Kelvin Avenue & A challenge re transparency

The Kelvin Avenue pocket park was approved last night at Council’s City & Strategy Committee meeting. It now goes to full council next week for sanction, unless an elected member reserves it out for further debate.

Last night was also another chapter in my education as a councillor. Having had conversations with so many of the residents over this issue I voted as I promised everyone I would, in keeping with the majority view I encountered.  This was in favour of the park.
I not only voted in favour of the park I moved the motion, albeit modified from the one recommended by council’s administration. It made sense to me to find a solution to address the legitimate concerns of those not in favour of the pocket park.
That was to add to the motion a call to assess and address the ability of Mills street and George Street to feed into East Avenue until such time as we hopefully find East Avenue is no longer a through road for the southern rat runners. It appears that this confused the elected members more than provide a solution focus to the problems identified by residents as concerns with the Pocket Park.
As reported in earlier blogs on Kelvin Avenue (6 June – in particular items 3 & 4), Mills Street (8 August) East Avenue Rail Crossing ( 27 June) & Line Marking (18 June), issues do exist with accessibility, particularly in Mills Street and I intend to pursue this anyway as a separate stand-alone issue by putting a motion on notice in keeping with the amendments I tried to establish last night.
Suggestions were made last night challenging the transparency of our processes shocked and confused not only Councillors Koumi and Saies, as new members of council, but it did me as well. This prompts me to want to investigate more fully our consultation processes because when faced with the next decision I must make (and beyond) I need to be sure I have the facts necessary to make an informed decision. This I will do.
It raises in my mind how we determine who gets surveyed and who does not. In this case the geographical area of the original survey for consideration of the “pocket” park may well have been a reasonable area in context of the park and what it will provide the community but the geographical area for a road closure must be different as those affected grows.

Unley still the way to go

Come and join the fun on King William Road on Saturday morning.
Have a bite to eat, have a coffee or a latte and watch the start of this years SA Variety Bash.

Yes the boys and girls in their weird costumes and their even weirder cars will be gathering from early int he morning ready to head bush and hopefully return 8 days later.

Yes come and give them the send off they deserve as they look to raise funds yet again for children’s charities.

For further information visit http://www.variety.org.au/SA/WHATS-ON/Bash/

Protecting our HERITAGE Buildings

Part of my election campaigning centred on protecting Unley’s heritage and in particular its buildings.

Once elected I was fortunate enough to find myself as a member of our Development Assessment Panel (DAP). This provided me with a direct opportunity to live up to my promises. I have enjoyed this role in the short time I have been on the panel, although as I think back on it has already been 9 months. Wow!

As a building inspector by day I bring a unique viewpoint to the DAP wherein I can interpret some of the jargon that is used in development applications that others may not. This provides me an opportunity to question information provided when an applicant is requesting approval to demolish one of our precious homes.

I exercised this last month when the report provided did not convince me that the only course of action reasonable with a particular home was to demolish it. By putting a motion that we seek an independent assessment of the building I provided us with a chance of protecting something that need not have gone under the wreckers processes.

As it has turned out this house, vide the report we commissioned, has serious defects that I am now happy means we cannot avoid demolition. For this reason I acknowledged at the last DAP meeting that I was the one that held it up and that I was happy to move the motion for demolition.

The citizens of the City of Unley can rest assured that all that could be done was done. We do have to acknowledge unfortunately that this is the only option with some houses and that we have a process that ensures that only those that should will.

Aroha Terrace

The Aroha Terrace reconstruction is nearing completion.
It is looking particularly good and I have received a number of compliments from residents, which I have passed onto Council Staff responsible for this project.

The remaining line marking (missed due a parked vehicle) on the northern side and cut offs on the southern side will be installed by the end of this month

Consultation with a number of residents between Laught Avenue and East Avenue have or will be consulted on time limit parking scheduled.

Council Staff have also collected data recently on traffic speed along this road and found speed to be similar to that recorded back in March 2009-85% speed was 48.6 km/h. Both surveys were based on similar and significant traffic counts. This information has been passed onto SAPOL.

A protuberance required near either Selkirk or Gray Street (where road widens) to slow traffic is being investigated for either local narrowing or alternatively a section of median followed. Current observatiosn suggets it may not be needed however. 

Inner Rim and the Sword of Damocles

A short while ago the Government through Minister Rau publicized their draft inner rim projections.

The draft was in direct contrast to what we (Council) had been working on with the DPLG and what we understood they (DPLG) were happy to accept from us. It sent alarm bells to many elected members, as I am sure it did our residents, that our previous efforts had therefore been to no avail. It felt like they were holding the Sword of Damocles over our heads.

This draft had identified infill in our character areas which was contrary to our DPA approach.

What I can now say is that most of our issues have been listened to and appropriate changes made. 

All the infill areas identified in that first draft have been removed and the areas reinstated as character areas. Our administration hopes to iron out the remaining differences before presenting a report to Council, hopefully in September.

So it looks like all that effort we have put into this and the assistance we have received from our residents and rate payers and other interested parties will not have been to no avail.

Don’t forget too that it goes back to you for more input once the Government indicates they are favourable to what has been produced.

Electricification of Noarlunga Rail Line Update

With the recent news about problems with DTEI and trees on the rail track down in Brighton it is timely for us to review where we are with our own efforts to ensure we are heard before the electrification of the line proceeds.

I can report we appear still on track, as I reported back in June, to have the community consultation we are expecting with DTEI, which you may remember as being scheduled for September.

Anyone keen to participate in this process I encourage to respond below or email me.

We want to have as much control as we can over this project for obvious reasons.

Smoking in Public Places

Well done to my Goodwood South partner, Jennie Boisvert.

It seems that then State Government is about to introduce legislation to ban smoking in covered public transport areas and within 10 metres of play equipment. When introduced, this will give councils the ability to declare smoke free areas.
As this unfolds I will keep you informed.

Want to put your point to Kate Ellis

For anyone interested in seeking to put their concerns to their Federal Member of Parliament, Kate Ellis she is holding “street corner” meetings next Saturday, the 13th August.

Kate will be at the following locations to meet with residents:

10:30am – Forestville Reserve, Ethel Street, Forestville
11:30am Dora Gild Playground, Churchill Avenue, Clarence Park

Kate looks forward to seeing you there and answering questions you amy have concerning her role as you representative in the Federal Government. If her past session are any indication there will also be a representative of the State Government present to deal with issues you may have with them

I personally will be attending at the very least the Dora Gild meeting to address nay concerns you may have with local government.

Page Park Toilet

A drive down East Avenue will confirm this has yet to happen.

Advice received earlier this week indicates we can expect something soon. I guess, as I continue to pursue the council administration, is watch this space. It will happen. As soon as I know more I will blog.

The question of providing playground equipment or fitness equipment is a way off yet.

Merlon Avenue to receive attention

In the never ending battle to prioritise the spending budget it looks like Merlon Avenue was missed.

My co councillor Jennie & I have responded to concerns raised by residents in this street in an attempt to put it back on the map.

The footpaths in Merlon Avenue are in need of attention and should realistically have been placed ahead of other streets in the City of Unley. The trees that have die or been removed for one reason or another have also yet to be replaced.  

After an on location meeting thsi week with the new manager of the Depot we believe that we will see the following action.

1                     The remaining tree that appears should be removed will finally be assessed.
2                     With a touch of luck the tree replacement program may yet be completed this winter as    we believe (and residents concur) was promised.
3                     The footpath and the kerb on the southern will be repaired under our current maintenance budget very soon.
4                     With new funding arrangements possible next year we hope to see the a complete makeover of this street in the 2012/13 budget.
This is what your local elected member is there for you. To go to bat for you and ensure as well as we can you don’t get lost in the system. Let’s see how we go with this one. Watch this space.

The Personal Challenge of Our Mayor

All of us, whether ratepayers, staff, or elected members have been alarmed, confused and concerned at the recent news of the arrest of our Mayor, Lachlan Clyne.

The events of this week clearly have distracted us but I sense we will be able to move forward now that the intensity of the involvement of the press has died down. I certainly hope so.

There have been some come out in support of the Mayor and there have been also some who believe the mayor should be sacked or resign. This is to be expected. Part of the confusion I noted above that I have seen from interested people centres on this very question.

In respect of being sacked it is my understanding from legal briefings received as follows:

1.      that, as we all know, a person is innocent until proven guilty in our criminal justice system,
2.      that the Mayor is afforded this same right,
3.      that Lachlan Clyne was elected and not appointed to the position of Mayor.
4.      that the only way he can be removed given this is if he is found guilty of a criminal offence.

Whether he is guilty or not is not our concern until such time as a verdict is handed down. It is his own personal business. Until such time therefore as he is found guilty and this should not be presumed as a fait accompli, he retains the position, unless he decides himself to step aside.

I also understand that the court process, if it takes its full course a result, one way or the other, is likely to be some 12 to 18 months ahead. It is important therefore that we all keep our heads and work toward making Unley the City we all want it to be. If we allow ourselves to be side tracked the opposite is likely to occur.
This clearly should apply to elected members. It needs to apply also to the management and staff of the council. If not the rate payers will suffer. I trust our rate payers will see this too and help us to make the City of Unley what it can be.

Back to Serve after illness to find Mayor has problems

Sorry!

I have been missing for a few weeks with a significant bout of bronchitis/asthma which actually put me in hospital for one day during that period.

Unfortunately this period of sickness meant that I missed the July meeting of the City & Strategy Committee and the full Council meeting.

I am back now and attended last weeks Clarence Park Community Centre Board of Management.

As soon as I can devote some time, maybe tonight or tomorrow I will provide an update of what is happening in Council, including yesterday’s news that The Mayor had been arrested for activities surrounding the election sin last November.

The Mayor has publicly announced (yesterday) that he is innocent of all the charges and that he will be defending the charges. I expect to find out more about his predicament in due course. Please remember everyone that he is, as is the case in our legal system, innocent until proven guilty.

East Avenue Rail Crossing

A couple of months ago an East Avenue resident brought to my attention that she had noticed cars banking across the rail lines in East Avenue at peak hour. She naturally was concerned at the safety risk potential of this.

As the picture shows, with traffic lined up all the way down to Aroha Terrace and the Tram line, this car is lucky there is no train coming, or is there?

I can now say that the Department of Transport, Energy & Infrastructure (DTEI) will investigate my request for yellow box markings on the crossing to discourage vehicles from queuing over tracks, and will also investigate loose rail at level crossing (which I noted in my blog of 6 June).

Canterbury Terrace Boardwalk

Is the Canterbury Terrace Boardwalk the answer to a problem or a problem in it’s own right?

Prior to my joining Council I understand that many residents in Canterbury Terrace and in Byron Road were concerned about the traffic ability of the footway to the south of the Clarence Park Railway Station entrance. They were concerned that the exposed tree roots prevented safe movement through this section of footway.

As a local and having avoided walking this section myself I fully understand that this needed to be addressed.

Did Council come up with the correct solution?
Based on complaints I have received from residents it appears not.

Our administration, on my request, have examined the structure and they consider it is not DDA compliant. I concur with their assessment and have, given my wife must use a scooter to get around, felt this way since it was first erected.


It fails the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)on at least two counts.

It is not wide enough to allow scooters or wheelchairs or Mothers with pushers to pass. The ramps at either end are way to steep also to allow access onto the ramp. The access to the northern end is also too close to the railway station entrance get to allow for turning circles.

Given this pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities, are forced to cross the road for safe passage along Canterbury Terrace noting that the footway on the East Avenue side of the railway entrance remains impassible.

Crossing the road is the real issue here (I would have thought) in as much as there is no clear vision of oncoming traffic to allow confident crossing over the road.

Where to from here?

Council’s administration will include further investigation into this area as part of the traffic management investigation into Byron Road and surrounds that I have previously blogged about.

Your input! I would love to hear your thoughts about the success or otherwise of the boardwalk and suggestions you may have for alternative solutions.

Let’s make our local environment a truly safe one!


30 Year Plan and traffic

I attended a workshop last night with representatives from the DPLG and with the Integrated Design Commission bringing Council up to date with the Governments progress with the Inner rim strategy, which is of prime interest to the City of Unley.

 As I pointed out to them one of the major concerns expressed by residents of Unley and indeed other inner council area is how will we deal with the increased traffic that must flow from increased property density. They recognised and acknowledged this feedback.

 It sounds like we may not have as big an issue as we think in Unley in 10 or 20 years. In increasing the density of the inner suburbs in favour of pushing the suburbs of Adelaide further North and South may actually assist our traffic woes. An interesting concept!

If I hear correctly they will not be pushing Adelaide any further South as to do so would destroy one of the world’s premier wine districts, McLaren Vale.

Although I do not remember hearing how they intend to but they are also looking to encourage the creation of jobs where the development is to occur OR vice versa. The theory of this it appears is there will not be the need to commute as much as is the case now???

These two strategies may therefore actually reduce through traffic flow in our streets and IF they can develop a public transport system that the public will buy into we may have reason to rejoice – a pedestrian friendly road network in Unley.

What I can say is they are working on the strategies right now, will hold some forums in the next couple of months on this and other issues that the public have identified and that they will be seeking public consultation on their modelling later this year.

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And I understand that when they come back for further consultation on the development plan amendments we are working on that the public will be provided with some 3D imagery to help us all better evaluate what is on offer.

With hope that I have heard and understood correctly I suggest you watch this space. Don’t forget also to post your comments on this blog site or go to the Unley website