26 November 2011

Full Council Meeting November 28th 2011

Only one item was reserved for the City Strategy meeting and this was only to change the wording rather than the intent of the motion. Items debated this month include;

  • Conservation Grants; Each year Council allocates $50,000 to help people with heritage houses repair or preserve their homes. Recent changes to Council planning policy means that there are now1801 heritage homes in Unley rather than 356. This means that there has been an increasing demand for funds without an increasing budget allocation. 27 of the 29 applications received will each get 35% of the costs of their project up to $5,000 for houses and $1,000 for trees. This leaves no funds for the second round of applications. I asked for increased funding to be considered in the next budget variation process. Only 4 applications were received from Goodwood South residents even though all of Millswood (west of Goodwood Rd) is now a heritage area. My motion was defeated to both increase the allowance for this year to allow for a second round of applications and to include more money in the budget for 2012/13. It seems that we as Council spend a lot of time saying how much we value heritage and yet when it comes to helping people with their restoration (eg underpinning, stonework ,verandas) we are not prepared to help more than a few in this way. The policy does need to be updated and this will occur in the new year.

  • Temporary Road Closures for the Tour Down Under Gourmet Gala; These will be similar to last year. However, the committee has considered ways that underage people who arrive under the influence of alcohol can be better managed.

  • Meeting times for 2012; There was considerable debate on this as the order of meetings scheduled was to change. I see many downsides to this and few advantages. The meeting was evenly divided on this relying on the mayor to give a casting vote, he then voted for change while saying that he would support the status quo (the amendment)! We now need to debate the timing of the 'reserving out' process (deciding if the matter will be debated again). If this is not changed then nothing has been achieved by the change and the process and deadlines have become more difficult to manage for staff with no gain for anyone.

  • Development Act Delegations Review; This is a statutory requirement and changes reflect legislative changes. One change was made and that was to reflect that a significant tree, by definition, must now have a 3 m circumference.

  • Appointment of a Deputy Mayor; Would you believe it this issue is back after being rejected just 3 months ago? The new suggestion was that Councillors take 6 month turns ward by ward. I'm not convinced that this is any more than tokenism. The described advantages are that it would give more Councillors an opportunity to share the responsibilities of the Mayor and would foster better communication between the selected individuals and the Mayor. Council rejected this motion and we still do not have the valuable role filled by anyone despite there being a need and many Councillors competent to do the job.

  • Kirinari School -Use of Council land; Kirinari school has had the use of Council land for 11 years at no cost to the school. The school sold the land to Council in 2000. There have been some comments in the Eastern Courier that ignore the facts of this and wish for Council to consider to offer free use into the future. The reality is that the land should never have been free to use by the school and, hopefully, an agreed rent will be paid in the future.

  • Electronic Hard Waste; Cr Hudson put a motion for a collection area for e-waste to be established that would be open regularly to drop off e-waste (see separate blog).This was supported and staff will investigate how this might work.

25 November 2011

E-waste collection

If you have unwanted televisions, mobile phones, computer products, printers, scanners, video players, DVD players, digital cameras, etc cluttering up your house then there is an opportunity in the near future to get rid off them. Each product will be recycled into its many components instead of going to landfill. On Saturday 3rd December and Sunday 4th December between 9am and 3pm you can drop off your stuff at 5 Winston Crt (Mitcham Council Operations Depot) or at Adelaide City Council Nursery, War Memorial Drive (opposite the zoo). Last time this event was held there were queues so I suggest you pool with your neighbours and get just one car in the line up.

24 November 2011

Regulated trees or Significant Trees?

The law has changed in the categorization of trees and their level of significance. For the last few years trees have been deemed to be significant if their trunks were greater than 2m around when measured at one metre above the ground regardless of species. When an owner wished to remove a tree they had to lodge a Development Application with Council with an arborist's report. Council then decided if the tree could be removed, this often involved having to go through the lengthy process of public notification and Development Assessment Panel approval or refusal. If the decision was refusal the applicant had an opportunity to appeal the decision in the Environment, Resources and Development Court.

Under the new laws all trees with a circumference of 2m are described as Regulated, and those over 3m as significant. The process for the larger trees has not changed other than there is no longer a requirement to publicly notify. Only those that staff recommend for refusal will go to the DAP for final refusal or approval. However, regulated trees (2m-3m circ), other than all species of eucalyptus and willow myrtles that are growing within 10 metres of an existing house or pool will be able to be removed through a simpler process. A Development Application will still need to be lodged with Council but there is no requirement to submit a report from an arborist (this additional cost was often difficult for some people). The staff will then approve the tree's removal. There are also penalties for removing trees and a requirement that 2 or 3 trees are replanted for each one removed. There will no longer be a need to seek approval if a tree is to be pruned of less than one third of its canopy if the wood to be removed is dead or deemed to be dangerous.

As the new laws are implemented there will be a need for further minor legislative changes and some will be resolved through the courts.

20 November 2011

ETSA Tree Pruning

ETSA have informed the City of Unley that they will shortly (they have to give 30 days notice and did so on 4.11.11) be pruning street trees along South Rd, Emerson Rd, Cowper St and in Fielding St. This will only be along the high voltage network. Hopefully the pruning will be sensitive to both the trees and to the people who view them regularly.

Kelvin Avenue Update

The consultation for the most recent version of the pocket park closed on Friday. Everybody who was in the (much broader) catchment area has now had an opportunity to reply and to inform Council on a way forward. The revised plan, as most of you would be aware, will allow two way vehicular access through the street as well as a path for pedestrians and bicycles. Don and I spent a pleasant few hours talking to people in Francis St and Frederick St to encourage people to return their form and to give as much information as possible as to why or why not they agreed or disagreed with the plan. Many of you loved the idea and many do not. At this point in time I am unaware of the final statistics. I will get to view all of these before the matter is debated in Council. The staff will now use this information to collate the results and to use the valuable information to write a report and to address any concerns.

19 November 2011

Stormwater Management Plan

The the plans that were commissioned by Mitcham Council were available this week. While I am yet to attend a briefing by staff I did attend on open day at Unley Council on Thursday. The report indicates that it is possible to reduce the risk of flooding during a 1:100 year event and to not build the dam as proposed. However, this would require extensive infrastructure to be built in Unley-culverts and drains. The total cost of works would exceed $50 million in Unley alone, we would still only have to pay our agreed share of $14 million for the entire project. The people who will get the culverts are yet to be consulted and I would expect there to be considerable concern from residents. Unley is in the process of preparing it's submission to the draft plans. I will need a lot more information on this one before decisions are made.

The full report can be read at;

A recent Easter Coutier artcle can be found at ;

City Strategy meeting 21st November 2011

How good do the trees in George St and Churchill Ave look this week?

Items discussed this month included;

  • The Renewal of Home Match Licensing; it was proposed to increase the number of home games from 9 to 10 and non- Saturday games from 4 to 5. This has already been widely consulted in the local area and less than 20% of respondents were opposed to the concept. This was supported.

  • Grants Programme Funding; local organisations recommended for funding include the Clarence Park Community Kindergarten (vegetable garden), Clarence Park Community Centre Food Coop (3oth anniversary celebrations) and St Thomas School (Easter Fair).

  • Commercial Fitness Training Activities on Council land; this has been to public consultation and some significant changes have been made to the recommendations; these include the fee being reduced by 50%, allowing earlier start times in locations that have fewer residential neighbours, permitting boxing and martial arts in some parks and no bond to be paid. This was passed, although a fee was introduced for small groups of $100 for consistency between groups.

  • Food Security Strategy; the focus of this strategy is to allow for more food to be grown in public spaces, toe encourage more food to be grown in back yards and to support local food distribution and use. There are already some outstanding examples in Unley of this, eg the Clarence Park Food Coop, the Goodwood Farmers Market, the veggie gardens at Black Forest Primary School and the Fern Ave Community Garden. This was passed.

  • Community Asset Review Stakeholder Engagement; Council have been working for sometime on this and now wishes to discuss with individual stakeholders a future direction. For Goodwood South this includes the Fairmont Tennis Club, Millswood lawn Tennis Club, Millswood Bowls Club, Millswood Croquet Club, Goodwood Saints Football Club, Goodwood Cricket Club, Forrestville Hockey Club, Tennis SA and Goodwood Oval Sports Complex. This was passed.

  • Hackett Reserve Extension; Council plans to extend the park to include the existing road that is closed to be part of the park. This would be funded as a Pocket Park.

  • Village Living & Desirable Neighbourhoods Development Plan Amendment; this proposes significant change in zoning in Goodwood South. I am happy to discuss the detail of this with any any interested persons.

  • King William Rd Pavement; once again Council are wishing to retain this asset to a high standard as replacement cost is almost prohibitive.

The full Agenda can be found at;


This was new CEO, Peter Tsokas' first meeting.

14 November 2011

Cloth Nappies make a comeback...

From this to this

I saw an article in today's paper that caught my eye. Each year 2.1 billion disposable nappies go to landfill. Each nappy takes around 150 years to breakdown. If we can reduce our use of disposable nappies then we can reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. Council pays a fee for this service that is increasing quickly. Port Adelaide Enfield Council are taking an initiative to reintroduce the use of cloth nappies for babies by setting up a Cloth Nappy Library. This will give parents an opportunity to try out cloth nappies and choose a suitable style for their baby. For many new parents disposable nappies are the only type they know and the only type they themselves used as babies themselves. I will ask at the next Council meeting if we could check out what they're doing and see if it is an initiative for Unley.

12 November 2011

Lawn replacement- not us!!

I had an enquiry this week from a rate payer that received this flyer in their letter box this week. This flyer is from a company selling lawn replacement products in the Unley area. There are many convincing arguments for and against the use of this type of product. The flyer has not been endorsed in any way by Council; in fact most of Council's current direction in sustainability is to improve water retention and for landscaping to be more water sensitive but still using real plants. The rebate offered is not being paid by Council.

Ageing and Disability Advisory Committee

This committee met last week and discussed the following items that may be of interest.
The Access for All Plan is now waiting to be signed off by the Human Rights Commission

The Regional Alliance of Eastern Councils has been developing a strategy to cope with the predicted pressures that will come from an ageing community. Some of the identified strategies include

  • increasing education of clients about services offered

  • enabling the learning of new skills and knowledge

  • ensuring opportunities exist for safe physical activity

  • the service fee structure will need to reflect need

  • the need for a home support service that will do heavy cleaning (gutters,etc)and gardening

  • setting acceptable standards of service delivery

Scooter Mobility Project -the pilot programme will fit GPS systems to particular vehicles and their users (you must be over 65) to identify hazards on the existing footpath network so that preferred routes can be identified and their use encouraged. There are currently no controls around the sale of these vehicles or training in their use once purchased. this also needs to be addressed.

08 November 2011

Dog Exercise: Unley Life

A recent reminder published by the Council is in reponse to resident's complaints about the use of these areas. A reminder that the areas are to be enjoyed by all.

Goodwood Oval and The Orphanage

Residents are reminded that the City of Unley has limited open space for it's community. Therefore, in order to allow all users access certain restrictions apply to where you can exercise your dog. There are various sections for dog exercise at Goodwood Oval and The Orphanage. Please check the signage indicating dog on-leash and dog off-leash areas.

Dogs may be exercised under 'effective control'. Effective control means

  • a dog is restrained by a strong lead less than 2metres in length

  • the dog responds to a command, is in close proximity to the person and the person is able to see the dog at all times

EXCEPT where organised sporting activity or organised events are being conducted.

Dogs are prohibited

  • within any enclosed area where there is children's play equipment

  • within 3 metres of children's play equipment if it is not enclosed

  • in areas listed on signposts that prohibit dogs.

06 November 2011

Community Panel

Have you ever wanted an opportunity to have your say on a regular basis into the way that Unley is shaped and developed? Then why not register to participate in the on line panel. You can get the full details and register on the following link.


05 November 2011

Fairfax Ave and Graham Ave Street meeting 5th November

I went to a great meeting this morning at Goodwood Oval where 20+ people talked to Don and I(as well as Charles Mountain from staff). This meeting was convened as a few people living in the area had suggested that a meeting of interested residents would flesh out some of the issues that have been annoying people. In the end we had a list of about 20 different things, most of which will be cheap and easy to implement, others will need to be budgeted for.

Some of the issues were; (this list is just an example)

  • When will the playground fence be installed? This has been budgeted for and should be soon.

  • Can the new lines indicating the distance cars can park from driveways be pulled back a metre to allow easier and safer access to properties?

  • Should parking be limited to one side of Fairfax Ave? The resounding response from people present was a no. There was some discussion about the parks nearest the playground.

  • Can the street trees be replaced in Graham Ave? Some are pretty tatty, one butchered by ETSA, many failing to thrive and others causing damage to infrastructure. The Council arborist will give us some guidance as to a way forward.

  • What about the drainage issues?

  • Can there be some tidy up of Argyle Ave footpaths?

All participants will be sent an update of the issues identified and possible solutions. If you feel there are issues that you would like me to know about then please send me an email, if you think a street meeting would be useful then one can be convened in your street.

02 November 2011

Smoke Free Needs More Work

The following article appeared in this week's Eastern Courier. I will be interviewed next week for a segment on ABC television. I feel at this time that a greater take-up rate will occur when renewals are due for the outdoor dining spaces.

Eastern Courier Messenger
Wednesday 2/11/2011
No-smoke bid fails
UNLEY Council's bid to encourage smoke-free outdoor dining areas has failed to win over local restaurant and cafe owners. In August, the council announced owners would receive a 50 per cent reduction in outdoor dining fees if they chose to ban smoking. But, as yet, no businesses have taken up the offer. Councillor Jennie Boisvert, who supported the bid, hoped café owners would still get on board. "I think the initiative needs more education," Cr Boisvert said. "A lot of the restaurants don't realize how many customers they don't have because of smokers outside." Adelaide City Council, which launched a similar scheme in July, has had 58 businesses take up the offer. An ACC spokeswoman said the savings on outdoor dining permits ranged from $120 to $1350 annually.

01 November 2011

International Cities and Towns Conference; Hobart

I attended the above conference last week and attended some interesting presentations-all I thought would be relevant to the Unley context although this wasn't always the case. Topics included;

Life between Buildings; presented by Gehl Architects that are also working with the City of Unley.

Why Bigger isn't Better-the case for smaller houses; an interesting presentation supporting smaller houses with good function by using better design principals. I haven't seen much evidence of this trend yet when reading the Development Assessment Panel Agendas.

Smoke Free Public Places; A Healthy Change for Local Government; clearly their is a trend toward this and some cities like Hobart have simply banned smoking altogether in outdoor dining areas and parks.

Yeerongpilly TOD; A Transport Orientated Development is what is proposed for Keswick Barracks should the army cease to want to occupy the site.

The Universal Mobility Index: A tool to measure accessibility for the disabled to the built environment. This is particularly relevant as the Council have just written their Access for All Policy.

Carbon Neutrality China Style; this presentation was fascinating, the designed city unbelievable.

From Conventional Street to Naked Street; the case for removing the ever increasing signs, traffic lights and directions in our streets.

Business Improvement Districts; Unley already is doing this well.

The Use of Expert Design Panels; this is one I have already discussed with staff. I would like a design panel selected to offer improvements possible for new buildings, in particular the proposed multi- storey developments for Greenhill Rd and Unley Rd.

Possibilities:Local Government and Affordable Housing

Car Parking Management; are we ready to put parking meters in the streets near Greenhill Rd?

Integrated Vertical Villages for the Elderly; there are already three of these approved for Unley (one built). Will they work and who will choose to live in these developments?

Why Quality Greenspace Matters; the case for activation of our parks. I have some ideas to activate the Memorial Gardens that I hope will come to fruition.

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog many of these topics will come as no surprise. I welcome your input and discussion.

November Update 2011

Kelvin Avenue consultation again; Letters are going out this week inviting further comment on the proposed changes to Kelvin Ave. The new plan allows two way access, the major concern from people who signed the petition and yet allows for some park space to enable further greening of the City using water sensitive urban design and for the planting of some trees that have the potential to become significant.
Railway diversion; A new committee has been established to lobby state and federal government on the possibility of diverting trains east of the City (through Truro). This group has now met for the first time.
Page Park; A gate will soon be erected on the western entrance, this will make the entire area safer for dogs off leash. The toilets are now not likely to be installed before late December.
Traffic management; There will be a stop sign and associated line marking at the junction of Ripon Rd with Lorraine Ave and Homer Rd. This should make the junction safer. This is a response to concerned residents.
Street meeting; Fairfax Ave and Graham Ave; Residents in this area have requested a street meeting to discuss local issues. This meeting will occur at 10 am on November 5th near the junction of the two streets.
Development (Regulated Trees) Development Act 2009; This Act will come into operation on 26th November 2011. It will change the definition of significant trees and create a two tier system of regulated and significant trees. I will write a separate blog on this when I have more details.
Leister Park; The Park has now reopened after contamination was found. The Park has been fully remediated and is now safe for all users again.
Smoking; So far no cafes have taken up the Council offer to reduce the fees they pay to Council and to make their outdoor eating areas smoke free. I feel that a little more direct contact from staff should see a much higher take up of the initiative. Staff are still working on the report to enable smoke free children's play areas.
Do you like singing, you might like to try this?
Unley Voices meets for practice every Wednesday from 2-4pm in St Augustine's Church, Unley Rd, and everyone is welcome. Information Marianne Piercy 8372-5100.