Centre repair costs anger- a symptom of a bigger picture.

That’s the heading of a storey in the Eastern Courier this wee concerning the need for significant maintenance of the property in Oxford Terrace Unley, occupied by the Sturt Footy Club.

The article which can be found at here at Centre Repair Costs Anger reflects the concerns of at least one Unley Councillor, Michael Hudson. It focuses on the concerns of this Councilor who, stressed by Sturt’s financial situation, is of the belief that the majority of the repairs are repairs the Club should have and should be undertaking under the lease agreement.

You could be excused for thinking this way. From what I glean however, reading the report and as a builder, the majority of the items requiring attention are actually what the Council are responsible for.

Cr Hudson was critical more of our administration than Sturt it must be acknowledged. And this leads to the crux of the real dilemma.

In my short time on Council, and being a building inspector (who spends his time looking at buildings and determining their health status), it is my opinion that past administrations, indeed past Councils (the elected members) have not recognised the need for proactive maintenance. The current administration I believe does but they are in a difficult position in not having the funds to deal with this.

A legacy if you will of rates not having been high enough in years and decades past.

Our building stock is sick (not just the one Sturt occupies) and in need of repair. The current administration and the next Council (after the upcoming November elections) I believe will be faced with what to do about are aging stock.

Unley Oval and the Master Plan

The Master Plan for Unley Oval is progressing with elected members due to be briefed early next year on it’s progress.

The consultants charged with creating a master plan is in the process of speaking to key stakeholders, repeating what we have already done previously during our own engagement period. This we expect to be completed by the end of February in order to meet the April deadline for presentation to Council of a draft master plan.

Elected Members are due to be briefed on the process and to be consulted about their own views early next year (late January).

Despite disquiet from within our ranks that we should be consulted about our views prior to the noted key stakeholders, the process is moving well and the consultants simply gathering information so that they can better judge likely outcomes.

As representatives of the community it is our job to listen to the community (both clubs and residents) and then form our own view.

Looking forward to it…… And to repeating the dose over here in the west at Goodwood Oval and Millswood Park later in the year.

Community Asset Action Plan 2012 – 2015 Update

Community Consultation is well underway on the plan with a handful of people attending the two open meetings held at the Civic Centre this week.

Have only heard from two others, one of which I will be catching up with next week regarding how to develop the eastern side of Millswood Park.

Apart from that I can tell you that we have let a contract for the Master Planning of Unley Oval. Master Planning of Goodwood Oval and Millswood Park awaits budget allocation in (hopefully) next year’s budget.

Community Asset Review Goes Public

Community consultation has now commenced on the Draft Community Asset Action Plan 2012 – 2015, closing 2 November. Finally we are in a position to allow public to input into the futures of Goodwood Oval and Millswood Park in the west of the city and also Unley Oval.

So whatever the outside agendas that have been promoted and all the theories being thrown around can now take a back seat as our thoughts are now made public. I encourage you to read the information at the link below.

As you will see from the report we are looking at all of our facilities and notwithstanding that we have determined there is a need for master plans at the three facilities mentioned above. 

Your input is not only encouraged but, with the encouraging reaction to suggestions being put in the last three months at ALL THREE complexes, requested. We need and want your input, as is the way we do things in Unley.

 These are your facilities.
 You will note a public information session is planned for 24 October at the Civic Centre. This will be an opportunity to talk with the authors of the report and it is my intention to be there in person at both sessions.
There is also a list of frequently asked questions, and a short survey on the website that we can access.
In closing I note that the apparent threats by the Goodwood Junction project have been difficult to manage and got in the way of preparing the brief. Likewise the media representations of what is and is not being planned for Unley Oval.
Foot note:  We have called tenders for the Master Planning of Unley Oval so we will be raedy to hit the ground running on thast facility when the consultation is complete.




Sturt v Unley – It Just Does Not Go Away

Following on from my post on this blog site on the weekend (and many before that) regarding Unley Oval and Sturt FC I received an email with the following transcript from Sturt FC.

Dear Don, 

The Club wishes to clarify some comments made in the Sunday Mail yesterday. We have sought for some time the opportunity to play night football at Coopers Stadium (The Parade) and have been open and transparent on that point. The fact that the Adelaide Oval (where we used to play 2 night games  per year since 1998) is now out of the question means that this is an obvious alternative.

Night football is very popular at SANFL level and at the present time the club is unable to take advantage of this fact – to our financial detriment – and obviously we wish to do so. We are in negotiations to determine whether this will be possible in 2013. The club wishes to make it clear that we would still play our ‘day’ home games at Commander Centre (Unley) Oval on the other 8 or so occasions. To date, there have been no decisions made on this issue but we will keep you posted.

As someone who has been an active participant at looking at the future of Unley Oval I have become increasingly frustrated by some who are derailing our efforts to come up with an Unley Oval for all with the future in mind, whether intentionally or unintentionally by making it something  to do with Sturt.

I would not mind betting that they too are frustrated at all the innuendo they have to continually respond to instead of focusing on solving their financial issues.

Community Asset Review

While the media and others play with words and make all sorts of assertions about the Unley Oval and the future of the Sturt Football Club the next phase of the Community Assets Review is to be decided tomorrow night at the next full meeting of Council.

This phase is to call tenders from prospective consultants for master planning of the Oval precinct.

This will take I would have thought 3 or 4 weeks. We would then have to review the tenders received, select a preferred tenderer and then action the start of the process in the following month or so. It would be good to see the selected consultant be able to commence work by January next year.

There is clearly a lot of interest out there in the community so the sooner we get this underway the sooner we can start seeing suggestions for Council and the community to consider. The sooner we all can have something to get our teeth into and debate.

Until master planning is done there is no plan. Without a plan there is nothing that will happen to the precinct other than by way of add hoc projects conceived on the run to address issues that come up without notice.

Master Planning is about determining how the precinct should be developed in the next 20 years to serve the needs of our future community, including the sports clubs that have relevance to the needs of the community in the future and the recreation needs of this same community. I look forward therefore to seeing something with vision, something with the flexibility, something that will inspire the current generation to provide for the next generation and beyond.

A facility for the Unley community……vs …………. allowing our facilities to run down because we don’t know how or why we will be using them down the track.

So please ignore all the innuendo in the media and let us get under way in doing some serious planning. Once this is done we will have something to talk about and the media and you can get involved.

And as far as the recent article about it being about Sturt and we should not call tenders until we know Sturt’s financial position is all lunacy. If we should know their financial situation we should explore the financial situation of all clubs at all three locations we intend to do master planning for.

It is like planning a trip from Adelaide to Melbourne but not commencing the journey until we know all the traffic lights are green, Guess what – we will never leave home.

Goodwood Junction Update

Firstly a big thank you to all the people who have spoken with my co-councillor & I about this project. In spite of most who have spoken to us indicating they have yet to be consulted by DPTI you have heard about it, researched it and made valuable and pertinent observations about the logistics of the project.

On the other side of the coin Jennie and I have been working hard to ensure the State Government do not tread all over you as they prepare to start the project. It has taken much of our focus.

Some of you have made representation on the Development Application submitted to the Development Assessment Commission, and I would suggest DPTI would be surprised by how many of you have, particularly given they believe you are all pretty much in favour of the project. We have been copied into much of this.

A number of you have simply put your thoughts to us and trusted we would pass it on, on your behalf. Jennie has summarised the main concerns on her last blog post at

The other major concerns are

1   how the project will impact on the Brownhill Creek project and this is a separate issue not the responsibility of DPTI. it must be dealt with through the Brownhill Creek management team.

2   what is going to happen to the strip of land affected and as I have blogged previously this is a council responsibility. Certainly we are looking for DPTI to be responsible for the cost of rectification but the future use of this land is for Coucnil to decide, in consultation with you. And this is being addressed as part of our current Community Assets Review which I have blogged on frequently.

In the meantime I can tell you all that we will be meeting with our staff tomorrow for an update on what progress we have made in negotiating a responsible solution with DPTI. watch this space for further updates.

By the way; my earlier predictions were that this project could not possibly be ready to start in January. It appears now that it will and maybe because they (the Govt) have been pushing ahead by calling tenders before the designs were ready and I guess you may have thoughts on that.

Community Asset Review Update

As we move toward the next phase of the Community Assets Review we are being challenged with things that have the potential to de-rail all the good work done to date.

I recently posted that I expected the next phase of the review would occur in September. That phase is going out to public consultation on the draft initiatives that have emanated from the consultation earlier in the year from the principal stakeholders, the clubs and associations who use the facilities being reviewed. With side issues getting in the way it will now be October before we can give you a chance to comment.

We had to deal with a suggestion on Unley Oval to experiment with trial fencing around part of the Oval. This will not be happening.

We then had to deal with DPTI wanting to use the Forestville Hockey Ground as the main works depot for the Goodwood Junction Project. With lobbying from Jennie (my co-councillor) & I this will now not happen as it will be located in the Showgrounds.

We are currently dealing with a proposal for DPTI to use part of the Millswood Sporting Complex as a minor works depot for the same project.

The interference caused by these have been noted in previous posts.

A motion will be put to Council on Monday night to approve calling tenders for master planning for the Unley Oval precinct. If passed this will allow us to start with master planning as soon as the results of the public consultation have been received and collated.

Of course the financial status of the Sturt Football Club is a concern as we move forward but this should not stop us from calling tenders.

We should have a better understanding of their financial position and the results of the public consultation before being in a position to let the successful tender.

Calling of tenders for the other two precincts, Goodwood Oval and Millswood, are not anticipated yet.

What IS Sturt’s position on the Unley Oval Drama

Much has been said by many about what Sturt is trying to achieve at Unley Oval. To that end the script below is a draft (emailed to the members of UOAG) of what I believe their CEO Matt Benson will be mailing to their members.


His words to his people.


The Sturt Football Club has been, as it should be, working through options for the future of the Unley Oval precinct with the Unley Oval Advisory Group (UOAG). The club continues to have fruitful and transparent discussions through this forum regarding its use of the oval and its desires for the future of the facility. We are committed to openly sharing our thoughts with this group – and in fact it was the Sturt Football Club who proposed that a special meeting be conducted to allow the Advisory group to hear the individual club’s aspirations for the future clearly and honestly presented. We repeat – this was a Sturt Football Club suggestion supported unanimously by the UOAG, with the sole aim of fostering a better understanding of stakeholder wishes for the future. The club supported the fencing trial concept proposed by the UOAG. The club looks forward to contributing further to the discussions regarding a master  plan for Unley Oval – and has remarked consistently that it supports a combined stakeholder strategy that will see the development of a bold vision for Unley Oval so it will return to its rightful position as a premium sporting facility which will, uniquely, continue to be shared with the community. The following statement from the UOAG from its last(extraordinary) meeting is fully endorsed by the club..
“The UOAG endorses the initiative of Council in the Community Asset Review and the development of a Master Plan for Unley Oval and indicates a desire to participate in the process with the stakeholders working together to achieve a common vision.”
Thanks Matt
And I can guarantee the statement attributed to the UOAG is accurate. I moved it.

Letter to the Editor re Unley Oval Fencing

I have drafted a letter to the editor that I trust will be published in the Eastern Courier next week on the hot topic of Fences around Unley Oval.

There has been a lot of misinformation bandied around on this topic. I have tried to set the record straight when speaking on the topic in the “chamber” and on this blog site.

In an effort to direct everyones attention to the real issue before us (that being the development of a Master Plan for Unley Oval. A transcript of the letter to the editor follows:

“With Council having resoundingly voting against a trial fence at Unley Oval in favour of advancing a Master Plan for the area I trust and hope that the real needs of Unley Oval will be allowed to come forward and be considered. Hopefully everyone can now focus on what they want to see happen at Unley Oval, not on a one off project such as fencing. Big picture stuff in other words.

As a member of the Community Assets Review Committee I note that Council, also have approved our moving to stage II of the Community Consultation on the Community Asset Review can now commence. This means, having heard from the clubs in stage I what they see their needs as, the general community will be invited for input into where they see Unley Oval should in 10 or 20 years, as a precinct not just some fencing around the oval. This consultation will start soon.

The upcoming consultation, which will focus not only on Unley Oval, but Goodwood Oval and the adjacent Millswood Sporting Complex, will provide input to Council as Council moves into Master Planning for the three areas, hopefully early next year.

Please everyone stop arguing about fences, we have a much bigger picture to develop.”
Having said all that I look forward, as a member of the committee driving the community assets review, seeing what initiatves will be put on the table as we move forward towards developing a Master Plan.

Community Assets Review Advances

Council last night endorsed the recommendations of the Community Assets Review Committee to advance to the next stage.

Much has been achieved thus far with the review. Recommenced late last year with yours Truly a member of the committee overseeing it after stalling a few years ago we have achieved our original aim of consulting with the key stakeholders.

These stakeholders, the sporting clubs and other organisations using our various facilities, were asked to provide us with their visions for their future, to advise us their needs going forward. In some cases they were asked about recommendations stemming from the results of those older stalled consultations.

As a result of the review it has been determined that Master Planning IS required for the Unley Oval, the Goodwood Oval and the Millswood Sporting Complex.

With blessings last night stage II is ready to commence.

More on that later other than to say we would hope to be in a position where, subject to funding, we can start the Master Planning Process early next year.

When Right May be Wrong

Last night Council made what I consider to be the correct decision regarding a proposal for a trial of partial fencing around the perimeter of the Unley Oval but I wonder whether it was for all the wrong reasons.

Indeed I seconded the motion to not agree with the recommendation for a trial which came from the Unley Oval Advisory Group.

The Unley Oval Advisory Group is made up of 4 resident representatives, representatives from each of the sporting clubs, and 2 elected members. This group, with clear strong resident representation, thought seriously that a trial would be a logical and sensible approach to

1   addressing an issue that has hovered over this precinct since the return of the Sturt Football Club some time ago from their short sojourn to Adelaide Oval and,

2   addressing a need facing Council  in resourcing labour to erect the fencing for each home match of the Sturt Football Club and a need in the near future to consider replacing the fencing as it reached its use by date.

Whilst I believe the correct decision was made I am concerned that, for some, the decision may have been for other than what I consider to be the correct reasons. That being that it is inappropriate that we do anything at the Oval the preempts Master Planning at the Oval which, if all goes well, will commence sometime early next year.

Should fencing around the perimeter of the Oval be something worth considering it should only be a part of a range of suggestions for the Precinct that comes out of a Master Plan. And part of Master Planning includes Community Consultation.

Arguments outside of this logic and which  focused on the Sturt FC were in my opinion irrelevant to the real debate and the reasons the Advisory Group felt a need to make the recommendation, even though the gallery on the night were encouraged by them.

I feel for the Residents who have donated their time to participate in the Unley Oval Advisory Group.

These people have contributed well in my opinion to the group and have tried at all times to recognise the interests of all members of this small community when discussing issues that have come before it. Part of the argument last night and the hype may have some of these residents second guessing why they should participate in the Advisory Group because of the tenure of some of the debate that occurred last night.

The Community of the City of Unley need people like this, who are prepared to put in time and effort to make this a better place, a place wheer we can all live, work, rest and play in harmony.

I hope that they do not let what happened last night sway them for continuing to contribute.

Unley Oval

It was great to see our CEO follow on from comments I made in my post of 3rd July regarding Sturt FC and Unley Oval under the heading community assets review.

His letter to the editor of the Eastern Courier refers. (Sorry but if you want to know what he has to say .. get a copy of this week’s Eastern Courier).

It is good to see also that as a member of both the community assets review committee for council and as a member of the Unley Oval Advisory Group that the press does not know more than I do. I must say I was starting to wonder reading some of the articles in the last few weeks.

As a member of those groups I am keen to see us move forward to creating a workable master plan that works for residents and works also for the clubs (including Sturt) using this and other facilities. This will take time and any preempting of the results will be counter productive in my view.

I note that council last Monday night at the City Strategy & Policy committee meeting agreed to investigate short term leasing options for the building containing Jack’s bar to buy time while the master planning process begins. To do otherwise would have been a mistake.

As we move forward it was great to see Sturt’s CEO Matt Benson in a letter to council indicate that the club is recognising the need to focus on where they want to be in the future, encouraged by Council’s Community Assets Review.

Now onto more important news.

I will be hading off to what used to be called the “Ponderosa” to see the double blues take on the team of the last decade in Centrals to pursue their claim on the top five. Go Blues!

Community Assets Review Update

Following on from posts of the14th and 25th April on this blog site I had cause to respond to a question from an interested ratepayer regarding the possible redevelopment of the Unley Oval. Picket Fences and Grandstand extensions having been in the News lately.

Below is my responce to our ratepayer. I felt it prudent to bring all those who watch this blog in on the answer as soem of you may have similar questions. Whilst the answer is in responce to Unley Oval, it applies also to Goodwood Oval and to Millswood Sporting Complex.


Back in 2006 or 2007 Council commenced a community assets review. The aim of the review was to review all the building assets of council to determine the state of the building and to determine if they were fit for use for the clubs and groups in our communities that use them.
This review stalled until the current council picked it up. I am a member of this committee.
Over the last 12 months we have liaised with the clubs and groups using our buildings and other key stakeholders. We have determined that a master plan will be required not only for the Unley Oval precinct but the Goodwood Oval precinct and the Millswood Sporting complex.
A number of recommendations will be put to Council possibly in August and with their endorsement we will be going out to the wider community to seek their input. I expect this to be in September of this year.
Once this is done we will be moving on to creating master plans for all three areas.
Realistically there can be no action at any of these venues until master plans are done and approved and included in the long term financial plans of Council. I suggest we’re talking a  20 year plan in all cases to see anything come to fruition.
The Sturt Football Club clearly would like things to happen sooner. In my opinion, whilst there are some things they might have on the WishList, they don’t have their own clear strategic plan going forward. Having said that some of those things may come to fruition.

Commmunity Asset Review Update

The Community Asset Review Committee met this week in preparation of  a proposal being put to council ready for public consultation maybe in August of this year.

As a member of  that group I am keen having had input now from the key stakeholders (the clubs and groups using our buildings)  to move the project forward and see what the residents and rate payers believe about how we should utilise our facilities into the future.

I am also a member of both the Unley Oval Advisory Group and the Goodwood Oval Advisory Group. Both these groups have indicated a desire to see what the club’s wish lists are and offer opinion on this.

Both Goodwood Oval and the Millswood complex are likely at the end of this consultation to go down the road of having master plans developed for them.

I expect the report to be put to next months City Strategy & Policy Committee meeting so watch this space.

Community Asset Review Update

The first stage of our Community Assets Review has been completed and the committee is preparing a report for council to consider. This report will advise Council of the results of the primary stakeholder consultation and the committees recommendations for going forward.

All the clubs have been consulted and we believe we know reasonably well how they see their future’s and their plans for the future. The clubs were invited recently to one of two BBQs we organised to thank them for their participation in the consultation. This was valuable exercise as we (and in particular the elected members of the committee, Mayor Clyne, Cr Salaman and myself) got to hear first hand the issues facing the clubs.

There will be a number of recommendations put to council directed at the use of our facilities by these clubs.

We will also be recommending a path forward for consulting the larger community who want and need to access our open spaces, and maybe our buildings. The larger community is you and me. We all need to get a benefit from our parks and gardens. This process will take us through August to October, allowing us to put a proposal to Council in November or December.

At this early stage it looks like we will be heading down the path of preparing master plans for both sites in Goodwood South; Goodwood Oval and the Millswood Sporting Complex. The same will apply in the eastern side of the City at Unley Oval. And yes that is likely to mean we will not see anything physically happening at any of the venues for some time, meaning leases to the various clubs should not be seen as in jeopardy.

Let’s face it, we are looking at how our assets may be employed not next year but 5 years from now, 10 years from now; indeed 20 years from now.

Community Asset Review

Reviewing our assets to help our various community groups move forward is back on the Radar.
Council has endeavoured for a number of years now to complete a review of all our building assets, many of them having run down over time due to a lack of appropriate or programmed maintenance. Unfortunately the review stalled some time back.
A committee was reformed last year to and I volunteered to participate as a member. I have recently been asked to chair this group. This committee has, using data collected years ago form the various community groups using our facilities, supervised our officers going back out and consulting with these key stakeholders.
This process has all but been completed and a report is expected to be put before council in May or June to advise the findings of this key stakeholder engagement. We would then seek authority from Council to go out and consult with the wider community to seek their input into how we can best utilise the assets we have.
This has been a necessary exercise in that the City of Unley has a limited supply of green space when compared to other councils but we have a significant number of buildings and premises, some well utilised by our community, some not so well utilised. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that your rates are spent in areas that provide the greatest community benefit.
As we move forward and there is an expectation that our population will grow and recognition that our age demographic is heading north, it is time to plan now for the future so that we might leave a positive legacy for future residents and indeed future councils.

Two key sites in Goodwood South are included in this review; that being the Goodwood Oval complex and the Millswood complex located in Millswood Crescent. The clubs have all co-operated with the review and I applaud them for their understanding of the challenges council faces to provide for their collective futures. Having spoken with each club one on one, we will shortly mix with all of them collectively before finalising the report to council.

SASMEE-Unley’s best kept secret

The secret is out. The South Australian Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (SASMEE) is being hindered by its own success.
Formed in 1927 and at its current site since 1947 SASMEE is finding it is gaining favour with young families using the facility as an inexpensive kid’s birthday venue. The venue, situated between the railway line on Cromer Parade and Millswood Crescent at Millswood, is growing in popularity because of the birthday cult.
And this is achieved purely by word of mouth. A volunteer organisation for those with a genuine interest in model engineering they are attracting regularly around 400 people to their “run” days, held once a fortnight. They have been known in recent times to attract up to 700 people, including adults.
The park is one of the only venues in Adelaide where a family of 2 adults and 3 children can have an afternoon’s fun for less than $ 20.00.
          waiting for a train                                                                                                      enjoying the day
In the current financial circumstances many parents express their gratitude for their pricing structure. These charges are for entry only, rides are free.
My co–councillor Jennie Boisvert and I were guests at the park today to see what they have achieved. We enjoyed a good day and we were impressed.
Your local ward councillors at work on a Sunday.
I must say I am impressed at how a group of volunteers can put together a facility with little or no help from others. There are many community groups and sporting bodies that can take a leaf out of their book. Well done guys.
And now for the challenge ahead. How do they grow from here with limited space.