Unley not fairing well with Credibility, Transparency and Trust.

Credibility, Transparency and Trust are probably the most important ingredients of good government. And right now in the Goodwood South Ward the City of Unley is struggling with all three.

It hurts me to say this as I have always felt, long before I became a Ward Councillor 3 years ago, that Unley is one of the better councils. I still do mind you but as a member of that organisation I am being challenged however with this paradigm.
Unfortunately our credibility will always be challenged when people perceive we are responsible for matters that the state government or other government institutions are getting wrong. Guilty by association as it were. Lets face it we are all government aren’t we.
There has been much of that in the last year, courtesy of the rail revitalization project. We have been inundated with claims by DPTI that Council is responsible for this, Council is responsible for that; or Council approved this, or (more recently) Council staff approved this. Jennie & I have been fighting to maintain our credibility in the face of what seemed an unending barrage by DPTI deflecting their competencies toward council.
That is not the purpose of this blog however.
Council don’t need DPTI to look foolish, we can do that all by ourself. I can think of many things in my 3 years as a Councillor, including the Kelvin Avenue consultation that impacted on Goodwood South residents.
Ironically we have not made a good fist of things in one of the very areas that have created angst and mistrust by DPTI, the area of Canterbury Terrace Black Forest. We have had three overlapping consultation projects going on concerning these residents (and a small section of Byron Road).

First was an LATM (which I have posted on previously and will again soon), followed by seeking opinions on the future of the Canterbury Terrace, Parker Terrace Trees which were dying or dead. And then finally a consultation about re configuring Canterbury Terrace due to the impact on increased use by bike riders due to the construction by DPTI of the Greenways bike path.

It has culminated this week with Council chopping down a tree in the Princess Margaret Playground that DPTI had twice attempted to late last year because it interfered with their infrastructure. In spite of removal having State Government Development Assessment Commission approval I was able to save the tree because it clearly had no impact on the electrification of the rail corridor. You can read about this in previous posts on this blog site.

Unfortunately Council later attempted to remove the tree and again I was able to put a stop on it as due process demanded we go through a local development assessment process. This was agreed to by our management. Councils arborist had recommended its removal after inspecting it as part of the DPTI scene previously noted. He found the tree to no long be stable and to be structurally unsound and therefore unsafe.

We proceeded with the development assessment process, sending out invitations as required under the Act to people owning property within 60 metres of the playground who may wish to make a representation on the removal. This letter went out on 6 January, received by me as one of those residents early this week. We had until 21st January to make the representation.

To my utter amazement we (yes WE, Council) came in yesterday and DOWN she came. So we send out invitations to people to provide their input and assist the decision making process but ignore this and chop it down any way.

So what is a guy, sorry an elected member, to do about this. I cant get the tree back, but by golly I can challenge our CEO and our General managers as to how we can allow this to happen. An administration acutely aware of the devastation that the people of this immediate neighbourhood have felt at the hands of DPTI, and to a lesser extent by ourselves. and acutely aware of how sensitive these people are towards this tree, allowed this to happen the way it did.

Our administration were well aware of my campaign to save the tree from the DPTI marauders. Management agreed with me that, even if this tree was suffering, that we should avoid doing anything to it for two years because this neighbourhood had suffered too much loss already.

Our arborist’s concerns outweighed this however and I agreed to allow it to go through a development assessment process to ensure full transparency. Hence the letters to neighbours within 60 metres.

At the end of the day, with the information I now have, the tree was never going to survive the process. It was so severely compromised it appears it presented an immediate danger to the kids in the playground, and I am not going to argue this with our arborist.

Section 54 of the Development Act 1993 allows for immediate removal of a significant tree in this circumstance and with a retrospective approval to follow. This is what finally happened here but to happen in the face of it going through the process of an approval just smacks of ineptitude in the eyes of a public sympathetic to the tree, and a public licking its wounds from the previous 12 months of DPTI activity and having now a level of mistrust for anything government.

A lot of damage has been done and I have sought and been granted an audience with our CEO to address how we can allow such a mess to occur and how to prevent it happening in the future, or at least reduce the chances of it happening in the future. I will take him through a series of events that I don’t want to bore you all with here.

Thank you also to those encouraging me to stick at this and concerned for me that I should have to.

Storms hit Unley hard

The storms last weekend wrecked havoc around Adelaide but especially so in Unley.

I was focused on damage in Cromer Parade Millswood and then found a private tree in George Street has brought down the power lines. This caused a blackout for half of Clarence Park I understand. I have since heard of a tree in Dunrobin Street Black Forest that was the subject of some debate a couple of years back had also impacted on the power lines.

Well Guess what guys. If your street suffered and you have yet to see a response from Council spare a thought for our management and workers. the following is an extract of what was communicated to elected members by our General manger of Infrastructure today.

Currently we have had very close to 300 Customer Requests related to the storm.

While we had several reports of fence damage and one report of car damage on Charles Street the vast majority have been related to trees. On Friday night there was 8 reports of power lines down , caused by trees falling onto them.
Obviously this is a difficult time as we are not at full staff levels with many taking leave. However we have asked some to come in & others have worked long hours, particularly over the weekend causing disruption to their Christmas celebrations. We have also engaged contractors, but only when necessary.

Due to the large amount of clean-up I’m sure you’d understand that we have only been actioning urgent or high priority Customer Requests over the last few days.

We have now completed all critical clean ups to make sure all sites are safe, however there is still debris on some footpaths and a large amount of leaf matter remains in the water table which we will clean up in the near future.

The remaining clean-up is expected to be completed by 3rdJanuary.

So please be patience guys as we address the plethora of clean ups needed. 

Are you happy with how Council engages you on maters important to you

If you are not happy with how Council engages residents and rate payers then we need to hear from you.

4 days ago I posted that we are keen to hear your views on how we can improve our consultation. I repeat this encouragement for you to tell us how to engage you.

It is a golden opportunity to help us get it right in the future.

Check out the Unley website below to provide your input. Or provide me with your comments, either by email or by replying on this blog site.


Your Say on matters Unley

We’re currently reviewing how we undertake Community Engagement across the City of Unley and would love it if you could share your thoughts on your preferences in having your say and where we can improve the opportunities for you to get involved. Please share your views here:


I know a number of you have views on how we engage with our community, including some I met yesterday at the Canterbury Terrace public meeting. This is your opportunity to influence how we do it in the future.

LGA of SA on the steps of Parliament House


In the lead up to March 2014 there are a number of matters that are of critical importance to Local Government in South Australia and political parties and voters alike need to know what and how important these are.


These are the words of Acting LGA President and Mayor of Onkaparinga Council Lorraine Rosenburg.

Today the LGA of SA went to the steps of Parliament to deliver the a paper on the issues which are important to Councils in the lead up to the election. The issues canvassed in the paper include:

Waste management,
Community Waste Water Management Scheme,
Regional Development,
State/Local Government Relationships,
Local Government Revenue,
Climate Change,
Sport & Recreation,
Infrastructure Funding,
Roads Infrastructure,
Disaster Resilience/Emergency Management,
Natural Resource Management.

Ignite Unley…..Starting tomorrow at 4pm in the Soldiers Memorial Garden

Ignite Unley

Soldiers Memorial Gardens,Cnr Unley Road & Thomas Street, Unley

Free eventOpen from 4pm

Ignite Unley Summer Event Series will be held on selected Saturday’s from 30 November 2013 until 19 April 2014, at the Soldier’s Memorial Gardens on Unley Road, Unley beginning from 4pm.
 Each Ignite Unley event has a different theme and includes markets, food, music, entertainment and, on selected evenings, a garden cinema from sunset.
Bring friends and family and join in as we IGNITE UNLEY!
Keep up-to-date with all things Ignite Unley by following us on Facebook/igniteunley and twitter@igniteunley
Ignite Unley Poster

Scheduled free events

30 November   Gala opening night with entertainment and a silent disco, garden cinema from sunset
14 December   Christmas, garden cinema from sunset
11 January     Summer Music Program for Young People, showcasing the talent of Unley’s under 30s
25 January       Australia Day celebrations, garden cinema from sunset
8 February     Bite Unley, showcasing tastes and flavours of Unley
22 February    Craft beer tasting
8 March            Adelaide Cup / Roller Derby, garden cinema from sunset
5 April               Wine and Cheese tasting
19 April             Easter treasure hunt and colouring competition

Small Sponsorship and Donations Scheme

The Small Sponsorship and Donations Scheme assists eligible organisations and individuals with projects, programs or activities that benefit the residents of the City of Unley.
Donations of up to $250 are available to residents of Unley to participate in specific cultural, sporting, or recreational activities and events. Only one application will be considered each financial year.
Sponsorships of up to $500 per financial year are available for activities or purposes that:
  • Clearly demonstrate direct benefits to the residents of Unley; and
  • Meet a social, environmental or economic development need of some urgency.
Applications will be accepted throughout the year and processed as they are received.
Click here for an application form.
Click here for the guidelines.
For further information please phone 8372 510

The Awards keep rolling in

Yes Unley has received yet another award for it’s digital strategy in helping it’s main street businesses.

This time we won the SA Tourism award for destination marketing for our “find your everything” initiative. Yes a tourism award. Seems all the judges are looking in in awe on what littler ol’ Unley is doing. 
This now means three economic development awards within a month ( 2 state and 1 national).
Congratulations must go to Matt, Laura and the trader associations who have embraced this initiative. In particular, without Matt’s drive and energy, we would not be where we are today.
It is also a testament to our UBED committee and the hard work and enthusiasm they have been doing over the last 18 months or so!
While we don’t do projects to win awards, it is nice to be recognised by our peers and industry groups.
Well done again to all involved!
PS    A little birdie told me today that Lord Mayor Steve Yarwood is a little miffed that the City of Adelaide’s small neighbour is scooping the pool.

Be part of Unley’s cultural snapshot!

Dear friends of The City of Unley

If you live, work, study or just play in The City of Unley, please help us by expressing your valuable opinions in our Cultural Services survey. This important survey is part of a broader Cultural Impact project we are undertaking with 4 other Councils.  This information is important because it provides a snapshot of how and when community members use cultural facilities and the levels of community involvement in cultural activities.

 It will only take you 5-10 minutes but will be critical in helping us continually review and enhance our local culture and the decisions Council make! Please forward our survey link to your networks who have an association with Unley. We want to reach out to everyone in our community!

 Alternatively, survey forms will be available in hard copy at our libraries and community centres.
 Thank you for your time and participation.

Unley the Leaders Again- this item on the National Arena

Below is a press release regarding yet another award to come Unley’s way. Well done to Matt Grant and David Penfold for putting it together. 

And if you have not been on the site, time to get cracking, whether the web site or Facebook.


National Recognition for Unley’s Innovative FindYourEverything

The City of Unley’s ground-breaking enterprise website FindYourEverything (FYE) has just been recognised with the Economic Development Marketing Strategy Award at the National Economic Development Australia (EDA) Conference.

Competing against a strong team of contenders, FYE was the only award winner for South Australia.  “This award is recognition for not only the FYE team at the City of Unley, but for all businesses and trader associations who have embraced the Find Your Everything project.” says Peter Tsokas, Unley’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s great to receive national recognition for the success of this strategy for the local economy”.

The award recognises excellence in the successful development and implementation of marketing strategies designed to promote sales and patronage of local business. Judged by industry peers, criteria used to select the award winner included innovation, creativity, quality, sustainability and contribution to the profession of Economic Development.

The FYE website findyoureverything.com.auwent live in December 2012 and is supported by a number of social media platforms – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.  FYE promotes unique, predominately independent traders, operating traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses. Its aim is to drive foot traffic in-store and increase tourism to the region.
The City of Unley has utilised the expertise of David Penfold from Webmastermind for their digital marketing processes. ToolBox Design, a local South Australian design company, developed the FYE visual concept and brand.

“FYE has exceeded all of our expectations and we put this down to the businesses who really got behind our vision.” says Matt Grant, Manager Economic Development at the City of Unley.
Since its inception findyoureverything.com.au has attracted more than 20 000 unique visitors and more than 3 000 members. The website encourages visitors to subscribe to receive free regular e-newslettersproviding an up-to-date guide on what is happening around the City of Unley, including reviews, events, competitions and special offers.

The FYE Facebook site has 4 980 Facebook fans.  Over 170 Facebook posts have been viewed more than 1.55 million times with an impressive 35 225 direct clicks through to local City of Unley businesses.

Whilst it’s a great award to celebrate, the FYE team won’t be resting on their laurels. “We recognise that technology is evolving so rapidly that the Unley digital strategy is more like an emerging strategy,” says Matt. “It needs to be flexible and adaptable as new technology platforms appear.”

FYE can be found at
facebook.com/findyoureverything and

Multicultural Fair – celebrating Unley’s diversity

As an elected member of the City of Unley and a Warden at St Augustine’s Anglican Church I am pleased to see this event take place and trust everyone will take the opportunity to come along and help us celebrate a great initiative to open up the space between St Augustine’s and the council to the community. 

The following is a press release from council.

St Augustine’s Church, in conjunction with the Unley City Council, are holding a Multicultural Fair and Grand Opening of the new Village Green Plaza on Saturday 2 November.

The fair starts at 9am with a recital by a lone piper, followed by performances and food stalls from numerous multi-cultural and charitable organisations.

 Mayor of Unley, Lachlan Clyne, will officially open the Village Green Plaza at 11am. St Augustine’s and The City of Unley have been working together to re-develop the Plaza into an attractive and functioning space. 

Food stalls will be held showcasing the traditional foods of the local Chinese, Hungarian and Indian communities.  The will also be a colourful performance of rational dance by the Armenian Society.
Operations Flinders will be hosting a Quandong (Wild Peach) Pie Stall and an abseiling wall on the bell tower for those with some energy to wear off.

An exciting array of stalls will offer crafts, cakes, coffee, pastries and books to try, taste and buy.
Charities, organisations and cultural groups who participate will retain all proceeds. Community groups who wish to run their own stall can still get involved. Interested stall holders can contact Brenton on 0418 883 550.

A multi-cultural, non-denominational church service will also be held the next day on Sunday 3 November at 5pm with a taste of different cuisines to follow.
Event Details: 
Multicultural Fair

Saturday 2 November, 9am – 2pm

Village Green Plaza (Opposite the Unley Shopping Centre).

Unley Mainstreet Champion Matt Grant wins 2013 Individual ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award

This is a copy of a press release from our management.

Business and Economic Development Manager for the City of Unley, Matt Grant was presented the Individual Outstanding Contribution Award at the Mainstreet SA 2013 Excellence Awards Dinner on Friday night.  Held at The Observatory in Hackney, the awards recognise, promote and celebrate great South Australian mainstreets.

Matt was acknowledged for his work in the Unley region, developing, implementing and delivering longer term visionary strategies for the local economy.  The Find Your Everything digital campaign, one of Matt’s most successful initiatives to date, has achieved a membership of more than 3 000 potential shoppers in only 10 months, with more than 32 000 direct clicks through to local businesses.
The award recognises Matt’s hard work to promote, support and lead local mainstreet programs and activity for the benefit of all.
“The City of Unley is delighted by Matt’s success in achieving quality outcomes for our local businesses” says Peter Tsokas, Unley’s Chief Executive Officer, “and it’s great to see his achievements recognised by his peers”.
Since commencing this role in 2009, Matt has displayed the ability to build meaningful relationships with local business, trade associations, property owners, developers and Council to achieve the best outcomes for Unley’s mainstreet communities.
Unley’s 5 mainstreet precincts include Goodwood Road, King William Road, Unley Road, Fullarton Road and Glen Osmond Road.

Loved toys from another age show the state of play

I posted last month in this blog a storey about the Unley Museum’s latest exhibition Toy Storey. Well it has had some press coverage in the Advertiser by Sophie Perrie, which I reproduce below for those who may have missed it. A great storey and a reminder to get along to check it out.


THESE are toys with stories to tell.

A collection of 50 toys, animals, dolls and miniature items from the 192 Os to the 2000s are on display at
Unley Museum for its Toy Stories exhibition.

The toys, which have come from the museum collection and three private collectors, include an old Monopoly board from the ’30s, a wicker pram made in Unley in the ’20s and a stuffed toy dog, also
from the ‘2Os.

Unley Museum curator Elizabeth Hartnell says the dog came from the old Goodwood Orphanage.

“It’s the cutest, most loved thing,” she says. “It was found in the attic of the orphanage when it was closed; you can only imagine who must have stashed it up there. “It just makes you tear up, it’s so precious.”

The exhibition also features a visual display of the top Christmas lists from previous decades. Yahtzee and hula hoops were the rage in the ‘5Os, the ’70s was all about the Rubik’s cube and Game Boy was king of the ’90s.

Ms Hartnell says it has been interesting to see how toys have evolved.

Lego, for example, was made from wood until plastic blocks were introduced around the ‘5Os.

“They introduced the block so every block could actually fit together regardless of when you bought it,” she says, “If you put a brand new piece of Lego into a ’50s piece of Lego … it would still fit.”

The exhibition has proved to be a way to connect older and younger generations. “It has been really good to have grandparents come with their grandkids and go, ‘Iremember that’, and talk about the toys and games.”

There will be a larger toy exhibition at the museum in 2016 and anyone with old or new toys with stories behind them is encouraged to bring them for the display.


Just what is the history of the Village Green Artwork

With the Village Green plaza now being used by people to access the Green through the Church (St Augustine’s) from Unley Road questions are being asked?

The following article is straight off Unley’s web site.

Four Elements Artwork

Do you have stories about the Four Elements artworks on the Village Green, or know those involved in it’s construction?

four elements 
The City of Unley is looking for help from our community with any stories, photos or films people may have about the development, installation and use over many years of these popular artworks on the Village Green.
The Four Elements artworks on the Village Green at the back of the Council offices were commissioned in December 1980.
We would also like any information people have on the whereabouts of any of the people involved in its design and construction.
Please contact Matthew Ives 8372 5134 [email protected]
four elemets plaque

Opening Hours During Festive Season

Council last night endorsed a variation to opening hours at the Civic Centre, Library and Depot allowing early closure on Friday 20 December at 12 noon, and Tuesday 24th December at 3.00 pm.

Early closure will provide an opportunity for staff to attend a Christmas function and celebrate the festive season with friends and colleagues. It also provides a small window of opportunity to do their last minute preparation for their own Christmas parties.

The public will be advise of the closures through notification at the Civic Centre, Library, Council web site, and Unley Life column.

Unley Business goes Magical

Unley Business Breakfasts have proved a great opportunity for businesses to gain some helpful advice from experts in their field and to network. It has proved so successful that we have had to move it from it’s original venue the Civic Centre next door to the Town Hall.

This has provided an opportunity for it to grow further. If you are the proprietor of or work for a small business check out the flyer below and register for the next one.

Should be fun and entertaining. Check out this you tube clip to get a taste.