Planning & Design Code is now up to the Government

The South Australian Community has spoken. Our local (Black Forest & Clarence Park) community has spoken. And boy did we locals speak. The Planning & Design Code is now up to the Government.

 

Planning & Design CodeI am proud of my local community, my neighbours. We have taken the trouble to understand how the draft Planning & Design Code would impact on us if adopted. In other words, we took the trouble to be informed.

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As a result, we took the trouble to contribute to the conversation. To respond to the Government’s public consultation process, which has now come to an end.

I am proud to have taken the lead in this, along with Jennie. To ensure you were informed. Just part of my election commitment to provide local leadership and work for you.

I am proud also of how we found a small army of volunteers to spread the word. We could not have achieved the response rate we did without them. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Council too, has down its bit. They have provided an in depth analysis with recommendations for improvement.

We’ve done our bit. Now it is up to the Government, through DPTI and the SA Planning Commission. Fortunately, they have made a start by extending the implementation date.

They had no choice. There is a significant amount of work to unpack the observations made by all of us. They have committed to publicly advising what they have heard. Once they have done this they must make amendments to the draft that they recognise is necessary.

The challenge for them will be satisfying us that we have a workable Code. A Code we all can work with. One that does not destroy neighbourhoods, but one that permits appropriate development with a simple easy to use system for gaining development approvals.

This, at the end of the day, was the original goal.

Page Park Turf Turmoil investigated ahead of two major scheduled reviews

Users of the Park would be well aware of the Page Park Turf Turmoil. In recent years the turf in the much loved and much used park has deteriorated.

This has been evident in the dormant growth season of the Kikuyu grass.

 

Poor Page Park DivetIt has, over that time, deteriorated to a point that I believe requires attention. As reported back then, it prompted me to move a motion on notice in Council back in August of last year. The motion; to investigate the cause of the turf disintegration at Page Park and identify possible solutions to rectify the disintegration.

Council resolved unanimously, in favour of my motion.

I was mindful when moving that motion that Council has two pivotal reviews scheduled for 2020. In other words, the information resulting from the investigation would inform those reviews.

The first of these is a review of our Parks & Gardens Strategy. The second a review of our Dog & Cat Management Strategy. With Page Park being widely used these days for dog exercising, it is timely to investigate causes of and identify remedies for the condition of the turf.

IPOS Consulting Pty Ltd presented a report to Council at our last meeting. The report addressed the Page Park Turf Turmoil. A full copy can be found here under item 4.4 of the Council Agenda.

 

In essence, the report identified two major contributors to the deterioration that has occurred. The first contributor is the recent increase in use of the park during the dormant growth season of the Kikuyu grass. The second is ageing and under-performing water reticulation infrastructure.

 

The consultants identified a need for an upgrade of the reticulation system. For the use the park is experiencing they also recommended an increased maintenance regime. While their recommendation will give the grass every opportunity to improve they confirmed it may not be the answer.

In other words, if the quality of the turf remains an issue following an upgrade of the irrigation, use of the park may need to be considered. Accordingly, it may then be necessary to limit the times and days in which dogs are permitted to be off-leash within the park.

Finally we agreed that, until the two previously mentioned reviews are completed, we should refrain from taking immediate action. Rather than commit to increased expenditure, we will simply maintain the current maintenance.

Now we await the scheduled reviews into our parks & gardens and the dog & cat management.

 

 

Black Forest & Clarence Park speak up.

Watch as the rate payers of Black Forest & Clarence Park speak up against a false promise by the Minister for Planning.

 

The Minister (Stephan Knoll) and the Chair of the State Planning Commission (Michael Lennon) have publicly suggested by inference that their current Council Development zone RB350 will be transitioned with little or no change in to the new Planning & Design Code. The ratepayers are only too aware however of the significant differences that are and that this is NOT FACT. Differences highlighted in my blog post of 16 December.

PDC Public Meeting

Residents attending Black Forest/Clarence Park PDC Public Meeting

Around 100 people attended a meeting held by my Co-Councillor & I. Many more have also attended house meetings I spoke at.  I have, as I am sure Jennie has, spoken one on one with many others. Even more have learned by word of mouth.

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PDC in Black Forest

Residents attending Black Forest/Clarence Park PDC Public Meeting

The community is engaged. They have responded to my blog post of 8 January among other things. As a result, they are likely to inundate the Department, with expressions of feedback. Likewise the Minister.

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Thanks to my in-depth analysis noted in my 16 December blog, they are aware of the changes. An analysis that 95% of people simply would not be able to do for themselves.

The community is frustrated. Many, believing they are being targeted, are incensed at the Government.

Some believe these changes are deliberate. Others, like me, believe it is just dumb stupidity. Either way,  the result is the same. It is indeed enough for the rate payers of Black Forest & Clarence Park speak up and be heard. It is likewise enough to unseat this Government if what we are experiencing is occurring on mass elsewhere.

Their submissions will add depth of voice to Council’s own submission to the Department, and our lobbying behind the scenes. The Government will surely see that the Community is backing up their Council.

Look to another blog post soon covering Council’s response.

If You Don’t Speak Up Suffer the Consequences

Suffer the consequences if you don’t speak up. That is what is facing you right now if you live in Black Forest. It also applies if you live in Clarence Park west of East Avenue or a small section fronting Goodwood Road.

 

Suffer the ConsequencesFrom you ask. From the possible replacement of current housing stock with not just 2 for 1 but 3 for 1 or worse. Developments such as the one in the adjacent photo. From 60’s style flats.

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The Government is seeking public comment on their new Planning & Design Code. The Code, a single document, will replace all current 72 Council Development Plans. Future development in our streets will be judged on this Code.

So what. The Minister has given public assurances that the zones in the old Council Plan will be transitioned into the new Code without change.

 

Sorry Minister. You are mistaken.

 

The zone called RB350 in the City of Unley Development Plan is NOT being transitioned without change. It has significant, negative change which can’t surely have been intended on your part.

Thinking about it, transitioning 72 equivalent RB350 (or the like) zones can’t possibly be achieved without change. The numerical date in each of these plans differs. Rolling them into one therefore cant be achieved without change occurring.

 

In the case of Black Forest & Clarence Park, that change is dramatic. It is so dramatic we all need to speak up against it. If we don’t we will suffer the consequences.

 

Suffer the ConsequencesYou will be receiving a flyer in your letter box in the very near future seeking you to help us help you protect the amenity of our neighbourhood.

I have also been speaking to as many of my neighbours, from both suburbs, to explain the extent and the gravity of what is proposed. I have explained to each of these people what I see is the simply answer to the challenge we face.

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Please pass this blog post onto your neighbours and contact me so I can explain to you what this is all about. It will take approximately an hour so to do during which time I can give you case studies of what might happen. I can give you guidance as to what the solution is and what you can do, and trust me, it is simple.

Please also come along to the Clarence Room in the Clarence Park Community Centre at 7.00 pm on Friday 24th January where Jennie and I will present further, answer questions and guide you on what you can do.  

Tell the Government what you think of the new Planning & Design Code.

It is your turn, and it is important and urgent you do, to tell the Government what you think of the new Planning & Design Code.

 

Much has been said about the Planning & Design Code (PDC) in the last 12 months. To keep you informed, I have posted numerous blog posts on the subject.

In previous blog posts I questioned the Minister’s assurance that the PDC will simply transfer like for like from 68 council development plans into the new single code. We have heard they will maintain demolition controls that exist in historic and character areas.

This has been achieved in Unley, to a large degree, albeit inconsistently.

The Clarence Park Ward (west of East Avenue) however is not looking to fare as well.  With no similar protections as the rest of Unley we are vulnerable.

I have spent many an hour deciphering the code since it was finally published a couple of months back. In so doing I have found some alarming quantitative changes.

Changes that will see a potential significant increase in density where you live. Changes that with the allowing for “minor” variations as being acceptable, could see 3 houses where there are now only one.

If you want to protect the integrity of the area you live in you must speak now. The amenity of your suburb/street could change forever as a result of changes that ARE being proposed for your area.

If you don’t you could experience what residents along Fullarton Road have recently experienced. Your opportunity is now. It will be too late if you wait until a development is proposed for next door.

You have until the end of February to do this.

Jennie & I will strategize this Saturday morning (21 December) about how we might share what we have learnt and help you provide a submission with substance.

We are having a coffee at Rise & Grind and will be there between 10.00 am and noon if you want to come and learn some more sooner rather than later.

Option 5 No Change A Winner Highlighting Unanimous Approval for LATM 3.

Option 5 No Change a Winner as Council unanimously supported the the final recommendations on the recent Clarence Park LATM 3.

 

LATM map for Clarence ParkA resolution by Council that is owned by everyone. That is the result of the recent Clarence Park Local Area Traffic Management Survey LATM 3. The big news last night was: Option 5 no change a Winner.

LATM 3, as noted in my blog post titled Draft Clarence Park LATM awaits your final input, addressed concerns around traffic in Clarence Park. Council last night unanimously supported the final recommendations provided by our staff.

During the debate Cr Jane Russo complemented Jennie & I on the work we personally did with you and our staff. This was unexpected, but appreciated.

The fact of the matter is we all need congratulating. You, the staff and Jennie & I. We all contributed positively to what I believe is a great solution.

A number of you identified the problems. Our staff back up your concerns with data they collected. We went back out to you to confirm we were on the right track.

Those of you who had concerns appreciated the options we put in front of you. Those who did not participate last year wondered why we were putting solutions in front of them for problems that did not believe existed. By engaging with each other, this was soon understood.

19 recommendations over the whole local area were made, one which was additional to the original list.  As a result of your input, some changes were made. Some remained the same.

The biggest change by far was the change to option 4. We split recommendation 4 into two parts. A stand-alone Mills Street recommendation and a south of Mills Street option.

The latter of the two saw an additional option become apparent. On that night and suggested by me in response to what I was hearing saw an additional option emerge. Enter Option 5 no change a Winner. Given this was the overwhelming response, it was adopted.

Mills Street, on the other hand, will see the biggest changes. The number of approved infrastructure recommendations should make life much better for the residents of that street.

Many of the recommendations will be completed in the current budget. Some, like the two pedestrian refuges and the Mills Street infrastructure changes will require a budget bid for next year (2020-2021).

For more detailed information check out page 8 through page 108 of the agenda which can be found here.

 

Poor Page Park. In Need of Love and Attention

Much loved Page Park is today a poor park. A park in need of love and attention.

Poor Page Park TurfA well used park, as are all in the City of Unley, it has seen some dramatic change in activity in recent years. Corresponding to this change in activity the condition of the turf has deteriorated.

 

 

So concerned am I about the condition, I moved a motion on notice this week at Council. The motion read.

A report be prepared for the November 2019 Council meeting regarding
the condition of the turf at Page Park, including:
– An assessment of causes of disintegration;
– Possible solutions to rectifying disintegration.

We have seen families picnic under the trees, kids kicking (in the past) footballs. Others shooting rings on the recently updated basketball ring. Members of the community have likewise taken advantage of the outdoor gym provided at this location. Tennis is played at the adjacent bitumen paved public tennis courts.

More recently (since the fencing off and the later provision of self closing gates) it has become a favourite venue for exercising dogs.

 

Sparse Turf at Page ParkUntil the last two winters the turf and the general condition under foot has been no different to other parks in the City of Unley. The last two years, by my observation, the turf has deteriorated dramatically.

 

There are significant sections/areas with no turf. Poor Page Park DivetThere are also a number of divots in the ground. If there is any presence of rain the affected areas are quite slippery. This combination presents in my opinion as a work health safety concern.

 

 

Council has been concerned for a few seasons now about the condition of nearby Goodwood Oval. A current comparison however between the two facilities would suggest Goodwood Oval to be in very good condition, notwithstanding the pounding it would get from the sprigs of footballers.

Although the reason for the deterioration is not apparent, the numerous divots can probably be considered as the result of dogs digging. Given it is worse than Goodwood Oval and unsafe when wet I believe it timely to request an investigation and report.

Council backed my motion unanimously. This gives poor Page Park and chance to look forward to improved health, whatever use it accommodates in the future.

 

Draft Clarence Park LATM awaits your final input

The Draft Clarence Park LATM, which is in response to your observations last year, awaits your final input. Please therefore, let us know your thoughts.

 

You should have received a letter from Council seeking your response to Draft Clarence Park LATM recommendations. To ensure we have the right solutions to the problems you identified, we need you to respond to this letter.

Draft Clarence Park LATM

Copy of Draft Clarence Park LATM letter

Please take the time to understand the solutions being offered, and have your say. Your contribution is important to us.

To assist you, there will also be a public meeting on Tuesday 30 July between 5-8 pm  at Clarence Park Community Centre where you can learn more and discuss the proposals with staff.

You can also read the full report at https://yoursay.unley.sa.gov.au/LATM3.

You can reply using the yoursay portal or by emailing council at [email protected] If you prefer you can use the good ol’ fashioned snail mail, or personally hand deliver it to the Unley Civic Centre.

Key areas of the Draft Clarence Park LATM identified in our ward are:

  • Pedestrian safety at the tram stop on East Ave and adjacent Rise & Grind
  • Rat running through Clarence Park
  • Cycling safety on Churchill Ave
  • Changing the traffic priority on the Ripon/ Homer/Lorraine Ave intersection
  • Improving disabled parking on Curzon Ave
  • Further parking restrictions in Chelmsford, Allenby, Fairfax and Argyle Avenues
  • Restricted parking at the entrance to Langdon Ave
  • Improving cycling and pedestrian safety in East Ave

If you have any thoughts on any of these please let us know. Once we receive your thoughts, we will review the LATM.

Council will take on board your thoughts. We will then consider ratifying the LATM, maybe in September, including any changes prompted by you.

Once ratified, high priority items will commence as early as later this year. Medium and low priority items will be considered in next year’s budget.

Millswood Croquet Cub is a Federal Election Winner

The Millswood Croquet Club is a Federal Election Winner. A special visitor was welcomed this morning at the club.

Nicolle Flint, the incumbent federal member for Boothby, paid the Millswood Croquet Club announced a re-elected Morrison Liberal Government will commit $ 250,000 toward upgraded facilities at the Club.

 

Millswood Croquet Club Grant Announcement

Millswood Croquet Club Grant Announcement

This announcement makes me feel proud. To hear that I have influenced one of the major candidates to commit to grant funding to the redevelopment of the Millswood Croquet Club club rooms if elected is encouraging.

It is a great feeling to see that your efforts in advocating for your local community brings results. This means I have now been able to successfully advocate for my local community, at both the State and now the Federal levels of Government. I therefore feel like a Federal Election Winner

I achieved this of course once before. That is when I lobbied State Labor member Jayne Stinson to provide grant moneys for the Goodwood Oval Clubroom redevelopment. To do so again, this time at Federal level, is certainly gratifying.

If the Morrison Liberal Government and Nicolle Flint are returned, the Millswood Croquet Club will be a Federal Election Winner.

Nicolle’s Media Release announcing the grant follows:

A re-elected Morrison Government will provide $250,000 to deliver upgraded facilities at
the Millswood Croquet Club.

Nicolle Flint said providing facilities to support local clubs and community groups was a key
priority for the Liberal and Nationals because of the significant benefits to the broader
community.

“Delivering upgraded facilities at the Millswood Croquet Club will support the Club’s existing
activities and cater for growing membership numbers,” Ms Flint said.

“The Millswood Croquet Club is a wonderful local Club where members of our community
can come to socialise and stay active, which we know is critical for healthy ageing.”
“I am so proud to support grassroots sport and community upgrades like this one”.
Federal funding for the Millswood Croquet Club upgrade is only possible because of the
Morrison Government’s plan for a stronger economy.

“Only the Liberals and Nationals have a proven track record when it comes to managing the
Budget,” Ms Flint said.

“By paying down debt and growing the economy, we can afford to deliver funding for
priorities in local communities such as upgrading the facilities at Millswood Croquet Club.

“This is all at risk under Labor and Bill Shorten who pose the greatest risk to Australia’s
economy in a generation with plans for $387 billion in new taxes on small and family
businesses, retirees, housing, income, investments, electricity and cars”.

 

Budget 2019 to be work shopped

Budget 2019 to be work shopped as that time of year in the life of Local Government approaches.

Rate CappingA new Council, a new year, a new budget. That is Unley in 2019 as we prepare for a budget that will set the scene for the immediate future. The result will be budget 2019.

Your new Council will deliberate on and workshop a number of initiatives in the coming weeks before settling on a short list. A short list we will then seek your thoughts on.

The challenge (as always) will be to provide for our community what we believe they need at a cost they can afford.

At our last Council meeting we resolved that we seek to limit the rate rise for budget 2019 to within 1% of CPI. While the last Council achieved this during their term it remains a challenge for the new Council.

There is much we will be seeking to absorb into this Budget 2019 target.

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

DesignKingWilliamAll in our community would be aware of our commitments to the Goodwood Oval Clubroom upgrade, to the redevelopment of King William Road and to Brownhill Creek. Not to mention the next stage of the Unley Oval redevelopment. All big ticket items, with a possibility I suggest of Goodwood Oval maybe going over budget.

How about advancing planning for the replacement of the Millswood Croquet Club. This is an initiative that Jennie and I are promoting as an elected member initiative.

We should see a project for improvements around the Village green precinct come into consideration too.

What about the multitude of environmental initiatives we strive for in Unley. This includes continuing and even increasing projects like the verge greening I have championed in the past. Water sensitive projects and what about the conversion of our street lighting to LED.

It includes also the same for our 2nd generation tree program. A responsible approach to removing trees that may be causing a nuisance to some in our community while increasing the canopy cover long term.

We will also be looking at the what recommendations will come out of the recent Clarence Park LATM.  East Avenue, like we have already identified with Leah Street might require some structural repairs in the very near future. We will also consider beautifying Leah Street given the need for extensive repairs.

And much more I suspect.

Please wish us well as we juggle all this into budget 2019.

 

 

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom receives planning approval.

The new Goodwood Oval Clubroom receives planning approval after a marathon hearing at this week’s Council Assessment Panel meeting.

I was again proud of the rate payers of the City of Unley Clarence Park Ward who provided representations. As with previous CAP representations the residents presented to the panel on planning issues.

They recognise that panel members must make  decisions based on the Development Act, Regulations and the Unley Development Plan. The arguments therefore that they presented to the panel respected this.

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

New Goodwood Oval Clubroom

The main focus of the representations centred not so much on the built form but the hours of use. They viewed the hours of operation in the application as excessive.

The panel, in turn, recognised the intrusion into the amenity of the area of excessive use. Approval, which was unanimous, was therefore conditioned upon a number of reductions in the extent of use. The reductions we not the result of the panel’s consideration however. They were the result of the applicant responding to concerns from the panel members.

Subject then to any appeal to the ERD Court, work can commence on preparing working drawings and calling tenders from builders.

This project has been a long time in the making. It will replace the old Grandstand with a new clubroom and change room suitable for sporting activity of the 21st Century. Activity that now includes female participation in both football and cricket.

The project has been on the drawing board since before I became a City of Unley Councillor back in 2010. It has evolved in that time from simply catching up with much needed maintenance and upgrade to a complete replacement. Female participation has been the major catalyst behind the approved design.

The Presidents of both the football club and the cricket club have since communicated to their members. I have sighted this correspondence. Correspondence that confirms the approval but which recognises that representors can appeal the decision to the ERD Court.

Both have reminded their members of the need to respect their neighbours when using the facility now and into the future. The Football Club President has also requested his members to appreciate and respect the right of representors to appeal.

Local Listening Post Invite

Residents of the Clarence Park ward of the City of Unley have been invited to the Local Listening Post convened by the current sitting member for your new Federal Seat.

As long as I have been one of your two local council representatives our Federal member Kate Ellis has held Street Meetings. At the next Federal election we will be voting in the seat of Boothby and not the seat of Adelaide.

Nicole Flint is the sitting member for Boothby and she will be conducting two (what she calls) local listening posts. They will be held next Sunday afternoon as follows:

  • 1.00 pm at Dora Guild Playground in Churchill Avenue, Clarence Park
  • 1.30 pm at the Goodwood Oval Playground.

As was the case with Kate’s session, Nicolle has indicated she would like to hear your views on local issues.

Nicolle Flint

Nicolle Flint

I encourage you take up that opportunity to come along.  Com along and meet her.

Tell her of your concerns or wishes Federally. One topic could be the diversion of the freight train as I identified in my blog post of October 4 last.

You can reinforce what I have already indicated to her. This includes that our concerns are not so much the economic benefit to South Australia but dealing with the following:

  1. the unsafe speed of the train now that the grade separation is complete.
  2. the cancer risk from the diesel fumes.
  3. the safety of person and property from a potential derailment.
  4. the safety crossing the line behind the bowling club
  5. the loss of the “dog track” between the bowling club and the Goodwood road “subway”
  6. Graffiti along the line

I will attend both meetings, as I used to with Kate’s street meetings to co-ordinate local government issues.

New look for Councils runs deeper than you might think

Most of us recognise that there is a new look for Councils. It runs very much deeper however than is being recognised.

Yes. As my last blog post undoubtedly shows, the new City of Unley will consist of 8 women and 5 men represents this new look for Councils. We all know this is a gender turnaround of significance. It redresses a historic gender imbalance.

This is a trend across local government. Complimenting this trend we see also many Mayoral positions now occupied by women.

There is no doubt that this will changes the dynamic of Council.

A more significant dynamic, as yet not recognised, is the spread of ages on this new Council. This Council has representatives, by my judgement, in each age decade from under 30’s to over 80’s.

This to me is a much bigger shift than the gender shift. The previous council had but two members under the age I suggest of 50.

The contribution to any debate is going to be much fuller than it has been in the two terms of Council I have been a member of. As my co-councillor has oft said the last Council could be describes as a grey haired, retired, gentleman’s club. That is a far cry from this new Council.

Cross gender input will provide depth to the debate. Cross generational input will provide even greater depth. A clear new look for Councils, at least this one as I predicted in my blog post of October 9.

Further than this the age demographic shows up yet another dynamic.

This Council and possibly the next Council history may show as transitional Councils. Councils leading to a generational change.

The final observation I believe with this Council is that those of us remaining from the previous Council/s have a significant obligation. It will be incumbent on us to provide leadership in helping the new members to develop into the Unley Communities next generation of leaders.

Your Clarence Park Ward Councillors provide this.

City of Unley 2018 Election Results

The provisional results for the City of Unley 2018 Election results are now known.

 

The following is list of the elected candidates for the City of Unley 2018 Election.

Mayor:                                            Cr Michael Hewitson

Ward Councillors:

              Clarence Park                  Cr Don Palmer & Councillor Jennie Boisvert.

              Goodwood                        Emmy Wright & Nicole Sheehan

              Fullarton                           Cr Peter Hughes & Jordan Dodd

              Parkside                            Cr Mike Hudson & Kay Anastassiadis

              Unley                                  Sue Dewing & Jane Russo

              Unley Park                       Cr Michael Rabbitt & Monica Broniecki

The results are provisional as we await a final declaration by the Electoral Commission. This will occur after the expiration of the period allowing challenges. This, in turn, I believe would be unlikely but??

Subject to the declaration this then will be your new Council. The Council you have elected.

This is a brand new council. It has 7 new faces, all female. The council itself has a gender balance in favour of female 8 to 5. This is also a council with a wide age range, with members spread evenly through all decades, 20’s through to 70’s.

Watch out for a subsequent blog about this changed dynamic and the opportunities it presents in the future.

Thank You, thank you, thank you.

Thank you to everyone for indicating your confidence, allowing me to continue providing local leadership and working for you. It is heart-warming to receive your support.

More than this though, it is a great responsibility to represent you in local government.

Yes. Thank you.

Thank YouI thank all those who voted for me and those who chose to vote but did not vote for me. You both exercised your right to vote. You also showed your own leadership by accepting the responsibility to vote.

I received 410 of the 1355 votes cast by Clarence Park ratepayers. This is marginally less than what was required for a quota (429) in its own right on 1st preferences. Clarence Park ratepayers voted slightly more than the state average.

I thank also and especially that small band of volunteers who helped me with my campaign. Those who walked the streets for me delivering election flyers. Those also who scrutineer-ed for me. And to those who encouraged me during the process.

As your re-elected member of Council I will be working for all of you, whether you voted for me or not. I will be working for you whether or not you voted.

It is now time for me to celebrate my re-election. I will do this privately in the comfort of my own home and with my family. It won’t be a big celebration though as I reflect and focus on the responsibility you have bestowed on me.

For me, I am preparing my to do list as we speak in readiness to advance your interests in keeping with my many commitments. The commitments announced to you in this forum that have preceded this blog post.

I will post a blog as soon as I am able to report the makeup of the next Council.

Again. Thank You.

Influencing the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways

While the local government elections proceed and we are in caretaker mode, I am still out there working for you. In particular, I am contributing to Council’s response to the Government’s proposed Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

As the Government’s reform package does not wait on Council elections it becomes difficult for elected members to have influence over the debate. That has not stopped me however.

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I am offering opinions in two current planning areas that impact on you.  They are the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

Accredited Professionals Scheme

In my opinion, the Accredited Professionals Scheme is sadly lacking and is fraught with danger. The proposed accreditation appears to be quite liberal.

The level of experience for assessment panel members is surprisingly limited. It flies in the face of the previous ministers’ assertions the involvement of Council elected members. He believed elected members largely had an insufficient skillset. The proposed qualifications however for future panel members would curiously allow elected members easy access to the panel.

Likewise, as a retired building inspector, I am concerned that the Level 4 accreditation for building inspectors requires only 6 months experience. It seems we may be moving to a system which allows what I would consider less competency than now. Surely a backwards step.

Assessment Pathways 

I am pushing that Assessment pathways for any development that has variances to the plan such that they impact on the neighbourhood, even if only “minor” should have a public consultation component to them.

We must continue to fight for this. This is because developments invariably will sit outside the parameters set in a development plan.

Assessment must remain with Council rather than with private certifiers when public notification is a requirement. This is because councils are the only body with the availability of being transparent and accountable.

Private Certifiers will never have the level of accountability that Councils have. Even with the number of elected members sitting on assessment panels reduced to one, accountability is only possible with Councils being responsible.

Two extremes of public notification need to be addressed. I am promoting accordingly.

Obviously larger developments must include public notification and this must extend beyond just the immediate neighbours. Rear of house developments regularly however do not impact on other than the immediate neighbour/s. This includes neighbours who live on the other side of the street and cannot see the development. Those not impacted should not be invited to make representation.

If re-elected, I will remain in a position of working for you and providing local leadership on the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways and all subsequent planning changes.

 

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Giving Time and Passion.

As a retired businessman I can offer you something that none of the other candidates can. That is an abundance of time and passion that comes with being free.

 

Time and passionFree from the hassles of holding down a job. Free from having to commit to training for a future occupation.

 

To provide local leadership and to work for you it is important that your representative is giving you time and passion.

In my opinion you need to find 20 hours plus each week to be an effective elected member of council. Balancing family, work, social and play and the demands placed on you as an elected member can be most challenging. Anything less than 20 hours per week will mean you are not getting value from your representative.

Why would an elected member need to devote that much time you may well ask? Isn’t it just one meeting a month?

 

Working for you requires a commitment to the management role as a “board of management” contributor. The Local Government Act requires this of your representative.

This entails attending at least one full council meeting each month, plus at least one briefing. Attending these and (more importantly) preparing properly for these meeting is time consuming.

Then there are committees and we have many. Ideally they should be spread around. It tends not happen however. Some of us may be members of multiple committees while others may choose not to participate. I am one who contributes to multiple committees because I have the time and the passion where others don’t.

Then there is the need to give time to the various community groups who appreciate your support. The local sporting clubs, the community centre, the neighbourhood watch group etc.

The ultimate time commitment though, is the time devoted directly to you. The Local Government Act requires a person elected to council to represent the interests of residents and ratepayers, to provide community leadership and guidance, and to facilitate communication between the community and the council.

Time is something I have previously and still can offer you (more so), and wish to. In abundance. May I ask, can the other candidates?

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

 

Providing Local Leadership: Working for better local government (LGA).

The City of Unley has not taken full advantage of their membership of the Local Government Association (LGA). Many other Councils likewise.

 

LGA LogoThey all willingly take advantage of services such as the discounts available on Insurance or lower finance costs in taking out loans. Likewise, other services such as these are on offer and utilised.

We all also gain a benefit from the significant research and advocacy that the LGA provides. Research and advocacy that Councils individually simply could not afford to do on their own.

Councils who contribute to what to research or what advocacy to undertake are the ones who receive the greatest benefit. By this I mean the LGA will research what the Councils who take an interest ask them to research. Likewise they will undertake advocacy roles asked of them by the majority of Councils. Unley has not recently contributed t this.

Some Councils who also have been inactive here have complained they don’t get the service they should from the LGA. Murmurings similar to this have echoed from time to time in Unley.

I have always been a firm believer that an association is only as good as its membership. Active members make for a strong association. Passive members don’t contribute and this is when a feeling of disassociation occurs. Not because of the executive however but because of the members themselves.

To avoid the City of Unley being caught up in this I have put my hand up to become our representative on the Greater Adelaide Region of Councils (GAROC) Committee. Council has endorsed my nomination.

If elected to this board by the LGA members I need also to look for your endorsement as one of your two local councillors. If you elect someone else, no-one from Unley will be providing local leadership to the LGA.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: New Council, new faces, new ideas, needs stability and local leadership

The make-up of the new Unley Council is going to be totally different to recent councils. It will be just that, a new Council. It will have new faces and new ideas. We will see greater representation from both a gender and age perspective.

 

Stability

Change is great. Change should be welcomed. Significant change however, which we will be experiencing, needs stability and local leadership.

As I have indicated a few times recently I expect there to be at least 5 females on the new council.

Indeed we have two already, having been elected unopposed. Monica Broniecki will be co-councillor with Cr Michael Rabbit in the Unley Park ward. Jordan Dodd will be co-councillor with Cr Peter Hughes in the Fullarton ward.

Three of our wards have seven candidates each. Five of the seven in both Goodwood and Unley wards are female. One of the seven in Parkside are female. Clarence Park ward has 4 candidates. Two male, one female and one transgender female.

Looking at candidates attending recent Council meetings I would assess the majority of the candidates to be much younger than the current council. It is not unreasonable therefore to expect the next council to be a much younger council.

The current council had but one member (at age 30’ish) under the age of 50. It had three over the age of 80’ish. The median age of the next council is quite likely to be in the region of 50, with a handful over this age and a handful under this age.

The bottom line is the new council is going to be much different than the outgoing council. Not only will there be at least 5 changes, the changes will create a far greater degree of diversity.

With such change happening automatically, I believe it is important that we do not lose the corporate knowledge and the experience of the previous council. To that end it is desirable to re-elect members such as myself to ensure some stability and local leadership in the new council.

 

StabilityIt is not that long ago that I joined council. I remember my introduction into Council was the biggest learning curve I have experienced in my life. It took some time to acclimatise into the Council structure and ethos.

The new members of the next council will surely find similarly. They will need time to collectively and individually acclimatise to the structure and ethos of Council. While they are, those with knowledge and experience will be needed to guide the newbies through the transition phase.

An exciting prospect to be sure.

A prospect I relish as we transition to a new generation. Hopefully you will place on me the responsibility of providing stability and local leadership to the new brigade.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Time to consider an Unley Cat By-Law

The time I believe is right to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. I am hearing this from rate payers as I walk the streets of the Clarence Park Ward.

 

Cat ByLawI am hearing this from rate payers who have problems with stray cats. Likewise I am hearing from rate payers who are responsible cat lovers. I am hearing it also from ratepayers who are concerned about native wildlife.

….

Earlier this year I represented and advocated for a solution over a cat dispute between neighbours within the Ward. I helped both the cat owner and the aggrieved neighbour negotiate with council for a solution.

The end result was, I believe, a win-win for both.

The City of Unley does not have a cat by-law. It is true we have not had many complaints about nuisance cats. We have had enough however for us to consider an Unley Cat By-Law.

The previous Government recently made changes to South Australia’s laws in dog and cat management. Changes that are being phased in over the next 12 months. These changes include new requirements for micro-chipping, de-sexing and breeder registration.

Beyond this, under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, local councils can introduce By-laws for the management of cats that go beyond this legislative mandate.

Such by-laws may include—

  • limiting the number of cats that may be kept on any premises;
  • fixing periods during which cats must be effectively confined to premises occupied by a person who is responsible for the control of the cat.

Two simple but effective measures that our whole community would surely support. We don’t need I would suggest to go any further than this.

I commit to providing local leadership by encouraging council to consider an Unley Cat By-Law. A simple cat By-Law that everyone can agree to.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034