeder registration.

Beyond this, under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, local councils can introduce By-laws for the management of cats that go beyond this legislative mandate.

Such by-laws may include—

  • limiting the number of cats that may be kept on any premises;
  • fixing periods during which cats must be effectively confined to premises occupied by a person who is responsible for the control of the cat.

Two simple but effective measures that our whole community would surely support. We don’t need I would suggest to go any further than this.

I commit to providing local leadership by encouraging council to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. A simple cat By-Law that everyone can agree to.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Safer Clarence Park Rail Station

A safer Clarence Park Rail Station is high on my agenda. This is one of those Advocating at State & Federal Level issues I spoke of yesterday.

 

Safer Clarence Park Rail StationA safer Clarence Park Rail Station has already been recognised through our local Clarence Park Neighbourhood Watch. Living so close to the rail station, being a frequent user, and conscious of the safety issue I am looking to take this to the State Government.

Prior to the electrification of the Seaford (previously Noarlunga line) the station had self closing gates at all 4 entrances. In spite of the increased safety risk with the use of more silent trains nothing happened. DPTI argued back then, that safety was not an issue.

Attempts in the past with the previous Government to reinstate them were unfortunately not successful. With a new Government and with a new Council comes fresh hope. Hope that appropriate safety comes back to the Clarence Park Rail Station.

This with the Clarence Park Community Centre child care service located directly opposite the station in Black Forest. Likewise with the Clarence Park Community Kindergarten on the other side in Clarence Park.

I have witnessed many train drivers sounding their horns to alert pedestrians about to step out in front of the train. They have done it to me even though I believe I was far enough back and alert to their presence.

This should not be the primary strategy for safe crossing at the Clarence Park Train Station. Like nearby Fairfax Avenue and Victoria Street there should be self closing gates at the Clarence Park Train Station. Like also exists at the Hove and Oaklands Rail Stations.

I will work for you, providing local leadership, if you allow me to work with you to lobby for this safety necessity.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: promoting communication skills training

Have you ever had a fight with your Council? Has this caused you frustration because you don’t know where to turn to, to get resolution? Would you like to see communication skills training for the staff you deal with?

 

Communication skills trainingI have seen many an example of members of the community being exasperated in their communications with Council.

Local Government is the closest level of Government to the People. Its very nature, being local, creates relationships with the community that the other two spheres of government simply can’t achieve. Indeed, surveys indicate a higher level of trust between the community and local government than there is with either the State or the Federal Government.

For all that, we stuff up. Because we are human, we stuff up a lot. I believe much of this is, is due to a lack of communication skills training.

What I have found is that complaints against council are invariably not about the trip hazard not being fixed, or the tree not cut down, or the planning decision you did not agree with. It is the Council’s inability to get back to you. The inability of Council to keep you informed as they research the issue you have with Council. To keep you in the loop.

Communication is I believe the most important skill a person can acquire. The longer I have been on this planet the more this becomes obvious to me.

Given Council is the closest to the people it behoves us to be the best communicators in the business.

To achieve this, we need two components. The first is to have some structure and process so that we have a consistent approach across the organisation. The second is the need for communication skills training.

The first the City of Unley has achieved, courtesy of a new policy that I had a leading influence in developing. The second will require council to provide communication skills training to all on our staff that have contact with the community.

Promoting this has commenced and the first step is our CEO recommending leadership training for the new elected members. I am happy for us to start there. Elected members undergoing training is an example of leadership in action.

Next step, I will be advocating (hopefully with elected member support) to direct training to our management and staff. I need your vote first so I can be in a position of providing local leadership and working for you.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

Providing Local Leadership: Advocating at State & Federal level

While Local Government should focus on Local Government there will always be State & Federal Issues that directly impact Local. Reasons for local leaders to lobby, advocating at State & Federal level.

 

Advocating at State & Federal levelsThe City of Unley and our Clarence Park Ward, most importantly, has these.

As a result, I will continue to advocate on your behalf, working for you. Just as I have in the past on such issues as the Seaford Rail Electrification and Grade Separation at Victoria Street.

Likewise as I did with the DPA2 pushing against higher density housing in Black Forest.

 South Road

What will the South Road project mean to Black Forest residents and businesses.

Black Forest could potentially become land locked. Just like the Millswood area around Goodwood Oval and the Millswood area east of the Belair line. Will traffic be able to enter and exit South Road from Byron, Cowper, Addison and Forest Avenues? Besides that, Emerson Rail Station may not survive.

Above all, the interests of Black Forest residents must be considered with high priority by the State Government.

This requires providing local leadership, advocating at state & federal level.

Rail Freight

There is no better time to push again for the freight trains to be diverted away from the Belair line.

The State Government is promoting GlobeLink and they have a supportive Federal Government and a supportive Federal Member in Nicole Flint (Boothby electorate). As a result, we have a chance to lobby them to meet their commitment to diverting the freight trains away from Millswood.

A chance to advocate at state & federal level for reduced risk of derailment and cancer causing diesel air contamination.

Rail Station Safety

Clarence Park Rail Station needs to become more accessible to all including aged, disabled and mothers with pushers.

By advocating at state & federal level with the new State Government, we can push for greater safety at the Clarence Park Rail Station. Most noteworthy, the Station needs self-closing gates similar to what has been provided at Fairfax Avenue and Victoria Street.

In addition, what about providing DDA compliant ramps to allow disability scooters and chairs (and mothers with babies in prams) to safely access the platform.

Working for you and with you I will advocate at state & federal level for these things.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

Providing Local Leadership: Outside Clarence Park Ward

Providing local leadership in Council does require an elected member to consider all the Council area, not just their own ward. I have taken a leadership role outside Clarence Park ward in a number of key initiatives.

 

Projects Outside Clarence Park

In the last 8 years I have contributed to, if not driven, many initiatives outside Clarence Park. I intend to replicate this in the next 4 years. Indeed, I have several initiatives as listed below that I particularly wish to promote.

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King William Road

As a small business person, I have been probably the most consistent advocate for the redevelopment of King William Road. Readers of my blog would know how frustrated I was on occasions as the media portrayed what we were trying to do was to decide on whether to keep pavers or bituminise the street. The same readers would know it is much more than that. Indeed, they would know that the final design was something I had envisaged from the time I became your councillor.

The project will commence earlier next year. It still needs strong leadership as the construction process will be challenging for traders, customers and the local residents alike.

Village Green

As a member and a previous Warden of the Parish of St Augustine’s Anglican Church I am intimate with the village green. This is the lawned area behind the Church and the Council Civic Centre. It is in the heart of Unley.

I was a key driver of the paved courtyard area that separates the Village Green and the Civic Centre and Church. The courtyard is now a much used and loved area. It provides a pedestrian access from Rugby Street through to Unley Road. A lovely stroll many take advantage of.

Our last Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, thought so highly of it he used it for his wedding reception after marrying in the Church.

Unley Oval Redevelopment

Like Goodwood Oval I have been integral to what has been achieved so far at Unley Oval.

The picket fencing and the redevelopment of the Jack Oatey stand I proudly have been a major instigator for. Providing local leadership is necessary to see the heritage (McKay) stand redeveloped.

Invigorating Oxford Terrace

I have always seen, since long before getting on Council, an Oxford Terrace that is pedestrian focused. The same as we are now doing to King William Road.

This is a project that has yet not received sufficient support from my colleagues. It has fallen  agonisingly short on a couple of occasions to get to the chamber. I will continue to fight and urge consideration of this being part of our long-term strategy.

Civic Centre Improvements

The Unley Civic Centre remains an inward focused architecture with no reference to the surrounding streets. Now that I have been able to access the inner sanctum as it where, I can also say it is a most inefficient building.

Like Oxford Terrace, by providing local leadership, I am keen to work for you to have us continue explorations that have commenced albeit in a small way. This starts with being re-elected of course.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

Providing Local Leadership: Green Verges rather than Ugly Dolomite

Forever berating the existence of dolomite verges that frequent the City of Unley, I recently inspired a solution offered by Council’s administration. We approved in this term of Council a program designed to encourage green verges rather than ugly dolomite.

 

Planting Verges

Planting Verges

Unlike the outer suburbs of Adelaide finish not at the street kerb but at the property fence line. This discourages home owners from looking after what is, at the end of the day, Council property.

 

 

If your lawn continued to the street kerb you would mow it. Unfortunately there is no apparent obligation where it finishes at your fence line.

Therein lies my dilemma. Past Councils saw dolomite as the solution to property owners not looking after the verge in front of their house. Certainly it presented as a cost effective solution. This is because dolomite does not require anyone to look after it. If looking after the verge is to be a Council responsibility it would add significantly to the rates you pay.

Dolomite is that ugly grey material. It pulls down the value of properties where it is the prominent verge solution.

The solution was to encourage home owners to take ownership and work in partnership with us to green the verges. Accordingly, our commitment was to pull up the dolomite and provide loam in lieu. The home owner contribution was to plant the verges. Examples of what could be done were provided by us in Edmund Street, Unley.

Many more than what we have budgeted for have taken up this opportunity. The uptake has been inspiring. I am looking to make sure this initiative continues.

Should I be re-elected, I can do this by providing local leadership and working for you and with you for a better street amenity. Would you rather green verges rather than ugly dolomite.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Page Park Dog Park

Linked to many other parks and reserves last year an effort to adjust the hours for dogs off leads in the Page Park Dog Park failed.

 

Page Park Dogs

Page Park Dogs

Many parks and reserves in and around Clarence Park cater for children. Goodwood Oval backs up the two dedicated playgrounds at Princess Margaret and Dora Guild Playgrounds. As a result Page Park Reserve has become by default, Page Park Dog Park.

 

Because of this dog owners using Page Park requested we consider extending the hours when dogs could be off leash during the winter months.

Council considered the request. In so doing we (Council) linked Page Park to many reserves throughout the City of Unley. Concerns that extending the hours would interfere with access to the same reserves by children prompted us to reject the proposition.

Anyone who uses or passes by Page Park would be well aware of the heavy usage by dog owners. We owe it to them to reconsider a Page Park Dog Park only (stand alone) with a new motion for extended hours.

I propose to reintroduce the concept of extended hours in the next term of Council. In so doing we will need to reconsider the times. We will need to look into how to avoid extended use interfering with the use of the tennis courts. We will also need to ensure people using the gym equipment are not inconvenienced.

Researched correctly Council will be in a much better position to make a more informed decision. At the same time we can improve the dog friendly infrastructure with things like dog fountains.

With your help I can by providing local leadership work for you to bring about a solution that works for all the users of this park.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Local Economic Prosperity

To achieve local economic prosperity there is much a Council can do. In my time the City of Unley has always been conscious of being alert to ways it can stimulate economic activity.

 

Economic DevelopmentWe have done this via a body called the Unley Business and Economic Development committee (UBED). I have been a member of this committee for most of my time on Council. As a member, I am proud of our commitment to our businesses.

This committee has evolved over time, from a committee whose membership was mostly representatives of the various street traders associations and a couple of Councillors. During the life of the current Council the membership grew to include some independents, people with business and economic background but not associated with the traders. The number of councillors also grew. I promoted both of these changes.

The committee was a reactive committee, responding to initiatives considered either by Council or Council’s administration. The independent members of the current committee did however look to bring their own initiatives in a proactive approach. I had been advocating for similar since I joined the committee.

If returned to Council I will look, in seeking increased local economic prosperity, to encourage this committee to evolve even further. I will seek for this committee to become a more proactive committee, with members representing all our businesses.

 

Unley Business & Economic StrategyOur business and economic strategy is due for review. As part of the review, we need to recognise that our local economic prosperity goes much further than just assisting our local street trader businesses.

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The majority of our businesses are not the shop front businesses of Goodwood, King William and Unley Roads. They are the mum and dad businesses and the start ups operating out of home.

In my opinion, these businesses have been ignored for too long. Ignored simply because we did not know who they were. We now know how we can identify them.

I will be promoting that the UBED committee be a committee only made up of independent members and councillors. A committee looking to promote ways of helping all our businesses. A committee charged with bringing recommendations to Council rather than and in addition to Council bringing ideas to them for their input.

I will be seeking that Council recognises the value of UBED input into a wider range of  issues than normal. In other words to utilise UBED to provide economic insight into a wider range of Council initiatives. Issues not necessarily recognised as contributing to our local economic prosperity.

To advance this, it is my intention to seek election by Council as the presiding member of this new community.

With your support I will get this opportunity.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Waste Not Want Not in a Throw Away Society

Do you remember when your Grandma used to say “Ducky, waste not want not”. Those who lived through the great depression learnt that great lesson to waste not want not.

 

Waste Not Want Not

Waste Not Want Not

We live today in an affluent society. A throwaway society and have had for 40 or more years. Before that time, during the war years and the great depression that separated them, we salvaged all we could as part of that waste not want not paradigm.

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Remember too the Dustin Hoffman movie “The Graduate” when the student Benjamin Braddock was mentored by the wise old man Mr. McGuire that “plastics are the future”. How accurate was that prediction that plastics would be the future.

With plastics has come a waste challenge however unlike anything that anyone would have imagined.

This is one of the biggest challenges facing modern communities. We all know the gravity of the problem. We all need to be part of the solution.

The lead in addressing waste must come from the State Government. Our current State Government will hopefully expand on the successes of past state governments, going back to the days of putting a deposit on drink containers.

Councils can provide local leadership.

They can lobby the State Government, particularly with the China ban on taking our yellow bin waste.

Councils can lead by example by reducing what we contribute to the proliferation of plastic waste. We can, as we have just decided, not provide plastics straws at events we run. Likewise we can investigate providing filtered water in all our facilities in lieu of bottled water, and other like strategies.

The Community can play a part too.

You can have a waste not want not paradigm by be being more discerning with how you dispose of your rubbish, on what goods you buy that may be a single use product. You can also participate in determining issues that your local leadership can pursue.

The other way you can help is by electing candidates that can provide the local leadership for the City of Unley to be, in turn, a leader in the local government industry when it comes to waste disposal.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Develop a Tree Policy that Works For All

The City of Unley needs a Tree Policy that works for all. One that balances all the needs of our Community. To achieve this I make this election pledge: to develop a tree policy that works for all.

I pledge to fight for an improved tree policy, one that recognises all needs. A tree policy that works for all.

 

Tree Policy that works for allWith a loss of 23% of tree canopy in recent times there has been a cry from many in our community to introduce measures that protect against further loss. Equally there have been many in our community incensed with trees they view as dangerous which are not removed.

We must find a balance between the two. To have a tree policy that works for all, we must address all of the following (not just one): A policy that:

  1. Retains and/or improves the tree canopy cover in the City of Unley
  2. Provides shade in our streets
  3. That does not inhibit accessibility for all
  4. Avoids danger to Life and property

Canopy Cover

Two major contributors to the loss of canopy cover are the loss of trees on private property, through redevelopment. This is through the conversion of single houses into 2, 3 or even 4 in its place. It comes also from home improvements.

We need to find ways to ensure we have a responsible tree cover notwithstanding our communities desires for accommodation.

Shade

Shade is essential as our citizens walk or cycle in our public spaces. We can do this. My own observations within the Clarence Park Ward is we still have room for more street and park plantings. I will advocate for this.

Accessibility

At the same time we need to be conscious that we all need to be able to move around our streets. That is able people, mothers and kids (including in prams), aged persons and those of us with disabilities.

We need therefore to be discerning about where we plant trees.

Danger to Life and Property

As much as we have a need to encourage increased tree cover we need to look at ensuring the safety of our community. Safety of both person and property.

✓ We need a tree policy that recognises trip and slipping hazards on our footpaths.

✓ We need a tree policy that recognises the dangers a tree may present with dropping limbs/branches onto houses, onto people (kids in particular).

We need to recognise the nuisance value of trees that may contribute to leaking in houses due to gutter blockages etc.

In summary

Only by addressing all these competing interests can we expect to develop a tree policy that works for all.

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

Providing Local Leadership: Ensuring Financial Responsibility.

Ensuring financial responsibility is one of the major obligations of an elected member of Council. Without financial responsibility there is no limit to what a Council could charge its ratepayers for the services they provide.

 

Ensuring Financial ResponsibilityCouncils have an obligation to provide services to their community. Many of these are mandated by the Local Government Act. Many are the result of Council responding to community needs over time.

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They have however a responsibility too, to keep expenditure on these services to a level our community can afford.

Whatever the impetus behind the provision of a service they do come at a cost. Every time Councillors make a decision at a Council meeting it invariably means the commitment of dollars ($). Quite frequently it also means adding to the long-term cost of running the Council.

Initiatives like changing footpaths from bitumen paved to paved with concrete pavers not only come at a one time cost. They also add to the long term budget. Such an exercise adds to the budget for (in this case) in excess of 20 years just to make it happen.

It adds permanently to the maintenance budget as well. Maintaining concrete/brick pavers come at a cost well in excess of bitumen. Why?

Pavers last longer than bitumen. They are not flexible however and easily create trip hazards we would not see with bitumen. A decision by Council decades ago has impacted on all of us. The cost to you and I of this decision is significant.

The current council has been very conscious of this impact.

We have been very discerning about the decisions we make as a result. Those members who continue (I hope I am one) will take this same responsibility going forward.

We have in my opinion kept rate rises to an absolute minimum. As I have blogged before, we have been imposing a rate cap on ourselves for the last 6 years or so. We have delayed therefore projects and not included initiatives requested by our community because of it.

It is my intention to continue providing local leadership by ensuring financial responsibility with my contribution in all the decisions we make.

That said, we also do not need any external oversight, other than from you.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

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: Working For You, advocating for and representing you.

One of the greatest pleasures I experience as a Councillor is when I am working for you directly. When I am advocating for and representing you with the bureaucracy.

 

A councillor has two roles. One of these according the Local Government Act is.

as a person elected to the council—to represent the interests of residents and

ratepayers, to provide community leadership and guidance, and to facilitate

communication between the community and the council.

Advocating for & representing youSo, when I am not in the chamber participating in the deliberations of Council, I am working for you to address concerns you may have with council. I am helping you to navigate through the bureaucracy. Advocating for and representing you.

I love this part of the job. As much as I enjoy the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf, helping you is the most rewarding.

The bureaucracy can be an intimidating, sometimes remote beast that can be challenging at the best of times. My experience on Council, indeed my relationships with the staff, allow me to mentor and guide you when it seems like we don’t care.

Sometimes my assistance will simply be guiding you in how to communicate to Council and its staff. Often it will be to represent you and advocate for you.

Many of you have asked for my assistance in communicating with Council. Working for you and with you has resulted in numerous successes. While not successful on all occasions, I am proud that I have won many a concession for and on your behalf.

That said, as many of you know I have a passion for improving the communication between you and council. I will be blogging shortly on my mission to ensure training of our staff in communication skills.

If I achieve this you should not need my intervention as much. Gee. I might do myself out of a job. Until then and beyond I will continue to be advocating for and representing you.

 

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

 

 

Waste collection- Fortnightly or Weekly

It seems every year the fortnightly or weekly bin debate recurs. This has been the storey dominating the media cycle today. So frequently what we continue to hear is it is all about cost saving.

Council waste binsI have entered this debate frequently in the past. Each time I have advocated that the question should not be about reducing the blue bin but about increasing the frequency of the green bin collection.

Our food stuff, the smelly stuff, the stuff that attracts ants should go in the green bin. We should therefore be talking about this bin being collected weekly. Conversely the blue bin, which goes to landfill, should be fortnightly.

In other words this should not be a debate focused on fortnightly or weekly. It should be about green verses blue.

An opinion incidentally I expressed today to Channel 9 when interviewed by chance in my own street.

We believe however and are being told the blue bin contains the smelly, ant attracting rubbish. This means that we as a society are not interested in getting biodegradable rubbish away from landfill.

It’s important to note, in spite of what you may be hearing, is that the LGA does not yet have an endorsed position on waste collection frequency. Until its member councils are consulted, the LGA cannot hold a position. This has not yet happened. All it is doing is trying to start the conversation.

The State Government must take the lead as the frequency of collections is set in their legislation. Any position that the LGA (on behalf of councils) might take, they (we) can only lobby the State Government to consider changing the collection.

Based on comments however made by both the Government and the Opposition today, it appears unlikely that there is support in Parliament for changes to the current system. This means they are not interested in taking the lead in better waste disposal.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Independent Elected Members not Party Political affiliates.

Speculation is high that party politics have entered into the City of Adelaide elections. As a result, it is time to reflect on what has been great about local government in South Australia.

That is that our councils are filled with independent elected members not party political affiliates. Certainly, this is the way it should be in Local Government.

Indpendent CandidateLet me start with stating that I do not have and never have had any party political affiliations.

In my 8 years on Council there has also been no evidence of party politics in the Unley chamber.

So, the members in that time did not have any party political affiliation. Certainly, if they did, it was never apparent to me.

Elected members, having said, have put their hand up for State Parliament. These members have by so doing indicated a leaning one way or another politically.

The former Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, did recently run for state parliament of the Liberal Party. His affiliation however never impacted, in my opinion, in the chamber. As Mayor, his role was limited to chairing the meetings. From memory he only ever had a vote on a handful of occasions, to break a deadlock.

We read this week that the Greens have deplored the City of Adelaide Lord Mayor allegedly endorsing Liberal affiliated candidates in their election.  So, they are apparently endorsing members of their party as candidates.

Do you want your local government representatives being truly independent? What about keeping party politics out of the Council Chamber? Do you want independent elected members, not party political affiliates?

If you do, I encourage you to seek a commitment from the candidates in your ward that they are independent.

PS  Vote 1 Don Palmer for a truly independent candidate.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Righting a Wrong. Decision to implement parking restrictions reversed.

When was the last time you found yourself righting a wrong. My last time was last night. That is when I moved a motion to have a previous council decision to implement parking restrictions reversed.

After the original decision was made I felt sick. I knew we had made the wrong decision. Accordingly I apologised to the residents for what had occurred, believing that the decision could not be reversed.

Meredyth Avenue, MillswoodMillswood residents (around Goodwood Oval) were surveyed recently for their thoughts as to whether or not they were experiencing commuter inspired parking issues. They were prompted in this survey whether these issues warrant implementing parking restrictions. The residents in Graham & Meredyth Avenues were not included in the survey and therefore had no say.

Having not been included in the survey, their streets were therefore not included in a motion proposed by our administration. In their wisdom, Council amended this motion in what we believed was a way to recognise the missing streets. As can happen on the night in the chamber we got it horribly wrong.  We created a situation for the residents of the two streets that were indeed worse for them.

 

Last night I moved a motion to correct this. I tabled a motion to have the council decision to implement parking restrictions reversed.

 

In putting the motion, I argued that it was not fair to link them to the results of a survey they were not party to. Equally it was unwise to implement a solution to a problem that may not exist in the future.

Council agreed with me. The motion was seconded by my co-councillor Jennie Boisvert. It was passed unanimously.

In other words Council obviously saw and accepted their error. They showed they had the collective strength of character to  accept they were wrong and correct it.

With the decision to implement parking restrictions reversed we can now focus on whether or not providing parking restrictions in nearby streets will impact on their streets or not. This we will do over the next 6 months.

If we find that parking issues have arisen and that parking restrictions need to be considered we will consult first with the residents, as always we should.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Future use of the Hockey Field.

What will be the future use of the hockey field at Goodwood Oval?

 

Future Use of Hockey FieldA study into the future use of the hockey field at Goodwood Oval will commence soon. Providing local leadership, Co-Councillor Jennie & I pushed to have this included in the current budget of Council.

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The Forestville Hockey Club will soon, as we all know, be moving to the Women’s Memorial Playing Fields. The move however is well into the future, as much as 3 or more years away. Rather than wait however, it is important that we consider the future use of this area now.

There are many possible solutions. There is bound to be many a competing interest in the strip of dirt located in the south east corner of the Goodwood Oval precinct.

We need time to work through options that will surface. Providing local leadership and working with and for you will see the best solution become apparent over time. Knowing the needs and aspirations of those who may stake a claim will prove a valuable asset to whomever will be providing local leadership during this exercise.

As a frequent user/visitor of Goodwood Oval I know what its limitations are. I also know the opportunities. Already having a relationship with all the possible interest groups as we consider the future use of the hockey field places me well to work with you and for you to enable the best solution to reveal itself.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.