I had a meeting yesterday with Luigi Rossi (a name you all know) regarding DPTI projects in the rail corridor running through the City of Unley borders. The meeting addressed a number of concerns I have had and have publicly announced regarding the projects. I believe it was a successful meeting and look forward to an improvement in the experience residents have with the rail projects.
A number of concerns from my fellow residents have had were discussed. I was interested to hear Luigi confirm what I have heard previously from Department chiefs and that is that they have never experienced residents so passionate about their bit of turf.
Two major areas requiring attention became apparent during the meeting.
The first is that residents in areas other than immediately adjacent the Goodwood Junction project felt disenfranchised because the focus was on satisfying the needs of those adjacent the junction. The sheer volume and intensity of activity in this region has certainly required a significant focus and much has been done to work in with those residents but this should not excuse not treating others the same way.
Too often these residents have been misinformed by DPTI officers claiming that they (the resident) should be talking to another project team they should be talking to or that they should be talking to council because they are responsible for “this” whatever that may have been.
The second area is the pressure that has been placed on my co-councillor Jennie and I as we field the many concerns being expressed by our residents on a project that, whilst we have a vested interest in, is not our project and should not therefore take our major focus.
Our CEO Peter Tsokas attended this meeting and with his help we have agreed on a few initiatives that should help everybody.
Firstly and most importantly Luigi has agreed that he will appoint one man to be the overseeing project manager of the projects (plural). This one man will be responsible for all communication, ensuring there is no deferring to others.
This person will liaise with our Manager Infrastructure John Devine on all issues with which Council has an interest. Should there be any public utterances that implicate council John will be in attendance to give the council perspective.
Hopefully these two moves will sharpen up the DPTI performance in the eyes of my neighbours. It certainly should prevent the “other project team” and the “it is council” syndromes that have pervaded public communication to date.
Jennie & I will still advocate for you. To that end we will have fortnightly meetings to be appraised of design, construction, health and whatever other issues are yet to raise their heads in the near future, until the projects are completed later this year. This way we may not have to spend the sheer volume of time and energy we have had to put into a project that is not ours and allow us to monitor it and get on with ensuring council business is happening as it should.
How you communicate to this overseeing project manager has not been determined as far as I can see but this will surely be advised soon. In the meantime continue raising your concerns through the channels.