On A Personal Note – my family growing

I take this opportunity to announce that I am a third time round grandfather and proud of it.

Yes I now have three grand daughters. My first granddaughter Zeva is two and a half years old and a joy to play with. The other two are both recent arrivals. One, Caitlin will soon be 4 months old, the other, little Ivy, is just 10 days old today.

If I remember when reporting the birth of Caitlin Ivy now makes the three musketeers.

Life is Good!

Nanna, Zeva & Ivy.

A Win for this Elected Member on Street Cleaning

I received advice yesterday from our Depot’s management team that we will be trialling a new system of advance notification of our intent to clean the gutters of a given street.

I suggested early last year after prompting by a resident in Frederick Street Clarence Park that we consider texting selected residents that we are about to clean their street. This resident envisaged a scheme similar to that used by the CFS on bushfire days. People have the opportunity to volunteer to be included in the texting register.

Since then I have continued to nudge this and it appears other councillors have started doing the same.

The benefits of doing this include:

1    That we, as residents, will know our streets are being cleaned.

2     That we will know when which enables us to

a) Get our street parked cars out of the way so that the whole street can be cleaned.
b) Volunteer to sweep the mess on the footpath into the gutters on streets that we know are not wide enough for our footpath sweeper to access.
c) Allow those who get the message to pass it onto neighbours they know have not provided their mobile phone number to.

When I know more about when this may be rolled out I will advise through this blog

Is this the biggest issue facing 4 Councils this year.

Flood Mitigation in the flood plains of the Brownhill Creek catchment area is back in the news as each of the affected councils  start their new year.

I refer in particular to the article in the Hills & Valley Messenger and refer to the link below.


Unley Council has yet to take a position on the project as we seek to further information to show whether any of the proposals have enough substance to be considered. That includes the plan that has gone out already to public consultation or any of the subsequent 5 (no dam) options being promoted by Mitcham Council at this point in time.

I have already posted re my concerns that any these options do not impact on our tree heritage in a similar vein to the impact claimed in Mitcham by the use of a dam. As an elected member of Unley I need to be convinced “beyond reasonable doubt” about the validity of any of the options before i vote for any particular one to be advanced as the solution.

There is surely a lot of water to flow under the bridge before this one can be solved I suspect.

When the time comes we need to hear the views of the citizens of Unley, both those affected by the flood plains and those who aren’t and we need to take a balanced position so that our Community actually benefits.

iPads are Go!

At last night’s council meeting we approve the use of iPads for elected members. I was impressed at the responsible debate on this topic as there will be issues with introducing this particular piece of technology.

Certainly it has the potential to empower us; to keep us in the timely loop as never before; to allow us to cart around our agenda and supporting documentation, along with all the other paperwork we get landed with in a single small receptacle; to be able to keep and access the mountains of information we receive.

iPads will come with a steep learning curve however and I don’t necessarily mean how to use the technology but in developing the disciplines to use it wisely. I am confident, having heard the debate last night that we are as a collective body, ready to step out of our comfort zones and give this a fair dinkum effort to make it work.

If we do there will be significant savings to our budget and we can lay claim to being green due to the vast reduction in paper we will produce.

Unley Museum Silver Collection Exhibition

Mayor Lachlan Clyne opened the new exhibition at the Unley Museum last week.
Volunteers, Friends, Councillors, Curators, Mayors and members of the museum and history community attended. The afternoon included speeches from Mayor Clyne, Anne Milne (Friends of the Unley Museum President), and Elizabeth Hartnell (current Curator).

The new exhibition is the Silver Selection from Our Collection.

Come stop by the Museum at 80 Edmund Avenue in Unley for your own viewing of the Silver Selection. It is a collection of exhibits found by people invited by the Musuem to peruse their archives for items that mean something to them.

Amongst the many exhibits you can view a picture of England v South Australia at (yes) Unley Oval way back; a doctors ear syringe, a cash register, a morse code machine (the start of technology as we know it today). An original bed pan, complete with instructions for use for maximum comfort of the patient clearly is a classic.

For those who may interested I was one of the invitees and I chose a pew sheet from St Augustine’s Anglican Church from Anzac Day of 1933. As a Warden at St Augustine’s and Anzac Day being very special to me I was delighted to include it in the exhibition.

I am not going to tell you what else is there. You have to see it for yourself.

For those who have (as the add a few years ago said) “been there too1” you will love the stroll down memory lane to an Unley that used to be.

Brownhill & Keswick Creek Stormwater Project

Further to my recent post on the additional options that were presented to the City of Mitcham recently I note that the consultants themselves, Worley Parsons, indicated in the workshop they presented for us that, without conducting any feasibility studies into these 5 options, that the recommended option currently out for public consultation is still the most effective in mitigating the instances of flooding from stormwater events.

Our staff are also busy preparing our response to the current draft plan. We have identified areas that we believe have been omitted and which should be included such as ensuring the culvert under Unley Road is included in the plan. The culvert is a state government responsibility through the newly formed Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), formerly DTEI.

Once the consultation with stakeholders has concluded a new workshop (in the new year of course) will be scheduled for elected members to shape our response.

Should any of the 5 other options be found to be feasible (and I struggle to see that they are) then the project will have to back out again for further consultation. If this were to happen who knows how much longer it will take to get to a 5 council agreement.

Adelaide Showgrounds Market Christmas schedule

The Adelaide Showgrounds market will be opening as follows over Christmas/New Years

Sunday 18th December – 9am-1pm – last Sunday Market for the year!

Thursday 22nd December – 4pm – 8pm – Christmas Twilight Market

Thursday 29th December – 4pm – 8pm – New Year’s Twilight Market

Sunday 25th December – MARKET CLOSED

Sunday 1st January – MARKET CLOSED

Sunday 8th January – 9am – 1pm – first Sunday Market for 2012

The two twilight markets should be a great atmosphere and a great opportunity to stock up for both your Christmas and you New Years celebrations, noting that both are on Sunday this season.

Join the fun and stock up on those cherries and strawberries etc. Fresh locally grown produce – a South Australian Christmas.

Deputy Mayor

As flagged in June (from memory) by the Mayor a motion was put at the November meeting of Council to appoint a Mayor.

Lachlan’s approach to this is to make the position of Deputy Mayor open to members or each Ward on a rotation over the remaining term of this Council. That means 6 members (one from each ward) has the opportunity to act as his deputy for a period of 6 months.

The duties of a Deputy mayor are such that I believe this is not a bad approach.

With debate lively Councilor Koumi felt it prudent to move a formal motion that the motion (for deputy mayor) lay on the table. My understanding is that had the original motion been put to the vote and lost it could not be bought back for twelve months so I supported Councilor Koumi. The formal motion was passed.

Solar Easy Update

The Solar Shop has now been placed into liquidation.

We have been re-assured that the Solar Shop liquidation has nothing to do with the ongoing sale of the business, or the servicing of Solar Shop customers including our residents. It is a procedural matter. Eastern Regional Alliance (the 7 councils partcipating in this scheme) customers will still receive their panels from the new company of Solar Shop under control of Australian Solar Electric and Premier Solar Group.

As a quick update there are, in ERA, about 60 Solar Easy customers pending, and all have been contacted. Bookings for installs are expected to occur next week, with the new owner still planning to have all installations completed by Christmas. (They are awaiting arrival of a shipment of Suntech panels).

Clarence Park Community Centre

The Clarence Park Community Centre celebrated their 2011 Christmas Party last night. There would have been in excess of 200 people there.

The Community Centre is alive and filled with excitement; a sure sign that that we have a very successful and well patronised  Community Facility here in the Goodwood South Ward.

Father Christmas visited us during the party and provided all the kids with presents. It was great to see the smiling faces of not only the kids but the mums and dads too. Next year I might be able to return, not just as a councillor but a grandparent – Pa Don.

Ruth Zilm was thanked for her 26 years with the Centre and there were lots of wet eyes as she received a presentation from Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ashley Campbell.

Well done both the management and the staff of the Community Centre. Have a merry Christmas and we will see you again in the new year; ready again to provide a valuable service to the resident’s of Clarence Park, Millswood, Black Forest and surrounding suburbs.

Graffiti Management

With graffiti back on the rise this year a pilot volunteer graffiti removal program is programmed for early next year. Council’s administration is currently working on a job description in conjunction with our OHS coordinator before recruiting/advertising for volunteers.

Regulated v Significant Trees-The New Legislation

Last night I attended a workshop on the new significant tree, sorry, regulated tree regulation. This will impact significantly on the inner rim councils, particularly us here at Unley.

The workshop was to provide participants with a basic knowledge of what it means to all of us.

I am attempting here to give you all a precis of what the workshop revealed about the legislation.

My first reaction is that it will take a while to get to know it and there are going to be a number of anomalies that will need ironing out as often happens with new legislation. Based on discussions in the room tonight there are already areas we can identify where the legislators have not recognised what can be do to circumvent the legislation.

Notwithstanding this here are some basics from the legislation that I think I have understood and that i pass on to you now.

1    The legislation is current as of Nov 17 last.
2   We now have a new approach in that all trees with a trunk over 2.0m diameter measured 1.0m from the ground are regulated trees.
3    Significant trees are now defined as either; because they have a trunk with a diameter of 3.0m or more or; have been specifically nominated either by the local council or the minister in a given development plan.
4   There are now exemptions and these include:
     a)    trees located within 10m of an existing dwelling or swimming pool, irrespective of whether the structure is on the same title of land as the tree.
    b)    trees of particular species and these are wide.
5    Then there will be exemptions to those trees (exemptions to the exemptions) and I don’t intend to go there because I need time to absorb which and where and when.
6    Pruning will no longer be considered tree damaging activity so long as you do not remove more than 30% of the crown of the tree and so long as only dead wood  or branches that pose a risk in certain circumstances is what is pruned.
7    You can prune a neighbours tree, so long as you obtain development approval (and there is no fee associated with this type of pruning) from the council and only on that part of the tree overhanging your property.
8    There will no longer be a requirement for obtaining expert advice to support an application where the tree has a trunk less than 3.0m circumference. Having said that I am not sure how most of us are going to be able to determine what the species a given tree is without help from an expert.

The legislation however has made it now mandatory for the council to condition any approval for removal with a condition that the tree be replaced with would you believe (unless an exempted tree or located within 10m of a building or swimming pool):

        if the tree is a regulated tree under the act (over 2.0m but less than 3.0m)
it must be replaced with 2 new trees.
        if the tree is a significant tree under the act (over 3.0m) with 3 trees.

Of course an applicant can choose in lieu to contribute to a new fund called the “urban trees fund”, at would you believe only $ 75.00 for each replacement tree not planted.

Good luck understanding this. Please also be forgiving if our staff take a while to process your application or to offer advice prior to you lodging an application. They will need time to apply the new laws to your specific case.

Oh! And finally! Regulated or significant trees will no longer be classified as category 2 development which means you will no longer be able to make representation on a development application by your neighbour for tree damaging activity.

In closing may I suggest you keep a lookout for further blogs on this topic particularly blogs correcting errors of interpretation on my part. I am bound to have got something wrong, such is the  initial complexity of the legislation.


Brownhill & Keswick Creek Stormwater Project

Council has now had a briefing on the alternative options thrown at us at the last minute by the City of Mitcham.

Our administration has had a good look into these alternatives while the original Worley Parsons recommendation undergoes public consultation.

Five new options have been presented by the City of Mitcham. Only one of these would appear to have any credibility. It is co-incidentally one of the three no dam options offered. It will involve, as I felt and noted in my last posting (as will all 5 options) a significant impact on the City of Unley.

It is my view and this is shared I believe by our Senior Management that significant work would need to be done on ensuring the feasibility of this option before the City of Unley were to consider it is a viable option. There is every chance with the size (width and depth) and length of culverts required running through our streets that it simply is not feasible. The width of our suburban streets generally is narrow and there is already significant infrastructure housed by them already.

Given this infrastructure these culverts would need to be on the edge of the streets they are planned to occupy and there is therefore significant risk in my mind that OUR trees would be threatened in order to save the trees in the Dam area.

As I indicated in my last blog I will need convincing that this (or any other new options) has merit enough to consider as an alternative to the one that is currently under public consultation. If I and/or my fellow elected members can be convinced it has merit and vote for it, it too will have to go out for public consultation before going to the next stage.

And don’t expect any excavation, in my opinion, for two years because whatever option is advanced to the next stage there is much detail design work to go and this has potential to unearth unthought-of constraints that have the potential to have to go out again to public consultation.

Clarence Park Community Centre Food Cooperative

Also in the money is the Clarence Park Community Centre Food Cooperative.

The CPCC is about to celebrate their 30th Anniversary by:

– recognising their community building tradition by sharing ‘thank you’ gifts of Food Co-op produce and items, made from Food Co-op ingredients, with community members, and

– host a party incorporating the Co-op’s healthy food ethos in the catering and activities.

– Celebrate 2012 being the UN ‘Year of the Co-operative’ with an information display about co-operatives, how they function and their place in the community.

This is the same theme as the kindergarten I blogged about earlier today. Both of these projects are not only steeped in community involvement but address another area that Council is keen to promote and encourage and that is food sustainability.

Well Done CPCC.

Commnity Asset Review

Council’s City Strategy & Policy Committee last night endorsed consultation to commence on the Community Asset Review (CAR).

This review involves a strategic review of many of Council’s community facilities, including their design and functionality, and the services operated from them. A key part of the project is consultation with all stakeholders, particularly the clubs and groups who lease Council’s community facilities, and others who use them.

The full report is available on Council’s website at www.unley.sa.gov.au, click on Council, then City Strategy & Policy Committee, then November 2011 agenda.

The CAR consultation plan requires final endorsement at the full Council next Monday, after which time Council staff will commence discussions with the key stakeholders.

As a member of the CAR committee I will be available to all stakeholders, and when the time comes others in our community, to ensure we get the best possible solution for our community groups.

As one of your elected members (Goodwood South) I will be particularly interested in the groups that use our facilities at Goodwood Oval & Millswood.

This review has been a long time coming and is needed provide those groups concerned about their future an opportunity to shape their future with certainty, with our help.

Clarence Park Community Kindergarten Community Garden

Clarence Park Community Kindergarten applied for a grant to grow their vegetable and herb garden into a community garden in the recent round for community grants.

Their application was approved at our City Strategy & Policy Committee meeting, accepting the recommendation of the Community Grants committee. It does need to be rubber stamped next Monday night but there is no reason to believe it won’t be as approval by the City Strategy & Policy Committee is usually a forerunner for approval at the next full Council meeting.

It is expected to plant in this area.

The aim of the garden is to upgrade their vegetable and herb garden so they can cook their produce and encourage families and the local community to engage with their services.

Well done Clarence Park Kindergarten. In a world where food sustainability is under threat this is a great move. Let’s hope we all get behind them and make it a success.

Brownhill & Keswick Creek Stormwater Project

Yes the stormwater plan is now available for public consideration and consultation and, as I predicted in my last blog on this topic, the City of Mitcham are facing stiff opposition to the dam component.

Alternative strategies have now been provisionally explored by the consultants and we received an analysis of these one day before our first open public forum on the concept put before all the affected councils a few months back.

Where to from here? Our forums will continue while our administration deciphers the alternatives so they can give an accurate report to elected members later this week.

While we await the results of this analysis I have already had a brief look myself. I have concerns with the proposals (if I am reading them right) and would therefore want to be assured that public interest components being proposed in the alternatives do not potentially have the citizens of Unley find a need to protest.

In other words we need to be careful that we in Unley do not pay a penalty in order to appease the residents in Mitcham, notwithstanding any merits in their case.

Increasing the size of the infrastructure within the Unley boundaries must be done with care in that there is room within our current infrastructure and without impacting our regime of significant trees.

I guess it is a case still of watch this space.

Churchill Avenue and Spiers Street

Work at upgrading Churchill Avenue and Spiers Street is nearly complete.

Churchill Avenue has been re-surfaced. Spiers Street has been realigned, and new footpaths constructed.

                                     Spiers under construction                              Spiers now

It is great to see works such as these, and Page Park (refer yesterday’s post), in our little neck of the woods. We will soon be sitting down to start the process of determining the budget for next year and Jennie and I will be looking to ensure Goodwood South Ward continues to receive the funding to see results such as these.

And doesn’t Churchill look a picture.

Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market 5 years birthday celebration

Last night my wife Dianne and I were guests at a celebration of the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers market 5th Birthday celebrations.

Dianne and I have been patrons of the market since just after its inception. We were invited after establishing a meeting with their new CEO Amanda Daniel. Both Amanda and I are keen to develop a relationship between Council and ASFM.

It was a night organised to thank their many sponsors over the duration. These include The Showgrounds, Bendigo Bank and Breville.

The opportunity was taken to thank the founder and original CEO of the ASFM, Zannie Flanagan with Life Membership. Zannie was the founder of the ASFM, a true visionary.

Anne Duncan, ASFM Chairperson,
presenting Zannie Flanagan with Life Membership
of the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market.
The ASFM is a showcase for fresh, regional and seasonal produce where farmers and producers will sell their goods direct to consumers. Buying direct from the producers every Sunday morning has been a pleasure and I look forward to continuing to patronise them.

We enjoyed local seasonal produce for tea, cooked by the Farmers Market Chefs.

Thank you Amanda for the invite. See you at the market.