31 March 2012

Open Day BFPS Garden

What a great event;celebrating 30 years since the foundation of the vegetable gardens at Black Forest Primary School. I met the founder of the gardens, Muriel Norton and got to talk to some other interesting people as well. Well done to all.

Parks Alive- What's on in Goodwood South?

31st March
10am onwards -Millswood Tennis; Come and Try Day
11am-11.30am -Princess Margaret Playground;Gypsy Jazz Trio
12pm- 12.30pm-Dora Guild Playground;Circus Elements
1pm-4pm -Page Park; Camping and Cooking Demonstration
1st April
10am-1pm -Millswood Croquet Club; Come and Try
10am-4pm -Millswood Bowling Club;What We Can Offer?
10am onwards -Millswood Tennis Complex ; Cardio Tennis
1pm -1.30pm -Princess Margaret Playground; Circus Performer
I'll be out trying to get some good photographs.

30 March 2012

Earth Hour 31st March 2012

This year the City of Unley will be supporting this global event by undertaking the following actions:
Media Release
Encouraging residents and business to support this important environmental event: attached.
Media release has also been forward to the Unley business community.
Civic Centre:
Lighting will be turned off - security and safety lighting will remain on.
Unley Community Centre:
No hirers in the centre and all lights are off except for the sensor light in the front of the building.
Clarence Park Community Centre:
No hirers in the house on Saturday night and all lights will be off in the house at 8.30.
There is a quiz night in the main hall and they will require lighting, however we will ensure the rest of the centre observes earth hour.
Goodwood Community Centre:
Not participating due to the safety and security risk of hirers accessing the Centre on that evening.
Fullarton Community Centre:
No hirers in the centre and all lights will be off except for sensor lights.
Lights (excluding security) will be turned off.
Security floods will be turned off but all other lighting will remain on as they light the external paths (It was deemed a few years ago unsafe to turn these lights off).
Library (Central and Goodwood)
All lights will be switched off before 8.30pm.

28 March 2012

Special Council Meeting Wed 28th March

I'm not going. Because the first motion about changing Proclamation Day to First Settlers Day was so flawed and because the person wishing to change it did not get the new Motion on Notice in by the deadline ( to be discussed at last Monday's meeting), we are to have another meeting tonight (the third this week). If only the Motion was to rescind and see the end of the first motion I would have made it convenient to attend. But no, the motion is to change Proclamation Day to South Australia Day. While this might be a better name the reaction in the press list time was extraordinary and none of it good. It is my understanding that there will not be a quorum and the meeting will not proceed. I will attend the Clarence Park Community Centre board meeting as previously planned.
Now we're supposed to debate it next Monday at 6.45pm.

24 March 2012

2012 Comparative Analysis

The City of Unley will again participate in the comparative performance survey. The surveys will be conducted over the next 3 months by Roy Morgan Research. This will be conducted by telephone. If you are selected then the more information you can give the better informed Council will be about it's performance.

Full Council Meeting 26th March 2012

  • The Agenda was very thick this week. However, most of it was the petition from the No Dam group opposing the construction of a dam in Brownhill Creek. This is a integral apart of the flood mitigation works proposed and if not built a suite of alternatives would have to be built. This weeks' Agenda;

  • Recognition of Ron Praite; Ron Praite died on the 4th April 2011. He was one of Unley's finest historians and contributed significantly to the Unley Museum. He will be remembered by naming a section of the Glen Osmond linear trail after him. Carried

  • Pedestrian Crossing on Unley Rd (near Ultratune); This will allow safe access across Unley Rd at that location for both pedestrians and cyclists. This will be substantially funded by the state government. What a difference the crossing on Goodwood Rd makes to crossing near Victoria St. Carried

  • Ridge Park Aquifer Recharge; After consultation the residents near this park have chosen to proceed with a mix of bio-filtration and mechanical means to purify the retained water before pumping it into the aquifer. This is a major project that can now proceed. Carried

  • Review of the Glen Osmond Creek Project; The review showed some weakness in the project management of this project, it was also critical of the involvement of some Councillors in the project. Carried

  • Grant Funding 2012; So far this year nearly $3 million have been achieved in grants. These are used to offset Council costs.

  • Elector Representation Review; This review will allow changes in the ward boundaries, in the composition of representation from each ward and, if Council (after much consultation) would even prefer, a Mayor elected from the Councillors or (the current method) at large. There are many arguments for and against change which will be examined. I would like an attempt to achieve greater representation from women on Council. The debate stemmed mainly around he distribution of numbers in each ward despite the fact that the report will have to examine even the existence of wards. I must say I refer a structure but it does not have to be the same one. Carried

  • Brownhill Creek/ Keswick Creek Update;This report looks at the results from the public consultation. Carried

Motions on Notice

  • Tonsley Train Service (see separate blog)Carried

  • Lack of Funding for Disabled Under 65's; This motion asks for the relevant Minister to be informed of Council's disapproval of decisions made that means funding for services for the disabled is only able to be spent on those over 65. Many people who seek Council support are under 65, the costs of services to them is funded by Council alone. Carried

  • Earth Hour Carried

The full Agenda can be found at;http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/FCM%20Agenda%20March%202012.pdf

21 March 2012

William St; Clarence Park

At our monthly ward meeting last week the matter of the William St footpaths was raised once again. It is my personal belief that it would be hard to find worst footpaths anywhere in Unley. At the current time the footpaths are scheduled for paving in 2015/16 from 2018/19 at a cost of $120,000. The problem with getting this footpath up the list is that one of the components looked at is the perceived amount of foot traffic. This means that footpaths nearer pedestrian traffic generators get preference over those that are not. Staff have agreed to an independent reassessment of the footpath condition. I will report back with the outcome of the review.

Neighbour Day 2012; 25th March

Please take the time next Sunday to participate in Neighbour Day by saying “hello” to your neighbour on Sunday, 25 March. It is important in building a community spirit that people know the people that live nearby , in their street and neighbourhood. As I talk to people some streets seem to have residents who have enormous goodwill toward each other which is fantastic. This goodwill often extends to looking after each other, feeding the dog or even picking up the kids from school. Don and I will organise a ward forum in May at Clarence Park Community Centre , this will be an opportunity to share ideas with us and your neighbours. We will add this to our blogs and put the date in the next Newsletter as well.
(Neighbour Day was established in 2003 in response to press coverage of the death of an elderly woman in her home that went unnoticed for two years. It has been promoted by its founder, Andrew Heslop, ever since with a simple aim to encourage everyone to have better relationships with the people next door and across the street).

18 March 2012

Tonsley Train Service; Notice of Motion

I was contacted by a resident a few weeks ago as she had been having difficulty in getting a response for the state government over the cancellation of the Tonsley service and the disruption this was causing to herself and others. My understanding is that the train service has been temporarily suspended due to insufficient track space while the new hospital is being built. What she complained of was lack of any consultation from the consumers of the service and lack of care in the disruption to the lives of these people. As a result the following will be debated at Council on March 26th;

1. A letter be sent to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and the Minister for Transport Services with copies to local Members of Parliament (state) expressing concern at the lack of information and options provided to the community regarding the closure of the Tonsley Line train service.
2. The Ministers give consideration to adding extra carriages on the Noarlunga line to cope with the extra number of people now forced to use this alternate service.
3. The Ministers continue to keep both the City of Unley and affected residents aware of any further changes that are likely to occur.

A summary of the concerns are:

  • a lack of thought, planning and cross-departmental consultation at a time when the population is growing and the government ‘encourages’ public transport use and transit-oriented development

  • the announcements were made without any alternatives planned
    there was a long wait for the new timetables which were released on 20th February
    workers are disadvantaged and treated disrespectfully, while those wanting the train ‘after hours and on the weekend’ are serviced

  • a belief that near-city residents have more choice in public transport but this is not true – we are by-passed by express services and/or full services (the Tram is often full and does not stop).

  • the alternative arrangements increase travel time

  • a concern that the closure of the Tonsley train service will be a permanent measure

Mayor in Court Again

On Friday 16th March Mayor Lachlan Clyne made another brief appearance in the Magistrates Court. This has been set down for further legal argument on the 13th April. It is my understanding that Michael Abbott QC will argue that he doesn't have a case to answer at this time. Mayor Clyne indicated again that he would plead not guilty. It is my opinion that the matter should go to trial sooner rather than later, the longer the matter drags on the more the good name of the Council is associated with this matter. This is always the first question that members of the Community have when they see me at work, shopping or in the neighbourhood; it's hard to answer with a positive swing. Lachlan is charged with dishonestly dealing with documents and improper use of another identity, arising out of 2010’s local government election campaign. The maximum gaol term if convicted is 10 years.

17 March 2012

Notification of Street Sweeping

From time to time many of you have requested that it would be nice if you new when the street sweeper was coming. If you knew you wouldn't have parked your car out the front of your house and you may have had an opportunity to sweep leaves from the footpath into the gutter knowing they would be removed the next day,assuming rain was not forecast. Unley is about to trial a project where this could happen via sms, facebook or twitter. I have already forwarded the names of people who have let me know they would like to be in the trial. If there is anyone else who wants to be involved please let me know and I will forward your details to the officer who is working on this project. Streets are now swept at least once a month which is the highest service standard in the entire metropolitan area.

16 March 2012

King William Rd Stoush Over Speed Limit


Last Wednesday the Unley Road Safety Committee debated the reduction of speed on King William Rd. The staff recommended approval even though the vast majority of respondents to the public consultation were against the proposal (2:1). Cr Saies (who is not a member of the committee and was allowed to speak but not vote (usual practice) referred to accident statistics over the last 10 years that show no pedestrian accidents had speed named by police as a contributing factor. Much of the debate was the centred on amenity and anecdotal evidence. The Committee recommended approval. This is likely to be debated again at Full Council. Even if approved at that meeting DPTI still need to give the final go ahead.

15 March 2012

Parks Alive

Take some time to enjoy our parks during this festival.

Along with community events, a roving program of professional musicians, dancers, entertainers and informal games will tour the Unley open space network and surprise our local community as they burst into song, take up the guitar, dance the salsa or pull of a trick!
On Sun 1 April Council are encouraging people to come and see all our performers at Memorial Gardens, Unley Road in a program starting from 12pm along with a free sausage sizzle from Rotary Club of Unley.
For a full list of events in the City of Unley, please check out the website closer to the weekend.

14 March 2012

Black Forest Primary School ;School Gardens Turn 30

On the 30th March BFPS is celebrating the 30th birthday of their school vegetable gardens. If you have never had an opportunity to see these gardens they will be open from 5pm to 8pm. This garden was very innovative when first developed and still wins prizes today for it's educational value.

Don't Waste Your Food Scraps


Food waste and other organic material makes up around half of what is placed in the blue waste bins. By putting food waste into your green organics bin (along with garden waste) it will be collected and commercially processed into nutrient-rich compost. Our waste is transformed into a valuable resource that is sold to farmers and gardeners all over Australia.
Your green organics bin can still be used for your garden waste, i.e. lawn clippings, leaves, pruning’s, cut flowers etc.
Even if you have a home garden compost or worm farm you may like to recycle the food scraps that are not suitable for your home compost via the green organics bin; all food scraps including citrus, dairy, meat, bones, shells and even heavily soiled pizza boxes may be placed into the green organics bin.

For convenience, food scraps can simply be wrapped in newspaper or paper-towel to prevent spills when placed in the green organics bin.

Alternatively, some hardware stores sell ‘compostable’ bags which may be used for food scraps.

But please do not use bags labeled ‘biodegradable’ – this is not ‘compostable’ – and never use plastic bags of any type in the green organics bin, this can contaminate the entire truckload. If you are unsure about the compostable bags please contact the Council. Ultimately this will further reduce collected waste that goes to landfill. Cost reductions in dumping fees reduce the total costs to Council.

For more information on the green organics bin and recycling food waste please contact the Council on 8372 5111.

11 March 2012

City Strategy Meeting March 13th 2012

This month's Agenda is full of interesting items; the full Agenda can be found at; http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/CSP%20Agenda%20March%202012.pdf

  • City of Unley Ageing Strategy; This strategy has been in the consultation phase for some time and minor modifications have been made to the policy.This was supported although will still have further minor modifications.

  • Planning Policy Programme; This is an update of the planning amendments; it seems the Ministers desk is getting overloaded as he is yet to move anything across it for Unley at this time. The report was received.

  • Dog Registration Fees; The proposal is for fees to rise to $60 (up $5) per annum with the usual discounts for desexing, micro-chipping, obedience training, concession holders, working dogs and grey hounds. No fee is charged for guide dogs, disability dogs and therapeutic dogs. The fees charged do not cover the cost of collecting the fees and dog management through out the year even with an increase. This report was accepted although members expressed their concerns about being able to recover a greater portion of costs.

  • Electronic Waste Review; The report suggests that Council should approve $20,000 t0 be allocated to funding two new services. These services are 50% subsidy for Unley residents at a Local Waste Transfer Station and allowing e-waste to be put out for Hard Waste collection. Members felt this report was inadequate and have requested that staff have another look at other options and bring the report back in April.

  • Hard Rubbish Collection Review; The total number of collections from July 2011 to February 2012 was 2,319, only slightly less than the same time period in the year earlier. However, there were no second pick ups ( as agreed by Council). The waiting times for collection have been reduced from 8 weeks to 6.7 weeks. Never the less some seasons are busier than others and some people have waited 12 weeks for a pick up. Of 511 reported instances of illegal dumping (since May 2010) in 402 cases the property owner has removed the rubbish when directed to do so by Council. This represents a 79% compliance rate. The report was received with no further action but to continue the current level of service.

  • New Community Gardens; The preferred option for the Community Garden is the goody Patch at Goodwood Primary School. While I am disappointed that the site in Millswood was not chosen as a first option I feel it may be better for the redevelopment of the site to be included in the Millswood Lawn masterplan when this is completed.This matter caused much debate although all members were happy with the initial site selected.

  • Orphanage Park Community Land Management Plan; Council are being asked to consider options for the development of a CLMP for Orphanage Park and other parks. This is a pressing necessity for Orphanage Park as there is no clear way documented to move forward on the tree plantings and other minor creek works. This would also allow for the protection of the stone linings if the Minister allows them to be included as a Local Heritage item in the City of Unley Development Plan. This report was refused and no further action suggested for any of the 4 large Parks.

  • Long Term Financial Plan; Council are being ask to approve an operating surplus ratio of 3.5, a Net financial Liabilities Ratio of no more than 80% of the annual rates revenue and an Asset Sustainability ratio equalling 100% over 10 years. This was approved.

  • Development of a New Unley community Plan;Unley is required to develop a new Community Plan this year. Council will be anxious to hear what the community wants in the plan in the near future. This was approved.

All of these items must still be ratified at the Full Council Meeting on the 26th March.

06 March 2012

Railway Electrification Project Briefing

Yesterday Councillors attended a briefing about this project. Although this was scheduled to be started in 2010 it now seems unlikely that any work will commence on the Unley section until early 2013. The state government has embraced this project in an effort to have a faster, cleaner and greener rail network. Hopefully, this will encourage commuters to use the train network and work toward reducing the congestion on the road network. The project will involve the erection of masts and overhead wires (it is considered too dangerous to electrify the rails), the building of 3 substations (locations undecided), the screening of bridges and overpasses ( to avoid accidental electrocution and items being thrown on the tracks) and the relocation of services (mostly ETSA power lines that cross over the track). The masts will be 8m high and spaced at 50 m intervals and where there is no existing fencing a new chain link fence 1.8m high will be erected. It is possible that all vegetation that overhangs the overhead wires will be trimmed back so that they don't. Trees on state land can be pruned or removed regardless of significance if they wish, trees on Council land require an application to Council if they are significant. I asked very clearly when the consultation with our Community would occur and was not all that happy with the answer. The first answer being that they will talk individually to affected landowners and "sort something out". I made it quite clear that our Community wanted public consultation so that everyone would get the same information at the same time and have the advantage of some degree of collective bargaining. I think we were closer to this by the end of the meeting. If some are happy with website based information, newsletters and the odd open day then so be it. However, I think our Community deserves better. The public meetings held, by demand, before the construction of the tram overpass on South Rd caused many changes to plan including the inclusion of the bikeway. I'll keep you posted.

04 March 2012

Sasmee Park-What a Treat

Don and I went to chat with the wonderful people that manage Sasmee Park this afternoon. we shared our afternoon with about 400 parents and children who were there for an afternoon out to enjoy the model trains. The reason for our discussion was to better inform us, as Councillors, how they would like to fit into the Asset Management Plan for the Millswood lawns area. The group provide an interest and hobby for over 150 people, most of whom are men. The park is open on the first Sunday and third Saturday of any month from 2pm to 4.30pm and the whole family can get in for less than $20.

03 March 2012

March Update 2012

It good to see some ongoing projects completed, these include;

The completion of the hooped fence on the southern side of the Goodwood Oval Playground.

The removal of the left turn bans off East Ave.

The completion of the consultation regarding the pedestrian refuge in East Ave. The likely result of this when it goes to the Road Safety Committee is that they will recommend moving the refuge south to be opposite the Church. DPTI objected to the proposal as it was too close to a bus stop and there was some strong opposition from the houses and people most affected. There was also strong support for a refuge at or near this location. Further consultation on the new location will follow.

I have also spent some time working with staff on ensuring that adequate disabled parking bays are available during the Fullarton park monthly market. At the current time the existing parks are used for market stalls and there is no vehicle access into the market.
Also of interest should be the following events;
Parks Alive! 2012 Grants :Local community and resident groups are encouraged to hold picnics, BBQs, parties, games and other activities in local parks on the weekend of Saturday, 31st March and Sunday 1st April to celebrate Parks Alive!
Ride-2-School Day: Ride2School Day is on Friday 23rd March 2012 when parents and teachers are encouraged to leave the car at home and get students riding, walking, skating or scootering to school.
Scooter safety in the spotlight: Community urged to take part in safety survey
NRMA Motoring & Services, ACCC, CHOICE, Enable NSW and Vision Australia have banded together to launch a national survey to help understand how and why Australians are using mobility scooters. Interested members of the community are invited to take part in the survey. The survey closes 5 April 2012 and is available from the NRMA website at www.mynrma.com.au/scooters and the Product Safety Australia website at www.productsafety.gov.au/mobilityscooters. Mailed copies are also available by calling the ACCC’s Infocentre on 1300 302 502.

Further information on each of these is on the Council website at http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/

02 March 2012

Digital Business

Have you wondered just how much computers, websites and social media are affected how we do business? This was a topic for discussion at the Council meeting. While Council response is confidential the startling facts aren't:

Facts about Australian consumers.
• 82% of all Australians looked for information on line
• 66% of all Australians shop on line
• 24% have purchased from overseas online
• Half of all Australians have a smart phone
Facts on Australian Households
• 89% have a computer
• 87 % are internet enabled
• 10 % have a tablet/Ipad with 15% expected to buy in the next year
• 4% have purchases coupons
• Deloittes Study – 5.5% of Australian spending was on line (2010 -2011) which represented 13.6 billion dollars in revenue
• Online sales are growing at 9 to 10% pa
• Consumers ability to search, find and buy is growing.
• Greatest increase in on line activity was 30+
Facts on Australian businesses
• Only 50% are using using it effectively
• Only 6% of Australian businesses intend to install a web site next year.
• 18% of businesses use social media for business, most are on facebook
• 50% who had used social media said it had a positive impact on their business
• 90% maintained social media sites internally
• 50% of business who offered coupons got return business.
So what are the key issues traders face today?
• There is a parallel shift going on with wholesalers now competing with the retailers they are supplying
• interstate and overseas traders are competing in the same market place
• highly informed customers
• reduced relationships and loyalty
• the try and don’t buy culture
• mobile customers
• negative reviews through social media
• rents still increasing
• wholesale competition
• increasing online competition and reduced foot traffic/sales
Retail is not just about foot traffic in store anymore. It’s about a whole new business model.
Position! Position! Is not necessarily number one anymore as traders have the potential to buy in one country and sell in another.