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.

The future of Unley’s Village Green is in good hands, those of our community.

The future of Unley’s Village Green is in good hands. Council has accepted a report on the findings of our Civic Precinct Working Group into how our village green may look into the future.

 

We are blessed to have a community that cherishes the environment in which they live. Accordingly, members of our Civic Precinct Working Group, have provided us with a blueprint for the future of our Village Green. With such as this, the future of the Village Green is in good hands.

Unley Village GreenThey have, without elected member influence, willingly provided Council an insight into how the village green may look going forward. As a result, I have confidence in saying the Village Green is in good hands.

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I repeat my thank you (at our recent council meeting) to the Civic Precinct Working Group. They gave their time to prepare the vision we have accepted on behalf of our community. As I indicated to the gallery at our last Council meeting, the people on this committee have experienced what it is like to be on Council, to consider what is good for our community.

They must feel good about their contribution. Well done, each of you.

 

The committee has provided your elected members a raft of opportunities for further consideration.

They have provided Council with a blueprint that focuses on the following:

1. The Unley Civic Precinct should attract more of the local
community to access and enjoy the precinct, providing greater
flexibility of use during the day and early evenings;

2. The Unley Civic Precinct is defined by the quality of its safer
local streetscapes, built and natural heritage, flexible public
spaces and diversity of community services;

3. The Unley Civic Precinct provides greater co-ordination
between the different stakeholders to provide for the needs of
the local community; and

4. The Unley Civic Precinct is a central community destination,
supported by a program of services, events and activities, in a
range of greener civic settings.

A number of options has been provided to us to achieve these aims. As a result, it is possible that the village green itself could grow in size along with a number of other improvements. Something many may remember I have long promoted as a potential for the future. I particularly was encouraged with a number of considerations were considered that would tidy up the architecture of the rear of the cottages along Edmund Avenue.

They even considered a need to refocus the Civic Centre to integrate better with the green and with Oxford Street. In other words, to have the Civic Centre open up to the surrounding facility rather than  focus inward.

For further detail of their report go to page 29 of the agenda for the July 23 Council meeting.

Is Unley’s Civic Centre suitable for future use?

Is Unley’s Civic Centre suitable for future use. This is the question recently considered by Council’s Strategic Property Committee.  An exercise Council has looked into even before the Village Green Precinct Working Group identified the need.

The Strategic Property Committee has a view that mirrors that the community group.

Our Civic Centre does have an inward focus.  Given this, and given it was built 40 years ago, it does not accommodate the needs of a 2020 and beyond Council. It is therefore, in my opinion, a less than efficient building.

While several options were put in front of the Strategic Property Committee our focus was on whether the next Council should explore a redevelopment or not. We recognise, as did the Precinct Working Group that the Civic centre should open up to Oxford Terrace and better link with the Village Green.

 

The options we viewed as evidence of how redevelopment is possible with minimal investment. Simply, detrmine what would be suitable for future use. As a result, we passed the following motion:

 

  1. The report be received.
  2. In lieu of the acquisition of property for civic purposes, the matter of redevelopment of the Civic Centre warrants consideration by Council to ensure the facility is appropriately developed for future operational and community needs, with a report to be prepared for Council investigating requirements and costs for:

          – Provision of a main entrance to the Civic Centre off of Oxford Terrace;

          – Addition of one floor over the existing Civic area;

          – Underground car parking within the civic precinct; and

          – Filling in the space between the Civic Centre and Library/Town Hall.

  1. That any funding for investigation of redevelopment of the Civic Centre will need to be considered as part of a future budget review process.

There is no budget for any redevelopment in our long term financial plan. As a result, this is simply recognising that we need to be looking at utilizing the existing facilities we have to accommodate our future occupancy needs without purchasing new property. In other words, recognizing that we perhaps should consider including such a project in our long term financial plan. A timely opportunity to recognise that we need always to plan for the future.

If council backs our recommendation it means our admin can do some research into our future needs. Because we are so close to the elections, and the caretaker period, any report will likley be presented to the next Council . Subsequently, any decisions to proceed or not, and with what, will be for the next or a future council.

The motion was carried unanimously. It is now for Council to consider. Let’s do the work know so we can establish what would be suitable for future use.

Save Our Village Green

I have been made aware of a public event that has been organised to Save Our Village Green.

The Friends of the City of Unley Society (FOCUS) has organised the event. They are calling it Appreciation Afternoon at the Historic Unley Village Green. It will be held next Sunday 19th February between 4pm and 6pm. If you are passionate about all things Unley you might want to come along and see what is on offer.

On the back of my earlier blog today the event and claims on their website raises concerns for me. Concerns that Council and our residents appear not to be working together.

The focus of their afternoon appears is to protest to Council.

They claim on the Save Our Village Green website we are demolishing the cottages and building a 8 storey building in their place. This is simply not true as is a previous claim made on the same website until this weekend. That claim indicated we are about to build an 8-storey building ON the village green.

As any responsible leadership body should do, Council is examining whether the expected new planning rules provide an opportunity to redevelop the civic centre site. Council made this known publicly late last year. We invited our community to sit down with us and have a discussion. A discussion to find what possibilities for redevelopment may be possible. Rather than take up our request to talk we have what appears to be a protest against a development that does not exist.

They are calling the green historic implying it has been here since settlement days and not just 30 years old. The photo shows the new Civic Centre building. The cottages back yards are still intact.

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Oxford Terrace and the Village Green

On a personal note, if Council and its community were working together, I would like us to have a conversation about the village green in isolation. That conversation would focus on how best could the village green be redeveloped to improve it. Yes. Improve it. Let’s not just Save our Village Green.

Let’s make it more accessible to more people, including those locals who don’t know it exists.

For mine we should consider if it would be better relocated to front Oxford Terrace and take advantage of the potential conversion of Oxford Terrace into a Boulevard.

Why not have this conversation. I ask both Council and the Residents. Do you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem?

If you want to know what our Mayor is thinking check his blog on the same subject here.