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.

Sturt FC – Record put straight

After some frustration over this last year as noted in previous posts on this blog site about the future of Sturt FC at Unley Oval I took pleasure in reading a letter from Sturt’s CEO Matt Benson on one of my colleagues (Mike Hudson) blog sites.

Again I say that hopefully we can get on with the business of creating a master plan for Unley Oval, a master plan for all the users of this facility.

The letter…

Hi Mike,
Happy for you to put the following on your blog…
“The Sturt Football Club has been part of Unley for 111 years and wants to be part of it for the next 111 years. In the last two decades there has been acrimony between the club and some residents – we wish that wasn’t the case. The reality is that Sturt are not moving – we do not wish to move to Mt Barker or Wayville – but we wish to play 2 (two)_ games ONLY under lights at Norwood Oval. Unley Oval is our home. The club had virtually no option in the 1980′s but to move to Adelaide Oval for league games due to a (SANFL) ground rationalization strategy and significant financial pressure – the club however continued to be based, to train and to play junior games at Unley. Is Port Power’s home AAMI Stadium or Alberton Oval? Please understand that the media will always endeavor to fire up a debate – we are coincidentally dealing today with a fictitious headline that the Adelaide Football Club (the Crows) are taking us over. This is untrue. This is an unfortunate story on the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings – where we lost two club stalwarts.
Mike Hudson has kindly offered me this opportunity – to place a comment on his blog page. I can therefore confirm unequivocally:
1. The club wishes to be part of Unley and Unley Oval for the next 111 years.
2. The club obviously supports the opportunity to contribute to a planning process that aims to significantly improve our facilities at Unley Oval;
3. The club does not expect the Council to wholly pay for any upgrade, but wishes to work with the Council and other stakeholders to achieve funding and a mutually beneficial result.
4. The club believes that the Unley Oval should be a premium sporting facility that is uniquely available to the community when not being used for sport.
5. The club uses half of its 700 hour annual occupation of Unley Oval for junior development programs – fact;
6. The club’s senior teams use Unley oval for approximately 350 hours per year – fact;
7. The club has a core (bank) debt of approx $2.2m which it is working to extinguish.
I respect Mike’s passion re the Unley Oval and its availability to residents. I have always however been miffed at the conflicting message re negativity about Sturt’s departure from Unley Oval for league games on the one hand (which resulted in the current layout and I assume is welcomed), and the somewhat aggressive approach in the defense of the layout that has resulted. Isn’t Sturt’s enforced departure in the 1980′s therefore a good thing? No? Yes? I am confused.
The Sturt Football Club will not steal your children – or have your kidney taken out in the middle of the night!! The club is part of Unley – wishes to work with our neighbours, wants the best for its players and members, and is focused on continuing as a positive and generous member of the local community. No cards up any sleeves- NONE! Of course we would be derelict in our duty not to want the best for our great and proud club- but our view is that we are all in this together!
Thanks, Mike, once again – let’s work together on improving Unley Oval for everyone, as a community — because Sturt aren’t going anywhere”.
Matt Benson.

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.

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.

Picket Fences around Unley Oval


Will picket fences be considered under a yet to be commenced Master Plan for Unley Oval or will they sneak in through the back door before the plan starts.

This is effectively what is on the line when Council debates on Monday night (at …. don’t forget….. Goodwood Community Centre) a trial of fencing in isolated locations around the Oval in the coming months.

At their recent meeting the Unley Oval Advisory Group felt it might be a good idea to trial fencing around the oval (in sections only) to gauge how well they may work to address OHSW concerns of Sturt FC.  It was also felt by the group that it would give Council an opportunity to gauge how well received fencing may or may not be by the residents who use the area when organised sporting activities are not being conducted on the ground.

There has been widespread media attention to Sturt’s “need” for picket fencing.

The trial however will be using the fencing that is currently erected each home game and herein lies what I believe, as a member of the Unley Oval Advisory Group, was the real impetus behind considering such a trial.
 Our management responsible for erecting and dismantling the fencing for these home games (yes this is done at our cost, not Sturt’s) are concerned at the age of the fencing and the logistics of conducting this exercise, on weekends. Having enough staff to be available is proving a concern to our management and as we approach the time when we must make a decision to replace this temporary fencing because it is no longer usable we are being faced with a need to consider whether we should continue to use temporary fencing at cost to our ratepayers or come up with another solution.
In accepting these concerns it is not unreasonable for the Advisory Group to make the suggestion they have to Council and I support that right.
I have a serious concern however, as a Councillor that the timing of this is inappropriate in that it should not be done without first having been considered as part of the Master Planning for this facility. It is simply wrong to make decisions about new or changed infrastructure before Master Planning is carried out.
As the Master Planning is not ready yet to commence I will be encouraging Council to not proceed even though I am a member of the group proposing it.

Let’s get into the Master Planning, which will address the needs of ALL the clubs using the Oval and surrounds AND importantly the residents who use it as well.


PS   I will report the decision made on Monday night as soon as I am able so watch this space.

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.