30 May 2012

The Carbon Tax and your Rates

The carbon tax will come into effect on the 1st July this year. It is my understanding the the Federal Government believes it has done as much as possible to alleviate the burden of this from ordinary people by reducing taxes, giving  a one off payment to pensioners, self funded retirees and parents with children in school.  But I wonder if you will think this if your rates rise to meet the expected costs to Local Government? Council, on 28th May, rejected Cr Schnell's bid to raise the rates  6.6% (the 5.1% we went to consultation with plus 1.5%) to cover what he believes to be an expected cost rise of 1.5% that will need to be met by Council. So far the only information we have is that staff believe that direct cost increases could be as much as $140-$240,000 and the cost of waste disposal could rise by a similar amount. The maximum would be  a cost increase of nearly $400,000. It could be argued that Council staff should have included these costs in their individual budget estimates that have been presented to Council. The fact is that they have not.
The cost for each individual household for land fill alone is estimated to be $35(0.974 tonnes per household residual waste x $35.70 = $34.76 per household per annum). Some sources indicate that this impost will only be added from the following financial year as the carbon is only released as the waste breaks down and not as it is dumped. Nevertheless, we as Councillors will have to do some serious thinking on this as more information comes available.

27 May 2012

Some events you might be interested in?

Farmers Market Survey;

The Farmers’ Market would like to better understand the needs and interests of the local community. If you’d like to share your thoughts or if you’d just like the chance to win over $350 in prizes, completed the survey (click here to open in a new browser), before Wednesday, 6 June 2012.

You could win
a Farmers’ Market hamper, valid at over $250 ,  2013 membership and free parking for a year (membership & parking valid 1 Oct 2012 to 31 Dec 2013).

Upcoming Waste and Recycling Community Education Sessions;

The City of Unley, in partnership with KESAB environmental solutions, provides this fascinating FREE day tour to the places that your waste and recyclables are taken after collection from the kerb. Sites include Integrated Waste Services, VISY Recycling (Wingfield), Ecycle Recovery (Gepps Cross) and the Wingfield Waste and Recycling Centre– including Jeffries receiving yard (green organics) , Adelaide Resource Recovery (construction and demolition) and Transpacific Industries waste transfer station. Experts from each of the sites will be on-hand to answer your questions.
Bus capacity is limited to 16 passengers. Upcoming tour date is 6th June form the Church of the Holy Trinity, Clarence Park. For more information and bookings please contact;
KESAB Environmental Solutions
Ph: 8234 7255

Ahmadiyya Muslim Ladies at Clarence Park Community Centre;
On Tuesday 22 May 2012, 70 community members mingled and enjoyed a delicious lunch cooked by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Ladies at Clarence Park Community Centre. After the lunch, 'On the Couch' sessions were held with four Ahmadiyya ladies who shared their experiences growing up in Pakistan, arranged marriages, and their life in Australia after being persecuted in their homeland for their religious beliefs.

26 May 2012

Fulll Council Meeting; May 28th 2012

This month's Agenda had several items of interest. These include;
Debating again the E-waste item fro the City Strategy Meeting; Cr Koumi expressed a desire to add more information to the debate. His position was not supportd by any other Councilor.
Reviewing the CEO's Performance Appraisal Process;  I am on the committee , with Cr Schnell and the Mayor Clyne, to review the CEO's performance. This motion suggestsed a way forward in the appraisal process.
Meeting Procedures; These have been changed along with recommendations from an earlier meeting.
Membership of the Murray Darling Association (region 7); Cr Saies  expressed a desire to be part of the local chapter. This is something that ultimately affects us all.
Review of the Adelaide City Development Plan Amendments; The report outlines the potential implications from the Adelaide CC  DPA (Ministerial) as they might affect the City of Unley. The Design Review Panel is a concept Unley should embrace as our own DPAs are signed off by the Minister.
Nomination to the Industrial Relations Advisory Committee; The LGA is seeking nominations for this Committee. If more than one nomination is received then this will go to election. Cr Saies and Palmer decided to give this a go.
Location of a Pedestrian Refuge on King William Rd; Cr Hewitson would prefer the selected site to be nearer the corner of Arthur St than has been approved. It is my opinion that this should be further south or north of this location. It is not wise to encourage pedestrians to cross in this location as vehicles turning right from Arthur St tend to do so quickly if they see a gap in the traffic, they will not be looking for pedestrians and pedestrians will not see them approaching from the side street. The change was approved.
Support for the City of Marion's Push for a Pedestrian Overpass at Black Forest Primary School; Don and I have been asked to support Cr Pfieffer, from Marion, in calling for the government to build a pedestrian overpass. This would allow free movement of traffic on South Rd and allow for a very safe crossing access for the school. Our motion supported this idea.
Impact on Rates of the Carbon Price; Cr Schnell asked that we discuss a rate rise as high as 6.6% to cover cost changes associated with the Carbon Tax. Many of these costs are unknown although there will be inevitable rises in the cost of all materials that Council buys and significant increases in the cost to dump household rubbish. This may be able to be off set in some way with better education of residents to encourage better recycling practices. This was debated for well over an hour with the motions both failing. The impact of the Carbon  Tax I will put in a separate blog. At this time the proposed orate rise is still 5.1% although I believe it will be higher than this after we gather further information on the impacts of the tax.

25 May 2012

Reconciliation Event; 1st June 2012

Everyone is welcome to attend this event, I will be there in my capacity as both Councillor and as Aboriginal Education Teacher with a group of year 8 and 9 Aboriginal students from Urrbrae High.

This year the focus will take the national theme of "Let's Talk Reconciliation".  John Packham, a respected and experienced Indigenous Cultural Instructor from  Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, will lead our event at Heywood Park on 1 June at 10.30am. We have invited schools to attend and some schools have taken up the offer of doing short five minute presentations on the theme of Reconciliation arising from their studies.

The morning will be a mixture of an Indigenous acknowledgment and its cultural significance, interactive storytelling, music and presentations by local schools. Invitations to all local schools have been circulated. We will attempt to retain an informality about the morning to evoke the spirit of togetherness.

Should the weather be inclement, the event will be held in the Town Hall.
Matthew Ives
Cultural Development Coordinator

22 May 2012

Council Amalgamations; Are We Interested?

The Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Stephen Yarwood, raised the issue of Council amalgamations again this week. He's a busy man and he should have had other things to do. I was on Council the first time there was a big push for this; should Unley merge with Mitcham or Burnside was the question? In the end the touted savings did not occur. An internet search could bring up all the reasons why savings should be achieved but not a single report on what was actually achieved. To top this off the chairperson of the Amalgamation Board, who was the Mayor of Walkerville, saw many Councils merge and yet her own Council  survived with about 5,000 residents.  It is my opinion that bigger is not bettter when it comes to Council size and Unley should not be a part of it. I like representing 5,000 people, I don't want to, nor could I afford to run a campaign in a larger area. What happens next is pressure from the political paties to put up their own candiadtes, as an elected member the paty then decides how you vote on each issue and you always vote with the same people. I'm not disciplined enough to do this, I like to have my say on what concerns residents and me and to vote how I choose to vote on the merit of the argument, and as informed by residents.

21 May 2012

Preliminary Works; Rail Grade Separation.

I received the following advice from Staff today;
Following on from the recent Federal budget advice regarding funding for the rail grade separation at Goodwood / Millswood, DPTI has today advised us that geotechnical investigations (including contamination testing) will commence this week.
The works will occur generally between the Goodwood Railway Station in the north to Meredyth Ave in the south and will also involve night works (midnight to 5am) from next week.
This testing regime is likely to last for 3 - 4 weeks.
DPTI are currently preparing a letter that will be delivered to residents in the affected areas early this week.
As State funding will not be confirmed prior to the Budget announcement(s), the correspondence to residents will describe the works as 'maintenance'.
A copy of the DPTI letter will be forwarded to Members when it is received and the details contained therein will be used to provide information on Councils' web site.  Alan Johns.

18 May 2012

Dog Microchipping Day : 26th May (9am to 1pm)

From the Council website for your interest

Dog Microchipping Day - Fullarton Plant & Craft Markets, Saturday 26 May 2012

4-Paws Premium Doggie Snacks, The City of Unley and the Fullarton Markets are offering a day for dog owners to have their dog(s) microchipped, at a reduced rate of $25.
A microchip is a simple way of recording vital information to ensure your dog can be reunited with you if he/she gets lost, injured or stolen.  The microchip, the size of a grain of rice, is injected under the dog’s skin. It carries a code unique to the dog owner and dog. This code is placed onto a national computer database and appears on a certificate of identification given to the owner.
Microchipping is the most effective form of permanent identification. Microchipping makes it easy for a loved pet to be reunited with its owner, ensuring a greater probability of finding the owner.
Responsible dog owners also receive a concession rebate (10%) off their next dog registration if their dog is microchipped.
The Microchipping Day is on SATURDAY, 26 MAY 2012 (9am to 1pm) and will be held at the Fullarton Plant & Craft Markets, in the carpark of the Fullarton Park Community Centre, 411 Fullarton Road, Fullarton.
To register on-line and pay only $20 per dog, go to: http://www.4pawspremiumdoggiesnacks.com/ or phone Katie on 0412 808 424 or alternatively, just turn up on the day and pay $25 cash (sorry no eftpos available). Dog owners need to live in the Unley Council area and provide identification on the day.  Dog owners who do not live in the Unley Council area will pay $35.
All dogs microchipped on the 26 May 2012 will also receive a discount at 4-Paws Premium Doggie Snack stall and go into the draw to win a doggie hamper on the day, which will be drawn at 12.45pm.
Important Information:
  • All dogs MUST be on a lead
  • All dogs MUST be handled by an adult
  • If you think your dog may show any signs of aggression, please muzzle your dog for everyone’s safety
  • The Vet implanting the microchips will not be in a position to treat or address any other health issues with your dog
  • We reserve the right to refuse to microchip a dog if we hold concerns about the safety of our staff or of the dog itself. In the unlikely event that this occurs, the fee will be refunded in full.

16 May 2012

Unley in new smoke ban talks

This article appeared in this week's Eastern Courier;
UNLEY Council says it is too early to say whether the state's new smoking laws will prompt it to ban smoking at Sturt's home matches and at al fresco cafes. The council will discuss the issue next month when it receives a staff report on banning smoking at places such as Unley Oval and at the Tour Down Under street party on King William Rd. Unley chief executive Peter Tsokas said he was"very pleased" new statelaws - allowing councils to ban smoking in any public place after May 81 - hadbeen passed.
"Now we have the option to consider a range of options in enforcing smoking bans," Mr Tsokas said.
From next month, councils will have the power to ban smoking in any public area, including parks,
streets, music festivals, sporting events and pageants. A full report of when and how the laws could be enacted would be considered by the council next month. Under another plank of the statewide laws that came into effect this month, anyone caught smoking in playgrounds or in public transport shelters is liable to a $200 fine. Councillor Jennie Boisvert said it was important for places where children were present to be smoke-free. "We are setting an example to young people," Cr Boisvert said.
Eastern Courier Messenger, Adelaide
16 May 2012, by EMILY GRIFFITHS

13 May 2012

City Strategy Meeting ,May 14th 2012

This month's agenda included
  • E-Waste Review;The staff have further explored options regarding the disposal of e-waste. The cost of providing a regular (bi-monthly disposal)  at either the Depot or the Show Grounds is, in my opinion, prohibitive. The estimated costs are from $100,000 to $150,000 per year. Council has the opportunity to allow e-waste to be disposed of and collected through the general hard waste collection service. Council is also exploring subsidising the use of the exiting e-waste facility in Plympton, and offering a subsidy of up to 100%. This will now add an additional amount of $40,000 to the current costs. A raft of new programmes are likely to become available over the next few months from other funding sources and this amount may not be needed.
  • Unley Concert Band; Council currently has a Memorandum of Understating  with the Unley Concert Band that is expiring. This motion suggests renewal with a continued subsidy of $4,500  with  and increase to $5,000 in subsequent years. This band has gone from strength to strength in recent years and has performed in France in commemorative services. Council increased this amount to $7,000 as it believed that more funding was required than Staff recommended.
  • Funding Allocation for Community Grants;
 Ron Young Programme; This recommends full funding for a variety of programmes offered by the Unley Library and a partial funding for a programme offered by COTA.
 Community, Cultural,Recreational and Environment Grants; Items funded include environmental artwork at Goodwood Primary School, various art projects for the young and old throughout the City. Money for festivals and events will include the Millswood Croquet Club to help celebrate their 90th anniversary.
  • Corporate Services Review; This is a review of about 20 policies that exist, only minor changes have been made.
  • Brownhill Keswick Creek Stormwater Management Plan; Council are being asked to sign off on the majority of works in the Draft Plan.These include committing the Councils to start work on the flood mitigation works, agreeing on the cost apportionment (21% for Unley), presenting a strong and united face when seeking necessary federal government funding and pursuing a no dam option if it is viable. The latter is still very arguable and, although I have read the draft, the extra costs and continued possibility of flooding, in my opinion, do not stack up against building the dam. This was passed with Cr Salaman and me voting against it.

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

10 May 2012

Pedestrian Crossing- South Rd

Marion Council have written to Pat Conlon, Minister for Transport to request the installation of a pedestrian overpass near Black Forest Primary School.  They are encouraging Unley to do the same. This is a long overdue project and one that was discussed at length when planning the tram overpass on South Rd. The government are reluctant to approve pedestrian activated crossings on South Rd as they believe this will impede the flow of traffic. However, very few people, especially children, that need to cross South Rd  near the school would walk as far as the tram crossing to cross safely. This is a long overdue project but after reading the budget doom and gloom in the paper today I don't think this project will happen soon. However, the state government will start work immediately to upgrade the pedestrian and cycle crossing on Goodwood Rd at the Glenelg tramline to improve safety at this level crossing. I will ensure that I follow up by ensuring Unley Council follows Marion's lead in this.

09 May 2012

Safety or a Cash Grab?


The link above will take you straight to a further article on the safety camera at Leader St. Nearly 80% of readers think that this is a tax grab only. The comments also make interesting reading. It won't be a cash grab for long if the road and railway lines are separated by an underpass or overpass as described earlier this week. However, if a camera like this has the capacity to save lives it should be supported if it causes no inconvenience to those using the crossing correctly.

07 May 2012

Rail upgrades

 Seems the state govt. must have had little idea what the federal government was planning when they installed the Safety Camera at Leader St. According to today's paper the railway will be under grounded at Leader St, the railway lines will be grade separated along Cromer Pde and the Keswick and Bowden Stations will be upgraded. All this to allow for longer freight trains and, possibly, stacked freight trains in the future. Curiously all of these are in the federal seat of Adelaide. If it was my money I'd be building an underpass at Cross Rd where severe congestion already exists and putting the freight trains through Truro. Sadly, if this project comes to pass this will all but eliminate any further discussion about possible diversions. All of this for  $443million dollars, that really makes Council budget pale to insignificance. This will cause major disrution to residents in Millswood and Goodwood who live near the railway line.

Smoking Bans Imminent

Council will have the power to ban smoking in many of it's public places from the 31st May. The article in today's paper made interesting reading. I called for a report on this matter early last year and not only did Council pick up on it so did the state government. Smoking will be banned at that time from all areas where children play and bus stops. I am waiting for a report from staff as to where staff are up to with preventing smoking in other areas. The comments on the Adelaide Now website are pretty positive. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/power-to-ban-smoking-in-public-areas-by-may-31/comments-e6frea6u-1226348103846

06 May 2012

Farmer's Market ; Goodwood

I went to the market this morning at the invitation of the market manager,  Amanda. The market has gone from strength to strength and now caters for over 5,000 visitors every Sunday between 9am and 1pm. The array of fresh produce is unbelievable as are the value added, but still South Australian grown and manufactured, produce like jams, breads and processed meat. I met Helen from Cottonwood Farm who sells fresh (frozen) raspberries and jam made from her own produce. Management of the market are currently working through the concept of Wednesday evening markets, during daylight saving, to compliment the exiting market. It was good to hear also that unsold produce can be donated to charities that come and pick up the  produce and then redistribute to needy families.

05 May 2012

Bus trip 5th May 2012

Councillors this morning met to tour some of the sites proposed for funding in the 2012/13 budget. We first visited King William Rd to once again revisit the most desirable location for a pedestrian refuge. We the proceeded to the tram coridoor to look at possible regreening . This is a neglected area that was planted when the bikeway was first built but has not been adequately maintained since that time. There is definite room for improvement but would need to be completed in stages, hopefully with additional funding from grant money. If we proceed with this my preference would be to see the area between Goodwood Rd and East Ave tackled first. We then had another look at Kelvin Ave in Clarence Pk, Fergussen Ave in Myrtle Bank, Hacket Reserve and Randolf Ave in Parkside and Fullarton Pk Community Centre grounds. The concept of what constitutes a pocket park is clearly different to each Councillor. In my view it is about creating green space and amenity where the current amenity has much room for improvement.

04 May 2012

Place for More Women on Council

The following article appeared recently in the Eastern Courier. While Goodwood South has the gender balance about right  the Council is not well represented by women.

Place for Mums on Council
STAY-at-home mums should consider standing at the next council elections, Unley Councillor Jennie Boisvert says.

She says the council, with only two women members, is not representative of a crosssection of Unley people.

"I would like to see a council that was a better reflection of its community," Cr Boisvert has told the Eastern Courier Messenger.

"Where are the young women with children?" She made the call as Unley moves to review its ward structure before council elections in 2014.

"I want women in Unley to start thinking about an election that’s two years away," Cr Boisvert said.

"I know a lot of women think they’re too busy, but the reality is you always have the time to fit in the things that are important to you." Women account for 40 per cent and 35 per cent of elected members in Burnside and Mitcham respectively, but make up only 15 per cent in Unley.

"We need to get more women to put their hands up," Cr Boisvert said.

Councils are required to review their ward structures every eight years.

03 May 2012

East Ave Pedestrian Refuge Update

The Road Safety Agenda is now available.  There has been a fair amount of correspondence with DPTI since the Committee deferred a decision to get further information. The new suggestion is to add protuberances in a similar location as previously described (near the corner of Dunrobin St). This would effectively narrow the road width at that location and, therefore, reduce the time needed to cross the road.  The weblink is;     http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/URSC%20Agenda%209%20May%202012%20Internet.pdf

01 May 2012

May 2012 Update

  • Trees Ripon Rd; The dead trees have now been removed and should be replaced later in the season.
  • East Ave Pedestrian Refuge; This has been tweaked a little (I don’t know how much) and will appear on the Road Safety Agenda this month.

  • Merlon Ave; The existing street trees should be removed (if not already) soon and will be replanted with the species selected by residents.

  • Byron Rd; After further staff observation line makings will soon be installed to carefully delineate driveways so that it will be more obvious to visitors where they can and can not park. This also should allow safer exit from many of the driveways.
  • Graffiti; A couple of attacks have been reported recently. Please take a photo of the graffiti and note its location. Send this to me and I will forward to the person at Council who is most likely to get this removed quickly.
  • Mills St; The replacement of the angled slow point (east) and the rejigging of the traffic island at the junction with Goodwood Rd should be completed in July.
  • Hoon Driving; There is evidence in some streets that some people are behaving badly, often late at night. This is a police matter and I encourage you to report it every time it happens. The police may be unlikely to come but they do keep the complaints and sometimes this may assist in an arrest at a later date.
  • Greeways Project; Council is likely to be allocated $3 million to develop a bikeway along the train line (Noarlunga) in conjunction with the rail electrification. This is good news for Goodwood South as most of the money will be spent here. This will also give us an opportunity to tidy up and beatify some of the areas that currently seem unloved e.g. the corner of Gordon and Dryden Rd. It should also lead to safer footpaths along Canterbury Tce and the removal of the boardwalk.

Community of Possibilites

Last night I attended the final briefing session before Council starts consulting with all members of the Community on the development a new Strategic Plan. This time we will be asking all of you what you want for Unley before we write the plan. Too often the plan is written and we are simply asking if you like it or not and allow some tweaking around the edges. This time we want to know where the gaps are in the services we provide and what innovative ideas you have or have seen that would contribute to making Unley a better place to live. We also want to know what services we are providing that you feel are being duplicated by other service providers and which are no longer relevant. The themes that we will ask you to comment on include Emerging, Moving, Living and Greening. You will all get a letter explaining how you can be involved in this process. Council is hoping to get at least 1500 responses from people who live, work in or visit Unley.