DSP Committee to consider revised DPA2

As alerted in my blog post in the evening of 9 April the Development Strategy & Policy Committee (DSP) will consider this coming Monday evening the revisions made to DPA2 after your observations were taken on board by Council.


The first issue to come before this committee is the return of Development Plan Amendment DPA 2.

Our administration have compiled the responses from our community and have responded in turn with these observations to the Minister via his department, DPTI. Council has, in other words, taken on board the majority observations made during the public consultation. Our administration has worked diligently to document the results of the consultation, to implement them into a revised DPA, and to consult with DPTI over these changes.

Having said that, they (DPTI) are not particularly keen with the changes that the public consultation has prompted.

Keen to not miss out on the opportunities however this DPA2 presents in the eastern suburbs of the City of Unley DPTI have in a letter to our CEO recommended “that the policy that received limited objection through the consultation process be finalised for approval as a priority”. They go on further to say “As previously discussed it is recommended that the DPA2 be split to enable this to occur. This will allow progression of uncontentious development opportunities in the short term”.

So one of the first jobs our committee has is to determine what they will recommend council do; persist with the changes now or agree with DPTI and put the western components on hold while we deal with other more productive opportunities.

The options we can consider are as follow:

  1. Recommend endorsement of the revised DPA2 and splitting into 2 parts. The 1st part for submission to and approval by the minister. The 2nd part to go back out to public consultation limited to the western area.
  2. Recommend endorsement of the revised DPA2 and splitting into 2 parts. The 1st part limited to the smaller eastern area for submission to and approval by the minister. The 2nd part to go back out to public consultation to all araes except a limited eastern area.
  3. Abandon the DPA2 entirely leaving it to this minister to determine, noting it is his plan and he can, at the end of the day, do as he chooses.
  4. Any other option the committee, in its wisdom, may consider.

Should be a good night.

This is a public meeting so you are welcome to come along and hear the debate. It will be held in the Civic Centre commencing at 7.00 pm.



Have Your Say of the Belair Rail Timetable to incorporate Millswood Station

As you are no doubt aware, DPTI will soon be reopening Millswood station. As part of the project, DPTI is seeking community feedback on a proposed Belair train timetable. 

Yes! DPTI is looking for your feedback before looking at the time table as a result of re-opening the Millswood Station.
This is your chance to influence the service you and your neighbours have been pushing to get back. I encourage you to take it up – be part of the solution.
Please refer to the attached flyer for more information on ‘how to provide your feedback’. The flyer will also be displayed at the  Council office ‘front counter’, Unley website and at the library alerting community if they wish to provide feedback.
Thank you DPTI.

Home Owners must take responsibility

A startling fact was provided to a small group of home owners in Goodwood and surrounding suburbs at the wildlife preservation presentation at Goodwood Primary School on Thursday night.

That was the revelation that it is us, those who own property in the area known as the City of Unley, who are responsible for the loss of native fauna and flora. As the map below shows very little is owned or under the control of governments, whether Federal, State or Local. The remaining 61% is owned by you and me. And before you say it does not add up to 100, roads account for the other 23%.

The areas in pink on this map are you and me.

After the original settlement of Unley most of the blocks were built on only to around 30%. In recent times the larger blocks have been carved up and we are covering regularly 50%, 60% and even up to 70% with housing stock.

This invasion is long before the recent invasion by DPTI of the electrified rail corridor.

DPTI, to their credit, were a key stakeholder in the recent wildlife project along the corridor. Before the project started they listed the expertise of Zoologist James Smith (see previous Wildlife post) with their concerns about wildlife degradation.

Council has information for anyone who wishes to do their bit to help our local environment. Or ring DPTI on 1300 443 198

Attracting Native Wildlife to YOUR garden

Goodwood Primary School students gave a presentation along with James Smith, Zoologist and founder of fauNature, as to how we might not only protect our native fauna and flora but increase it within the boundaries of the City of Unley.

The presentation was at the School and was most informative. The students of this school, and indeed nearby Black Forest primary School have been leading the way in nature preservation. We can all be proud that our little neck of the woods are so proactive.

Part of the promotion covered how both schools have been helping to reduce the impacts of habitat loss along the rail corridor. This project was done in conjunction with DPTI, City of Unley and the Toys workshop at the Clarence Park Community Centre.

This project fits neatly into Councils Greening component of our Strategic Plan (from the Community of Possibilities).

Our future is in the hands of these young people, which is encouraging. I jut hope we don’t blow it before they get to influence directly.

The message has to get out there that we (you and me) are responsible for the future. We cant blame governments. Look for my next post on this.

Here we go again

Just as they did on so many occasions during the revitalization of the rail corridors through the City of Unley, and I might add from day 1, DPTI are at it again. This time as they gear up for what they say are safety inspired modifications to Greenhill Road.

Regular readers of this blog will probably predict what is next.

Yes DPTI are deflecting the angst being thrown at them by a different group of City of Unley residents using the magic word “Council”. When a resident expressed concern that all DPTI were doing was transferring a traffic issue from their commuter route to the back streets of Unley. Their response is you don’t have to worry because Unley Council are conducting a city wide LATM in the next financial year.

LATM stands for local area traffic management survey.

When I denied this with a typical Aussie response I was informed he knows because he has talked to Council. He was not impressed when one of the agitated in the audience exclaimed “and you know better than him even though he is an elected member”.

This reminds me of Jan 9 last year when the DPTI representative was loud is claiming Council would be building the Greenways bike-path. So much so that once again he claimed more knowledge than an elected member who actually has to approve Council conducting a project. Interesting that on that one that representative ended up taking over the project management of that project when a similar discourse with the residents adjacent that project was apparently not being handled to well by the project manager at the time.

So the scene is set yet again.

And if it goes the full course Council will be forced to step in a try an mitigate the problem that will be created if residents worst fears are found to be justified. Because that is what is happening at the end of that bike way. Yes we are spending rate payer money to make safe a situation created by DPTI

And then we have the new potential government threatening to cap our rates.

Oh the joy of it all.

Greenhill Road Median Strip project a copy of the Seaford Rail project and/or a forerunner for South Road?

The State Government’s Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy is alive and proceeding with the proposed Greenhill Road Median Strip Safety Improvements about to get under way. 

I ask if this project is going to follow the recent experiences of people residing adjacent the Seaford Rail Line and the Belair Line. Indeed I ask if what we are about to experience what we might expect when the travelling road show moves to the non stop South road project in years to come.

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure has released for public comment the details of proposed safety enhancements for Greenhill Road. Council has responded to this invitation, as i have individually (see below).

They have identified that motorists turning right (east) from the suburban side streets of the City of Unley are creating safety issues. Statistics indicate 66 injury crashes over a four year period.

Whilst I have communicated to them in my representation that I am not convinced they have the right answer my representation to them focuses on the level of public consultation they are undertaking. The question is are they consulting  or informing.

Here is the cause of my concern. The opportunity to have your say closes on the 17th of this month. That is 10 days away. If my memory is accurate they advised Council at a briefing they provided us that they will commence work once Clipsal has been completed. Last time I looked that is now.

So the question again is consult or inform. If the latter they can expect similar hostility at being disrespected as they did along the rail corridors.

And the next question is ….. will it be the same when they move to South Road, back into my Ward?

If you have an interest in this project you will have the opportunity to question the project team at nine other than the City of Unley Civic Library this coming Thursday (that is the 13th) between 6.00 pm and 8.00 pm. I intend to call in.

Wayville Station controversy prompts a deeper question

As the newly opened Wayville railway Station (actually named the Showgrounds Railway Station) is heralded a huge success by the State Government it has raised a number of eyebrows as an expensive and unnecessary addition to the State’s infrastructure.

The debate which arose before it was constructed has flared again, only a week after it was opened. And the headlines read ” The Phantom Passengers of Wayville Station”. This is clearly a dig at the fact that very few passengers are suing this brand new state of the art station.

I refer to an article by Sheradyn Holderhead in today’s Sunday Mail.

As I ventured by train into the Adelaide Oval to take in some Sheffield Shield cricket (unfortunately the game ended in a draw be we (SA) are still sitting atop the ladder) I could not help but notice not one passenger at this station.

Is this a big waste of taxpayers money by the current State Government is the question being asked. If I may I suggest the question should actually be should infrastructure precede housing or commercial development or follow it.

This Government has been oft criticised for not providing infrastructure before housing developments are allowed to proceed. Now they are being criticised for putting it on ahead of time. In my opinion infrastructure should come first so I applaud the Government for taking the opportunity when it presented itself.

With a Development Plan encouraging sometime in the future (not sure when) a significant and dense residential population between the Showground and Greenhill Road, perhaps it is timely.

I guess only time will tell if the expenditure on this project was justified or not.

On the other hand the rumour is the Government and the Showgrounds are in discussions with each other over an opportunity to create a Park & Ride on the north side of the Showgrounds. This of course will undoubtedly provide a degree of patronage to help justify the construction of the Station.

Indeed the Premier recently announced Wayville as part of a wider Park & Ride program costing $ 7.5 million, which he says will be funded from the proposed car park tax.

All the experts agree that the various north-south roads situated in the City of Unley are already overtaxed with peak hour traffic. And now the Government says it will encourage increased traffic into this area in order to service the otherwise Phantom Station.

So while I am in favour of infrastructure before housing or commercial development I am dead against a park & ride in an inner suburban location.

Please Mr Premier, do not screw up the western suburbs of the City of Unley. We need you or the opposition if they form the next Government to actually do the opposite and ease the commuter pressure on this inner suburban area.

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Last night I heard my momma singin’ a song, cooee, chirpy, chirpy, cheep,cheep.

Where’s our trees gone might be the song we have been singing for the last 12 months. But now we can sing and rejoice the birds are coming back, thanks to DPTI, Council and our local school kids.

While we await replanting of lost trees (on a three for one basis) and aware of the impact these works of the impact that the Rail Revitalisation Project has had on flora within the western suburbs of the City of Unley, DPTI and Council have worked collaboratively on a Community Wildlife Project to provide nesting boxes through neighbouring streets, schools and private properties adjacent the rail corridor. Fundamentally the aim of the project was to provide alternative nesting sites for fauna that may have been displaced by the loss of vegetation, specifically trees from the rail projects.
DPTI worked with a Zoologist (James Smith) who teamed with schools within the area to build nesting boxes. This Community Wildlife Project was enthusiastically embraced by the community. This includes the kids of the Black Forest and Goodwood Primary Schools, Clarence Park Community Centre T.O.Y.S. Workshop (who provided the workshop for the kids to make the nesting boxes) and numerous other volunteers have all been valuable contributors, ensuring the environmental and educational outcomes sort have been achieved

The boxes have been placed in trees near the rail corridor (Goodwood Primary School, Forestville Reserve, Black Forest School, Devon Street & Railway Terrace, Lyons Parade, Cromer Parade and Goodwood Oval). The Council has supported this project and agreed to take on board the longer term maintenance of these boxes. In total 42 fauna boxes are located in trees near the corridor as part of this project.

Council already has 52 boxes located throughout the rest of the City (predominately to the east of the City). With the additional 42 provided from this project we are now close to 100 fauna boxes throughout the City.

Rail Electrification Update

For those of you who are not on the DPTI mailing list for updates on the rail electrification project you might find the current update of interest.

You can access it at the link below

Rail Electrification Community Update

And stay tuned for an announcement from the Minister re the start of passenger services for the Electric Trains (The 4000 series)

Electric trains…coming soon but watch out for Suburban black outs when they do

The Good. A short while ago we (my wife & I) happened by chance to witness the trialing along our stretch of the line the new electric trains.
The Bad. Our neighbourhood suffered a black out at the precise moment it went past.

It is great news that the electric trains are being trialed along the full length of the Seaford Line. It means they can’t be too far away from carrying passengers. This adds to the news that the Wayville Station will be open on the 17th, maybe a precursor to the electric trains commencing even though there is no word on this yet.

As I said we happened on this event. The trains ARE so silent you don’t know they are coming. It was a fluke in other words I got to see them.

I did manage to get footage of one passing our door.

But my wife and neighbours were worried about a black out we experienced at precisely the time the train passed our door. Co-incidence or a fault that impacts on the power grid. I hope it is the former because (if not) there is going to be further outrage.

Warning—the decibels of discontent are lifting another notch

As I head of shortly to work (yes I need the money) I understand that there is yet another public meeting about to take place. That meeting organised again by Terina Monteagle and in which Vickie Chapman will attend.

It is to be held at the Victoria Street rail crossing in what I understand is a push by the Liberal State opposition to have all warning devices lowered in volume and pitch after DPTI acquiesced to do precisely that at Fairfax Street last week.

So we have our local member looking to receive a petition from Fairmont Avenue about the East Avenue crossing to take to the Minister and her opponent at Victoria Street where she will be presenting a petition to the Opposition Minister gathered by a resident close to that crossing.

Seems our little neighbourhood has become the focus of attention as the election campaign starts to pick up.

Warning Bells Saga lifts a couple of Decibels

After the success of the Cromer Parade and Millswood Crescent residents in getting the volume and pitch of the Fairfax Street pedestrian crossing lowered people power is targeting another crossing.

With the help of local State MP for Ashford Steph Key, a resident from Fairmont Avenue is putting a petition together to have the warning device at the East Avenue Rail Crossing likewise lowered. Steph has indicated she will present this petition to the Minister.

I must say that where i live some 200 m south of the crossing it is my impression that these bells have changed. I rarely heard them before and now they are a constant reminder that there is train traffic on the tracks again. Needless to say my wife & I both signed the petition.

If you have a problem with these warning bells and have not seen the petition can I recommend you let Steph know. She can include your input when confronting the Minister.

Public Meeting re ongoing concerns with Rail Revitalisation Project.

As a number of your neighbours celebrate the saving of the Sugar Gums this afternoon (see separate post on this blog site) the work in getting a fair deal from DPTI is not yet complete.

Many of you would be acutely aware of this. 

Some of you will be aware that Terina Monteagle (the Liberal candidate for Ashford) has undertaken to advocate for us with DPTI on the level pedestrian crossing on the Seaford line (adjacent Fairfax Street, Millswood). As a result of two public meetings concerning this have been held, one attended by Vickie Chapman, the Shadow Treasurer for Transport & Infrastructure.
Others along the corridor (you might be one of them) have asked Terina to look into other unfinished business.
In response to this Terina has organised another public meeting as detailed below. On her behalf sorry about the late notice, she has only just now confirmed the venue.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity and come along and air your remaining concerns about the work of DPTI.

Vindicated Again but without Recognition!

At this very late stage in the rail revitilisation project time frame and with no money to address any concerns raised by residents DPTI have worked out they need to provide a pedestrian maze on the south side of the Leader Street rail crossing.

DPTI undertook a safety audit for the level crossing at Leader Street recently as part of the Noarlunga Rail Electrification Project. One of the high risk issues identified was pedestrian movements on the southern side (currently no pedestrian crossing facility).  This issue will become a higher risk with the electrification of the railway line.

Curiously they (DPTI) dismissed observations by me at the beginning of the project, and by a number of residents at the various community engagement sessions they conducted, that this was needed. So when it is our idea it is not necessary and there is no money for it. When the crossing is up and running you are then able to find for out yourself (DPTI) that this is not only needed but because it is a HIGH risk, particularly with the electrical trains soon to run the line, that you need to do it, and now.

DPTI is proposing to install a pedestrian maze (identical to what is already present on the northern side of the level crossing). This will enable the pedestrians to cross the railway lines with improved safety. The traffic movements at Nairne and Richards Terraces will remain unchanged. There will be a loss of  2 car parking spaces (1 each on Leader St and Nairne Tce) in order to accommodate the proposed design. Cyclists movements will be retained on both Nairne and Richards Terraces. The proposed work is anticipated to be completed in first couple of months of 2014 with the works on railway tracks be undertaken before the electrification of the railway line.

Like I say….vindicated yet again….but I don’t expect to be recognised for having the vision, at least by DPTI.

And they (DPTI) still don’t get it.

Some who read the posts on this blog site may well remember my post early last year that read “DPTI just does not get it”. Well with the rail revitalization project stumbling toward completion I have repeat it.

I have received a number of complaints today at a street meeting about how DPTI have treated their observations and concerns with contempt, some past but some current. This demonstrates that DPTI are still getting under peoples noses.

Goodness I thought the project was finished some time back you might ask. As I noted in my last post DPTI may believe this but what this has done is to spark a whole new round of angst, through me, toward them and the Government.

A case in point; they have completed the pedestrian crossing just south of the grade separation tunnel, adjacent Fairfax Street, Millswood. It has been in operation for a while now. The crossing includes an audible warning which did not exist before because the oncoming trains (from the north) are now not visually apparent until almost on the crossing.

DPTI engineers have determined, not unreasonably at first look, to provide an automatic closing gate system couple with an audible warning. The problem is the audible warnings are way too loud for the comfort of adjacent residents, who were promised they would not be worse off before the project started.

It has been claimed the level of the audible warning (which is a hoot not a ding dong) is 73 dB. 75 dB I understand  is roughly the equivalent of a car horn. As a warning it is operating every 3 1/4 minutes during peak hour (trains are passing every 7 1/2 minutes each way, check the train schedules if you doubt me) and 7 1/2 minutes outside peak hour.

Hardly a warning if it is on that frequently I would have thought. And the vast majority of the time there is no-one using the crossing.

A resident has reasonably (in my opinion) offered a solution of reversing the gate function from being open all the time and automatically closing when a train approaches to one that is automatically locked all the time unless opened by the actions of a pedestrian. Of course of the automation system would have to recognize a train is approaching the gate preventing the gate to be manually opened by the pedestrian in that situation. An audible warning system becomes less necessary if this were the case I would have thought.

Their response to that residents reasonable suggestions as to how the safety they want can be achieved, was to simply to throw regulations at them. No recognition of the residents well reasoned, thought out attempt to be part of the solution or thanks for their looking to a solution rather than just venting.

Their response is to claim it was confirmed by an acoustic engineer commissioned to check the site that the alarm noise level output complies with the International Standard ISO 7731 and the volume is not required to be adjusted.

Sorry DPTI. That is just not good enough. You are sticking your neck in the sand in my opinion and using regulations to “blind people with science” who might have a concern with what you are doing.

Here is a big tip DPTI. You might want to check the statistics of pedestrian deaths in Australia on rail crossings. If what I was told today by an unqualified source the vast majority of deaths occur at crossings configured the way you have configured this one.

If this is true, might be time to change the regulations which you can do, as the regulator.

The Fight Continues…Unfortunately

DPTI believe the rail revitalization projects have reached the point where no further consultation is required. The angst still exists however and residents have indicated they are “over it”.

And here is my message to the State Government. The residents of Black Forest, Clarence Park & Millswood are part of a seat (Ashford) that they can ill afford to lose but are doing their best so to do. These people are not not pleased with what has happened to them and what continues to happen along the rail corridor.

By my observation there is much yet to be done on the project and disruption sufficient for them to treat us fairly with some warning of works, particularly the night works that are still impacting on the lives of the people of Black Forest, Clarence Park & Millswood. The trouble as I see it is however that they don’t know themselves what they are doing next.

As someone involved in construction for over 40 years my observations are that the contractors making the most disruption are reacting to issues (maybe signalling or the like). Hard to forewarn of that of course. Having said that they could level with us that they are having problems.

My experience is builders, departments, people don’t want to admit to having difficulties as they perceive they will look like idiots. My experience again those that do not communicate they are having difficulties look like idiots.

To be fair we had a letter prior to Christmas to indicate that there would still be some disruption. But that was 3-4 weeks ago, far from specific.

It has not been some disruption, it has been significant and a number of residents have shared their frustration with me on this. I too have experienced this being only 30 m off the line at Clarence Park.

A group of us shared experiences at a street meeting this morning and we were all subject to the same concerns.

  • Work commencing after midnight without warning.
  • Intrusive flashing lights
  • Hammering of metal on metal
  • Consistent loud and audible swearing by workers. (these guys are frustrated over something too)
And here is the rub. They are so frustrated by the lack of respect for their opinions over the 12 months or so that they are now simply waiting on the next 9 weeks to pass by and then register their concerns for the final time.

DPTI says thank you for your patience and tolerance

Free train rides through the Goodwood Junction was the feature of a thank you at Forestville Reserve today.

DPTI conducted what they called a celebration of the project and sent a big thank you to the many residents affected by the disruption to their lives over the last 12 months. There was a steady flow of people through the day, taking the opportunity to partake of a sausage and a smoothie.

Of course DPTI took the opportunity to promote the integrated transport plan on behalf of the government.

Most who attended are looking forward to the project being completed and the trains running again. As many appreciated the service that is yet to be. A number had an opportunity to alert the project management team of issues that still require resolution.

The team have indicted a desire to correct some of these, and there are some that simply wont get fixed. One they have given an undertaking to investigate is the building of a CCTV building at the corner of Arundel Avenue and Cranbrook Avenue. With some luck maybe the Minister will be asked to do what he professes he loves and that is to problem solve by extending the screen along Arundel to match the relocation of the Belair passing loop. One that wont be fixed is the relocation of the fence along Canterbury Terrace at Black Forest to assist in making that street safer for all road users. The adjacent services make this impossible.

The besser block building at Cranbrook Avenue apparently was designed by the contractor and members of the management team had no idea of its size or location. The problems this creates for residents of this area and in particular the resident on the north side, western end of Arundel Avenue would be investigated on Monday was the undertaking we received.

Hopefully a solution will be forthcoming that will at least minimize if not eradicate the new visual intrusion into the amenity of this suburb.

As I took the free ride which went from the Goodwood Station to, coincidentally a spot on the track where I used to live, I contemplated the service to come and when that might be. I was advised that the diesel trains will be back up and running in December. Dont know when in December which may mean I have to find alternate transport to get to the Test at Adelaide Oval.

In my estimation, noting they could not advise me, the electrical trains are still a good 3 months away. For anyone not contacted by the DPTI public relations team all work on the line from now on will be at night. This is to provide the opportunity to test the trains on the track, both diesel and electric. It will also provide the opportunity to train their drivers in operating the electric trains.