Stalemate on Brownhill Creek at Unley

After a marathon session at the Unley Civic Centre Centre last night the news is we have a stalemate on Brownhill Creek. That’s at Unley that is.

 

Last nights Council meeting in front of a packed gallery too small to accommodate the interested public was reminiscent of the 1966 SANFL Grand Final Adelaide Oval. With the crowd spilling out into the bleeches that is. Certainly not in result however.

On that day the locals (Sturt) defeated Port 16.16 to 8.8, an emphatic defeat. Last night it was a stalemate, no result; a bit like that nasty feeling experienced when there is a draw in the great Aussie game of footy.

stalemate-300x153

 

My recent blog posts have highlighted where I sit in the equation, wanting more information to make a more qualified decision. I have not been happy with Option D and have proclaimed that loudly. I have also highlighted that I am equally not happy with Option B2.

As we sat to deliberate last night nothing had changed for me. There was  no further information to allow me to decide. So I went to the meeting (with apologies to everyone for my incessant coughing on the night as I recover from the Flu) expecting to vote no to either option.

Curiously this reflects the finally tuned balance in the Unley Council with both options being voted down 6 to 5.

What I did do on the night was follow the lead of Cr Anthony Lapidge who moved an amendment to the motion supporting Option D. Cr Lapidge had recognised that it does not matter what Unley Council says or does on this issue, Option D WILL be the option adopted going forward. He has correctly identified that if we don’t have a motion acceptable to the State Government and the SMA not only will Option D proceed but potentially we wont be part of the solution going forward. And our residents may get lost in the system.

His amendment addressed what I see as the major concerns of the landowners fearful of Option D and what it might mean to their property. I saw this as maybe the best opportunity Unley Council may have had to help these people get the best deal out of the inevitability that is Option D.

Appears it is now set up for a Grand Final replay, unless the SMA simply says to Unley…..had your chance…..on your bike.

 

Brownhill Creek Public Consultation complete

The six week Brownhill Creek Public Consultation is now complete.

 

projects_4The outcomes of the Brownhill Creek Public Consultation process will now be reported to the five catchment councils. Each council will then determine its position and a final recommendation on the Part B works will be made by the BHKC Stormwater Project to the 5 member councils ready to report finally to the State Government’s Stormwater Management Authority. It has been anticipated that this recommendation will be made by September 2015.

The public have had there turn and now it is up to the BHKC Stormwater Project to compile the results of the consultation ready to report. And then….it will be up to us, the elected members of the 5 member councils, to make a decision. And then the Stormwater Management Authority will be advised of our decision.

That will likely be just as interesting as the public debate that has ensued for some time now. And I don’t doubt that public participation will still be omnipresent.

I don’t know how many people communicated direct to the BHKC Stormwater Project but I do know I have been inundated with claim and counter claim myself. I am also aware of the debate that has transpired in the media as one group refutes and disputes claims made by those with different views.

Although broke and with no funding in their forward budgets the Government requires all 5 councils to agree on a final plan otherwise it (the State Government) will takeover the project. Three of the five councils are directly impacted by the results that will soon be known to us. The needs of each council are of course at variance to each other. The other two have little direct involvement. So getting what the Government is asking for will be a challenge in its own right.

As the report is put to the member councils and their elected members I will be looking for a number of issues I have identified, including that not in the public debate, before I cast my vote.

Obviously until this comes to its natural conclusion (if it can be deemed natural that is) ……… watch this space.

Stormwater Diversion Pits being installed in Cromer Parade.

 I ventured out today to witness the installation of some 28 stormwater diversion pits being installed in Cromer Parade. I was motivated to do this after having recently been asked questions about stormwater diversion pits in nearby Ormond Avenue.

 

stormwater diversion pitI also sought confirmation from our staff that my understanding was correct.

Council is keen to take every opportunity to find ways of using the stormwater that we collect from our homes or the street to help water our street trees.

If successful this means a reduced cost to ratepayers of maintaining our street trees.

The pit is a small water holding tank below ground in the nature strip which collects storm water from either the property or from the street watertable. The idea is to capture water from the property stormwater outlet and divert this water to a permeable pit in the nature strip. Once the pit is full the excess stormwater diverts to the street watertable.

Another version of a stormwater diversion pit collects stormwater from the street and treats it similarly.

The pit water slowly dissipates into the nature strip sub-soil. This then feeds adjacent trees.

The following diagram hopefully explains it better.

Stormwater Diversion Pit Installation

Brownhill Creek Final Public Consultation

The final Brownhill Creek Final Public Consultation, as reported in my last blog post on Brownhill Creek has commenced.

 

Members of the public have been invited to learn more about and comment on proposed flood mitigation measures for upper Brownhill Creek.  The community consultation process commenced last Wednesday 13 May. It will conclude on Tuesday 23 June, 2015.

The consultation will focus on the Brown Hill Keswick Creek Stormwater Project’s “Part B Report” for upper Brown Hill Creek. This report investigated eight flood mitigation options aimed at improving flood protection for homes and properties across the catchment.

All options involve two types of work along upper Brown Hill Creek to reduce the risk of flooding during high stormwater flows:

  1. Creek capacity upgrade works in critical sections (which vary for the eight options) to increase the capacity of the creek so it can carry more water; and
  1. Creek rehabilitation works along its full length to assist the flow of water along the creek and improve its biodiversity.

Three of the eight options (Options B1, B2 and D) were analysed in more detail as these are seen by the project team as the most viable and cost effective options. Of these, the “Creek Capacity Upgrade (Option D)” has been identified by the team as the preferred option as it is deemed by them as the most cost effective way of achieving the necessary flood mitigation.

The consultation process will include four open days for residents to learn more about proposed works and provide feedback to project staff. The open days have been scheduled for the following dates:

Monday 18 May 2015
Drop in anytime between 2pm-6pm at the Unley Community Centre (18 Arthur St, Unley)

Sunday 24 May 2015
Drop in anytime between 11am-3pm at the Unley Community Centre (18 Arthur St, Unley)

Thursday 28 May 2015
Drop in anytime between 2pm-6pm at the Mitcham Civic Centre (131 Belair Rd, Torrens Park)

Saturday 30 May 2015
Drop in anytime between 10am-2pm at the Mitcham Civic Centre (131 Belair Rd, Torrens Park)

Members of the public are invited to have their say by completing a feedback form or submitting a written submission before 23 June 2015.

Your say is important and will be taken on board. As reported in my blog post on 29 April you don’t have to follow the project teams recommendations.

The outcomes of the community consultation process will be reported to the five catchment councils. Each council will then determine its position and a final recommendation on Part B works will be made to the State Government’s Stormwater Management Authority.

For more information about the project or to request a feedback form, visit www.bhkcstormwater.com.au, email [email protected] or call 1800 468 835.

 

Flood Waters rise

The ink had barely dried on my post of 9 March on this blog page when we see the flood water rise with yet another public interest group. I have received indirectly a letter from this new group, the FORTREES.

 

FORTREES is as pronunciation …. for trees.

They have invited people to visit their Facebook page and like. I could not find the site.

This communication is yet another negative response to one of many proposal being put by the experts. Another in a long line of don’t you dare do this.

No dams, no culverts, no easements and now simply leave the creek alone.

As I said back on the 9th, I can’t wait for the full flurry when the consultation becomes official.

 

 

PS    In the meantime the ridge park dam construction is well under way and on schedule. Word is that the project is proceeding well with local residents appreciative of the contractors efforts to minimize inconvenience.

And while many thought we would lose many trees including one tree older than civilization this has not eventuated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unley’s Detention Dam is now under construction

While the question of whether the Brownhill Creek Detention Dam is to become part of the flood mitigation project or not goes back out to the public for their comment early next year Unley in the meantime has commenced construction of their detention dam in Ridge Park.

ridge park detention damAfter an exhaustive tender assessment process, the contract to undertake the construction of the storm water detention dam in Ridge Park was awarded to South Australian company, York Civil on 29th October 2014. The contract is expected to be finished in June 2015.

The contractor was officially permitted to begin work on site from the 10th November. Since that time, the contractor has been submitting various project plans required under the terms of the contract as well and holding of a number of start up meetings with Council’s representatives.

Work on site has involved surveying of the site, establishment of fencing to protect park users from construction activities and the removal of vegetation in accordance with all relevant approvals.

Site offices have just been erected in the tennis court area. During this current week, York Civil will be bringing the plant and equipment to be used in construction to the site. Vegetation removal will also be completed.

The site crew will arrive and complete the installation of environmental controls such as erosion protection measures and setting out the works.

Earthworks to create the foundation for the dam are expected to commence the following week.

Considering the community

Information regarding the project has been revised to reflect that construction is imminent. This has included updating Council’s website as well as installing information signs around the site.

Parking restrictions have been put in place on Barr Smith Avenue to ensure the safety of home owners and park users whilst construction vehicles commence using this street as the main access to the site. Modifications to the times that parking is banned will occur to take into consideration some the concerns of residents and park users.

Brownhill Creek Ready for Public Consultation but not before Next Year

Council last night moved a motion as follows on Brownhill Creek:

1. Receives the ‘Part B’ report from the Brown Hill Keswick Creek Stormwater Project Group contained within Attachment 1 – Brown Hill Keswick Creek Stormwater Management Plan – ‘Part B’.
2. Notes that the report (Attachment 1) recommends Option D – Creek Capacity Upgrade as a preferred technical solution to flood mitigation 
properties in upper Brown Hill Creek.

3. Notes that the Project on behalf of the five councils (Adelaide, Burnside, Mitcham, Unley and West Torrens) will undertake community engagement relating to ‘Part B’ Works within the first half of 2015.

4. Notes that feedback collected from the community during this period will be summarised in a report to the five catchment councils who will then review and make a final recommendation to the Stormwater Management Authority on ‘Part B’ Works.

This is effectively a motion that simply recognises that we will allow the Project Group to run the public campaign rather than each of the five councils doing so independently. The period of consultation as seen above will be in early 2015, when the respective new councils have the obligation to see this project through to the next stage.

The public, for the first time, will have the opportunity to engage with us on the full storey and not one component of it as has been the case to date. The full report is available for all to read and digest between now and then, the best opportunity ever for people (elected members included) to study and understand what is on offer.

A summary report is available here.

And we have been promised by our CEO that a do nothing option will be available on the table when it does go out to consultation.

Brownhill Creek Report Attracts Media Attention

Elected members have have some heavy reading to do after receiving ahead of the public release the final report prepared but the joint Council steering committee.

8 Options have been narrowed down by the steering committee to one preferred option.

The report will go before full council I believe at the end of this month for the purpose only of receiving it and determining the timing of public consultation. This needlessly is most likely going to be early next year under the auspices of the new council.

With council going into caretaker mode as of next Tuesday this is the only course of action available to Council.

The report is available on Council’s website here.

It is a comprehensive report and if you are at all interested in the flood mitigation project I encourage you to do what we will have to do. Read it. As I try to get my head around the report and more importantly the reasons behind their recommendations I would appreciate your input, either via this blog site, via email or phone.

Personally I am not convinced about the costings they have provided us, particularly for their recommended option, but more about that later.

Brownhill Creek Lobbying lifts a cog.

A number of people, passionate about their neighbourhood have increased their lobbying recently, at least toward Unley Councillors, including obviously myself.

Residents who might be impacted by culverts down their street, or who have the creek running through their property are increasingly incensed that the dam option appears to have been eliminated in favour of the above options. Certainly information out there, or that may not be out there are giving justification to these concerns.

News that West Torrens Council is thinking of withdrawing from the partnership after news the Federal Government is unlikely to provide a level of funding, likewise that Mitcham Council were going to consult immediately and only with 30 residents whose properties border the creek only on no dam options feeds these misgivings.

It was never my understanding that in exploring no dam options that the dam would no longer be an option.

Unley Council, or at least myself, has always tackled this very important project from the view that we have to look at ALL options and determine what is the best of these or the best mix of these. That means looking at dam options and no dam options.

This is the approach, as a small business man, I have taken my whole life on issues confronting me.

That is the only correct approach. There has never been room for politics in my decision making. Find the best solution and to do that you don’t eliminate any before all have been explored.

To eliminate one or more options from the public consultation is quite simply provocative in my mind. It is an insult. It demonstrates a total lack of transparency and reeks of guiding a particular and favoured response.

That is a political approach and I wont have a bar of it.

The Steering committee has delayed providing the 5 councils with the technical report as they recognise Unley’s stance that rushing into public consultation too soon and for the shortest allowable (under statute) consultation time is the responsible approach.

This should not be rushed AND ALL OPTIONS MUST BE ON THE TABLE including mixed options.

So, as this stage still spins out, again I have to say, watch this space.

Brownhill Creek technical report delayed

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise as Gomer Pyle used to say; advice from our CEO on Monday night indicated that the Brownhill technical report will not be available in July. The Steering group is not ready to release it yet.

The Steering group also appear to be following Unley logic and will likely be suggesting a 6 week consultation not the 3 weeks that Mitcham want and the statutes allow. It will be touch an go therefore as to whether or not it can be addressed at our August full council meeting. If it cant then we could see a special meeting convened.

This means we will barely have enough time before going into caretaker mode to digest it and we will only address how and when the technical report and recommendations go out for public consultation.

Whether or not the report addresses how a dam will impact on the other solutions remains to be seen. I, and am sure the majority of Unley Councilors, will not be impressed if it doesn’t.

All options on the table thanks or it is a waste of time going out to the public.

As always with this issue ……. watch this space!

Unley still looking to have all facts before making a decision

Brownhill Creek was back on the agenda at last night’s Full Council meeting and Unley remain focused on deciding on the right solution for all.

Two delegations and a motion made Brownhill Creek the major item of focus for the night. The motion was moved by myself and from memory passed was passed unanimously. The motion read:

That: 

1. The report be received. 

2. Council make a decision on the consultation process to be undertaken with the Unley Community, once it has received and reviewed the Technical Report on Part B works. 

3. The Brown Hill Keswick Creek Steering Committee be advised of Council’s decision. 

The effect of this motion is to make sure we have received the technical report and had sufficient time to not only review it but understand it. This is way too big a project to rush any decisions before Council goes into caretaker mode before the election.
It also provides us an opportunity to take our time to determine what the most appropriate consultation with you, the people it impacts upon. This includes who to consult and over what period of time. What it probably does is, so long as the technical report becomes available to the public is turn the consultation into a whole of council consultation for the duration of the election.
So Unley keeps focused on finding the right solution while others appear to be pulling in a different direction. Rumour has it that West Torrens simply wants to pull out of the agreement and Mitcham is apparently hell bent on a single issue…no dam.

Workshop only indicates FINAL technical information is on the way

Last night’s Council workshop revealed that the technical report on the Brownhill Creek Stormwater mitigation project is on the way. It is expected to be ready for us to review in August.

As I understand it, at that time we will be presented with the technical assessment of all 8 options that have been canvassed to date. Some heavy reading ahead it appears.

I also understand that creek clearing and cleansing must be part of the works that are undertaken. Keeping the creek in good health is something that should have been occurring previously, whether on public or on private land. This is something that I suggest not property owners were not previously aware, but will be going forward.

Whilst we await the reports but having read all previous reports it is also my belief that a dam, in one form or another, is a vital component of the best stormwater mitigation measures that can be taken. We will soon see if the technical report indicates likewise.

What was discussed is what should be the public consultation going forward.

There is a suggestion that we should receive the reports and jump straight into the minimum consultation allowed (3 weeks) under the Local Government Act. This would see the public consultation completed in time for a report to come back to council before the upcoming caretaker period.

My approach to this is this is the most important decision Council has probably ever faced or ever will so we should not rush it. We need to be considered in making any decision.

This decision (if made by the current council) has the effect of binding future councils, and the residents of Unley to the biggest undertaking we have ever been involved with. It had better not be rushed therefore. That would be totally irresponsible.

While the word on the street is that Mitcham will simply push for a no dam solution and while the Advertiser is suggesting West Torrens is about to pull out of the 5 council agreement Unley should remain consistent in its approach. That approach has always been to make sure we have the correct and fullest technical data possible before considering any option. This has always been my take on it and Unley has mirrored this.

We should not change that approach now, at the last minute, because there is a looming election.

I believe we should have say a 6 week public engagement period and at the very least all those people previously included in any particular consultation on the way should be included for consultation on this final report. Given the impact to our long term financial plan it may actually be prudent to take this to the whole community of Unley.

I also believe that we should have another workshop after receiving the final technical report and before it comes to Council so that we can fully appreciate the pros and cons of the different options. We need to be on top of this because, at the end of the day, it is our decision…………….well those of us still on Council after November if I am correct and my colleagues agree.

And there simply is not enough time to do this in my opinion before the caretaker period kicks in.

So!………….Needless to say with this project 
it is still a case of ……. watch this space.

Post Script Brownhill Creek Orphanage Park Consultation

Further to my recent Blog Post on the Consultation over the Brownhill Creek mitigation options for Orphanage Park I remind you the consultation is not over.

As can be seen on Council’s website if you weer unable to get to the public forum at Orphanage Park you can still put in a submission. You can still do this up to close of business on July 4.

This consultation is hopefully getting us close to having all the information we need to consider the way forward. It is but a part of the current investigation into how the creek itself can be cleaned up and/or modified to reduce the flooding risk identified in a 100 year flood.

Whether we can deal with it this side of the election (with the council moving into caretaker mode a the end of August) is debatable but it was the team working on it is hoping for.

Brownhill Creek and its impact on the Orphanage

Yesterday saw an opportunity for those who live next to, love and/or use the Orphanage Park to respond to options suggested by the Brownhill Creek stormwater team for that section of the creek running through the Orphanage.

It was a productive session I feel as around a hundred people by my estimation (I was there from the start and left around 4.00 pm) attended. A number of nearby residents and people who use the park provided important input. Interestingly many of the conversations I personally had centered not on Orphanage Park but on their own property.

This forum was part of the process of talking to property owners who have the creek running through their properties about how we might clean up the creek itself. This is the one component in the process of reducing the flood risk we are trying to circumvent that has always been recognised as being needed but which has yet to be addressed.

It is a process that commenced a couple of months back.

As I have experienced before in public consultation a few who I personally spoke with were, including people who had been to a specific forum dealing with their immediate section of the creek and who have since had one on one discussions with members of the Brownhill Creek team, bemused and confused that we would speak to them before we had plans for their section of the creek.

They had difficulty in accepting that we see their local knowledge as important in identifying what if anything needs to be done in their section of the creek to mitigate their flood risk. Hopefully they are now recognising that Unley Council at leas has been to get this whole equation right. In respect of any creek clean up or upgrade that can only be calculated accurately (if at all) with the benefit of local knowledge which comes from you.

An interesting take by these residents after I have heard from a few residents impacted by the DPA I have blogged a lot on lately who criticised us for not doing exactly that.

Watch this space for more observations about the Brownhill Creek Flood Mitigation project and what I gleaned from this part of the consultation.

Positive News on Brownhill Creek

Council has just received a report from our CEO Peter Tsokas regarding the progress on the Brownhill Creek deliberations.

This was to inform Council on the progress of investigations into Creek clearing and upgrade options. Back in February Council authorised the joint council Brownhill Creek Steering Committee place priority on investigating a creek upgrade solution for the upper reaches of the creek, and to engage with the property owners to identify any potential issues associated with this solution.

So while community debate between the interest groups develops as noted in my blog post of last week Peter made a number of points including the following:

1.       A number of concerns related to each specific area have been identified
2.       Many owners were not aware of their responsibility to maintain the creek in their property to ensure blockages do not occur.
3.       Many owners were also not aware that irrespective of which options the 5 council agree to that the existing creek will need to be cleared of obstructing vegetation to increase flow capacity.
4.       Owners were receptive to individual agreements being developed rather than easements being established over their properties. This was seen I trust as preventing a drop in property values.
5.       Thankfully some residents were bemused that we would seek their feedback before coming up with design proposals and thanked us for the opportunity to do so.
6.       There was unanimous concern that the creek would be left as a concrete channel like Sturt Creek.

            7.       Instead, many owners were interested in either a stepped approach allowing for vegetation or, a more vertical dry stone wall concept.

This is encouraging news but not everyone has been engaged yet. There are a few property owners who have not been involved in the discussions and there are two wider community areas that need to contribute, namely the Orphanage and Forestville Reserve.

community meeting has been scheduled for residents around Forestville Reserve on 28 May and it is expected one will be planned for June 21 at Orphanage Park.

Unless the project Team remains short on technical detail we can expect a report back to Council maybe in July.


Brownhill Creek Debate hots up

I read with interest a letter to the editor in the Hills & Valley Messenger today by Mr Pearce admonishing Mr Bellchambers who is the public spokesperson for the no Dams group.

I did not see the previous correspondence but it appears that resident groups are now engaging in open warfare with each other. And these three groups are all on the same page….”how dare you interrupt my street, my neighbourhood.

Until now the angst has been against the Councils, originally the Mitcham Council for supporting the “no dams” group who are Mitcham residents. It then turned on Unley as the “save Our Streets” group formed to prevent culverts down their streets.

Unfortunately the Brownhill Creek Flood mitigation solution continues to be misconstrued and misrepresented by those not directly involved in working through the design criteria. Many have incorrectly the motives of the Councils as the work to develop solutions proceeded. The solutions have involved engineering challenge that require a lot of work to develop.

The article can be found at this link and is by a member of SOCKET, Mr Tom Pearce. SOCKET stands for Save Our Creeks Environs Trees. They are the third group to get involved in what is now a public debate over what should happen to flood proof the Brownhill Creek Environs.

The first was Mr Ron Bellchambers “No Dam” group. As the first group to get involved they mustered up Adelaide wide support to save the the area proposed for “a” dam. I am aware that people now representing the other two groups, without realizing the cost to them signed the no dam petition.

When the 5 councils then determined that they could agree on the 80% of the consultants recommendation that could proceed with or without the dam to see if there were alternatives to providing a dam we enraged another group. Please note that this was not the 5 councils agreeing on a no dam solution. It was agreeing on what we could without taking into account the dam.

When this decision was made we determined that we had to do the research necessary to determine if a culvert based solution was workable or not.

I personally always felt it was not feasible, but given many did and given the State wide outrage against the dam, the work had to be done to prove it one way or the other.The trouble was when this was commenced it was seen by a group known as Save Our Streets as selling them down the creek as it where. It would have been irresponsible for the Councils not to undertake this work.

And now as we examine the prospect of what may be able to be done to the creek itself and I note that some work was always going to have to be done to the creek, whatever else was done, a third group is up in arms. They too have indicated they believe we are using them to avoid a dam.

And if I read the letter to the editor correctly there is a belief out there that this exercise is about saving money. We will have to wait and see on that one. I would not mind betting (not that i am a betting man) that we may see the costs escalate.

I feel for all the members of all three groups. They have their own environment to protect and good on them.

What I do say is the 5 Councils will continue to do the research they need to determine what is the BEST solution. And as we do I encourage members of all 3 groups to put your case forward as your input is invaluable as part of the research into the most suitable solution.

As we (the 5 Councils) await the next stage of finding an appropriate solution) I wonder what the cos will be and I wonder how this will compare with the costs to society of a 100 year flood. I ponder this because the cost to do the project appears to me to be escalating and with new flood data suggesting the 100 year flood will not be as significant as first thought (thanks to new data available from the Bureau of Meteorology) the potential flood damage costs would appear to be reducing.

Interesting?

Dammed if we do, Dammed if we Don’t

With the 5 Brownhill Creek Councils now investigating what impact clearing the actual creek itself and maybe carrying out works in some sections to improve the flow we have some residents believing that we are selling them short again.

Some time ago when Unley Council determined it would be appropriate to explore if there were options worth considering as alternatives to the dam up in Brownhill Creek some of our residents accused us of selling them out.

On that occasion we alerted residents that we would do some work on exploring the effectiveness of culverts. I voted for this even though I felt it would not be found to be practical. I envisaged the potential was that there would be widespread significant tree removal in Unley to save the 5 up in Brownhill Creek and if this was the case then I simply would not be able to support a no dam solution.

It was the sort of project that warranted engineering input however before going out to consultation to those that residents that would be affected. Before this design concept work could be finished the word got out as to what was being investigated and we got into trouble for not having consulted first.

This time round we need the knowledge that each of the property owners along the creek have accumulated before getting into any engineering design. So what was the reaction of some people. We are hiding our true intent because we are not sharing the engineering.

Interestingly we shared thoughts with three distinct group along our section of the creek last Saturday and we had three entirely different communications.

Community engagement is forever a challenge in that what level of contribution do we invite our residents to contribute. In my short time on Council I have seen often that at the same consultation some people will claim we should have done more work first and others, sitting at the same table, saying we should have involved them earlier.

It is with this background that I try to attend all public workshop/forums because I truly believe I will be better informed about what needs to be considered than I will reading a report written by one of our officers in the lead up to a Council meeting.

And in the last two weeks I have attended four such forums, all involving residents in my Ward, including:

Goodwood Oval improvement plan
Millswood park Improvement Plan
The Brownhill Creek clearance concept
DPA 2

So dammed if we do, dammed if we don’t. And all because of a dam.

Brownhill Creek in the News (again)

Paul Ashenden writing for the Eastern Courier last week says one thing he would love to see in 2014 is the end to flood plan saga. Me too!

While we may agree I wonder if he has an appreciation as to why it has taken this long. Getting to the point where the project can commence has been a long drawn out process. But then so are most council initiatives I have learnt in my time on Council.
It commenced long before I stated on Council and picked up pace during my time. Irrespective of that however it has gone slowly, taking 12 months to determine the feasibility of the use of culverts in order to address the concerns of a state wide petition against damming any area up in Brownhill Creek.
As a regular reader of my posts would be aware of the problems we have faced trying to move it forward to a point of decision. You would also be aware that we have now more information and better quality information that may allow us to get to the magic point of getting work done on the ground.

Indeed I have advanced where we are now in two posts, just yesterday and Saturday.
He has raised good points though.
Interestingly one of the biggest critics of the Councils trying to negotiate our own self-interest is the Sate Government, who with their Federal counterparts, have yet to commit the funding they have verbally promised.
As I have indicated in recent posts I believe we may be close to being able to go out to the public, so that may all just be ancient history.
That is not to say that after public consultation that the 5 Councils will come to an agreement.
Pauls says in his article
But surely the time has come for resolution. The people living in the 7000 at-risk homes deserve it.
So maybe the State Government needs to show some leadership rather than throw stones. Of course we may have a new one in 9 weeks’ time. Interesting times ahead.

Ridge Park Hits Dam Wall and shows why Brownhill Creek resolution hard to achieve

Renowned ecology expert Dr Ian Overton, of Myrtle Bank, has lodged an appeal with the Environment, Resources and Development Court against Council’s plan for the dam in Unley’s largest open space, a project which he says will destroy the creek area of the park, one of the last remaining natural creek settings on the Adelaide Plain.


In November, our Development Assessment Panel (comprising only the 4 independent members) approved a major flood project incorporating a mitigation dam in Unley’s Ridge Park. Council’s Elected Member representatives (including myself) were unable to participate in the debate because of a conflict of interest.
So while the State Government has made overtones about the 5 Councils of the Brownhill creek project not getting their acts together and threatening to take the project over Unley moves ahead in good faith with what they can do without the input of the others and bang; we hit the dam wall.
I have no doubt that similar action could be taken, either by those wanting no dam in Brownhill Creek, or those in the streets of Unley that could see culverts decimate heir streets.
The first meeting of the two parties is scheduled for January 20th. If there is no agreement then it may go to a hearing. I will, as a member of Council and as a member of our DAP, be watching this with interest.
I have heard that there are many who are concerned that the dam’s construction could cause the death of a 300-year-old River Red Gum within a short distance of the rock dam. I believe Dr Overton shares this concern.
As I mentioned in a recent post I suggested maybe the Government should make good their threat to take it over. It is a project of such size and magnitude and with such importance to much of the Adelaide Metropolitan area that they should have in the first place.
Of course, given the approach the Government took with the Rail Revitalisation project and their decide and defend approach, the contents of this blog post would be obsolete.