15 October 2018

Freight train diversion

Image result for globelink saThis matter raised awareness again during the state election campaign with the elected government promising to fund a study called Globelink that would see both road and rail freight diverted from Murray Bridge to north of Adelaide. The following link has a more detailed story. The project would also include moving freight by air. https://www.saglobelink.com.au/freight_corridor 
The diversion of freight would make the amenity of those living near the line better and allow for a regular passenger train service to Mt Barker.

14 October 2018

Corflutes; do we really need them?

Friday was the first day that corflutes were allowed to be put up in this election campaign. There seems to be a plethora of them advertising for one Mayoral candidate and a few for hopeful ward councillors. While the corflutes do nothing to enhance the character of the city, I wonder if they result in increased votes for the candidates concerned. And what a waste of plastic as they are single use. Unlike state corflutes where they can use younger images (and can recycle),  in local government the photo should be less that 12 months old. I looked carefully at them all and it reinforced my view that they are unnecessary in any campaign. They are worse in state and federal elections even when they might as well be blue, red or green as people generally vote for the party and not the candidate.

13 October 2018

Dads, Lads & Daughters

Dads, Lads & Daughters
Playtime is an excellent way to help your child's development, and research shows that Dads appear to be the key factor in their child's physical activity levels. This program involves a series of games to develop fundamental movement skills (running, jumping, throwing, catching, kicking and striking).

So come along, have some fun, and spend some quality Dad/Lad/Daughter time together. You can attend one, several or all of the sessions. For ages 5 - 9 years.

For more information, please contact deb.agnew@flinders.edu.au.

This program is funded by an Unley City Council Community Grant and run by Flinders University.

FRIDAY 2 NOVEMBER, 5.30 - 6.30PM
Free, bookings essential, book via Facebook or book online

12 October 2018

Double Shot is back on Sunday 4th Nov

The Double Shot Coffee Fiesta will once again be hosted by the City of Unley and presenting partner Milk Lab – suppliers of quality milk and non-dairy products to cafes throughout Australia.

What: Double Shot Coffee Fiesta
When: Sunday, November 4, 10am to 4pm
Where: Soldiers Memorial Gardens, Unley Road, Unley SA

For more information, please visit the event’s Facebook page (facebook.com/doubleshotcoffeefiesta) or the City of Unley website unley.sa.gov.au.

11 October 2018

Glyphosate : time to try new options

Image result for glyphosate

A resident has asked me to put a motion to Council early in the new year if I am re-elected. Her complaint was about the heavy use of glyphosate to kill weeds on council land. This chemical has received some bad press this week and rightly so. It is already banned for use in the USA and may European countries. My undertaking is  that I will ask that Council staff investigate the use of this chemical and report back on alternative methods of killing weeds. I understand that Adelaide Hills Council is currently trialling a program that use steam.

Confidence in recycling slips!

A new report has found that people are increasingly losing confidence in recycling. New research  has uncovered systemic flaws in recycling services across Australia.

Most people, across all states and demographics, believe the recyclables they put out in their council bins are ending up in landfill.

While this is not entirely true there are rising stockpiles and some is ended up in landfill. 

We need to wait 7 years ( until 2025) for a new National Waste Policy that will ensure that all packaging is re-usable, compostable or recyclable. However, green micro factory technology is already available and could be used to convert common waste into re-useable, high value materials

What I do know is that waiting for China to find a solution to our waste is not a long term solution.
 For the full report click here.

10 October 2018

Let the neighbours have a say!

This was not what people wanted on Unley Rd

Following a few articles in this week's paper. My thoughts are as follows

  • Let the state government set the bigger picture for where they want development (because they will anyway) then
  • Let Councils decide individually how that will achieve the desired outcome
  • Let Councils work with their residents to come up with sensible heights, sensible block sizes, reasonable access to sunlight (currently in Unley that's 2 hours of direct sunshine per day on your northern windows in June) and setbacks.
  • When a development application is lodged and it breaks any of the agreed rules then the proposal should run the gamut of the opinion of neighbours (usually the 8 nearest neighbours). The Council Assessment Panel (that now has 5 members, of whom only one is a Councillor) will then listen to what the neighbours have to say and make a decision based on the agreed planning rules
  • Problems will continue to arise as people wish to build on boundaries, build a second storey addition and/or install solar panels and it is these that the CAP makes decisions about
People banded together can be very powerful.  Without such people power heritage as we now know it would have been depleted in the 1980's. Character zones in Black Forest would now be receiving applications for 3 storey town houses (as is happening along Fullarton Rd).

07 October 2018

My response to FOCUS

I have been asked to write 100 words about my views on Unley. However, I will keep this to heritage and connservation matters:

I was instrumental in getting the successful submission for listing (Local Government register) of hundreds of houses in 2010
  • I worked with and supported the classification of neighbourhoods as Heritage Conservation Areas and Character zones
  • I have continued to support the Heritage Conservation scheme that gives grants toward the restoration of heritage listed and heritage zoned houses
  • I have restored 3 dwellings that fall into the above categories
  • I also support the retention of the tree canopy and would support lobbying state government to deliver meaningful ways that it can legislate to achieve an increase to their desired 32%.

Please don't be the 29%!

The left hand column gives the best comparison.

'The people have spoken' according to the Sunday Mail and  have made some observations about local government. These include:

  • 60% saying that they vote in Council elections and yet only 31% voted in 2014 (in Unley it was even lower than this) . So please don't be that 29% that intend to vote but don't. Vote for those people who have dropped a flier in your letter box, have knocked on your door (even if you were not home), have a record of achievement and are community minded.
  • 66% agree that voting in Local Government elections should not be compulsory
  • 66% are in favour of council mergers. Check out the rate in the dollar in other areas as well as the average rate and see if it is cheaper to live in larger Councils. You'll find it's much dearer to live in Playford that Unley.
  • 40% think we should get rid of it all together and another 20% would rather get rid of state government
  • 75% are in support of rate capping. I'm in support of minimising rate increases but not with an additional layer of bureaucracy that the current state government proposes that will add to costs for no additional benefit.

05 October 2018


If you're a tea enthusiast get Tea Inspired
In November we will be launching an exhibition about all things tea!  There will be tea related activities, tea inspired artwork by Tristan Louth-Robins and Ray Harris, a special Unley Museum tea blend to taste and much more.   
Join us for the launch. Local expert Stu Hay will be hosting an introduction to tea tasting and we'll throw a tea party to celebrate!
Sunday, 25th November, 3-5pm
Unley Museum
80 Edmund Avenue, Unley

04 October 2018

Dying trees in Aroha Tce

This might help?
Many of you will have noticed that the iron bark trees on Aroha Tce, near the corner of East Ave, appear to be dying. It is evident that they have most likely been poisoned. Staff have been assessing the trees and the loss of amenity to the area if they do not survive. At this point it is likely to be a police matter and staff are monitoring the health of the trees.

02 October 2018

My promise to you: 2018

  • Improved traffic  management in Clarence Park and all areas East of East Ave: following the results of the recently completed survey of residents Councillors will be able to look at the recommendations and decide on an implementation order. After door knocking all of this area I've got a much better idea of what people want.
  • Advocating with Department of Planning and Infrastructure as the South Rd upgrade comes closer; the manner in which this upgrade takes place is a matter for concern for most residents. I hope that their will be an advocacy role for your elected members in tweaking the plan and ensuring, as best we can, the traffic diversion into local streets is minimised
  • Good governance practises: equity, communication, effectiveness, accountability,efficiency, transparency, responsiveness and the rule of law need to drive council to deliver concensus driven, free from corruption in a democratic manner.
  • Completion of the facilities at Goodwood Oval, including the club rooms and a score board: there remains some concern regarding the building of this facility especially from residents that live closest. This is still being worked on by architects who need to produce a plan that is within budget. Once completed, the plan will go to Council, then residents for comment, then the Council Assessment Panel. Liquor licensing and hours of use will be dealt with later when lease agrees and drawn up with the clubs.
  • Consultation with all interested parties regarding the future use of the hockey field: This will be consulted with residents well before the hockey moves to its new facilities. Ideas will be sort from residents and clubs.
  • The building of new club rooms for Millswood Croquet; this needs to be kept simmering so the the good work already done can be developed into a functional plan that is deliverable. Clubs, such as this one fit well into Council's Active Aging Policy and need to be ready to attract external funding if and when it becomes available.
  •  Landscaping upgrades in streets including identifying more places for street trees: this is self evident and yet there are hundreds of spots where additional plantings could occur.
  • Identifying sites where trees that have the potential to become significant  can be planted: on my walk this morning I noted how healthy the 3 trees, that have the potential to become significant, are that were planted on the walkway, Cranbrook to Victoria. It shows what can be done. There are many other sites that could grow such trees and have better landscaping. I note that the landscaping along the Cromer Pde is in need of more suitable plantings in may places.
  • Continuing to protect Black Forest and Clarence Park from smaller block sizes and higher building intensity: The state governments Better Development planning, many of the details that are currently unknown or being developed may pose a future threat to block sizes and allow greater infill development.
  • Continuing support of the graffiti removal program: I noted how well volunteers are keeping up with the painting out of graffiti. However, areas inside the train corridor must be done by government workers, hence are much slower in their response times. The area next to the freight trains must be done by ARTC and have been painted out a few times in the last 20 years or so. I will meet with Nicole Flint, member for Badcoe, soon to get an undertaking for this work to be done.
  • Implementing LED lighting upgrades in all streets; This is fully funded in the current budget and will result in brighter street. Council will also identify ares that  need additional lighting
  •  Identifying more sites suitable for murals:  have had a great discussion regarding the Sugar and Spice wall but there are many others that would add to the vibrancy  of Clarence Park
  • Improving consultation processes: Closing the loop when complaints are made is imperative but still too often does not occur. This still needs to be 
  • Activation activities for everyone; young and old need to get out more and do stuff. it is heartening to see the use of the fitness equipment at Page Park and the parks for children's play, exercise  and dog walking. We still need to address the fact that the start time  start for off-leash walking needs to start earlier in the winter. 

30 September 2018

Door Knocking

Image result for cartoon door knock for politics

I've been knocking on doors now for at least a month and look lie I might get to every house before your ballots arrive. If I don't my, sincere apologies. I have two weeks off work so will be out  from 3pm to 6pm everyday. So what have I found out so far:

  • That it is great to be out chatting to people and listening to what they have to say
  • The newsletter that Don and I put out about three times a year is appreciated and most residents  read it
  • That my bog is well read by many 
  • There are a plethora of minor issues that I have needed to send on to council staff to action
  • Two trees are dying in Aroha Tce
  • That most people are grateful  for the work that we do and are happy in the way that it is done
  • That there are a few (very  few) people that take the opportunity to be rude, without being constructive
  • That speed and parking remain people's greatest concern. Some of this will be addressed when the feedback form the Clarence Park Local Area Traffic Management Plan is analysed and debated
  • Its a pleasure to talk education issues with those who are interested. There are significant concerns about the zoning of Millswood and some of Clarence Park remaining in the Pasadena zone . See map here.

Major achievments expanded

Image result for paved footpaths Unley

In my election material, the first of which was letterboxed today and will be completed by Sunday afternoon has a list of achievements in which I was integral to getting things done. For those who are interested the detail is as follows;

  • All footpaths paved; In 2006 I put a motion to Council asking for additional funds to be allocated to paving footpaths. Council agreed and the footpaths are now complete. This was some 15 years ahead of schedule.
  • Pedestrian activated crossing on Goodwood Rd: this was completed in 2011 after 20 years of effort to improve safety and traffic flow.
  • Re-opening of Millswood Station: I worked with John Gasper and  a small group to lobby state government to re-open the station. In 2015 this became a reality.
  • Saving Orphanage Park from redevelopment: Tabor College, in 1996 proposed to buy the then state owned land to build a new university on the Goodwood Rd fronted oval. Jane Brooks and I appealed the decision to allow development and spent many sessions in the ERD Court before the government was persuaded to sell the heritage buildings to tabor College. later Council purchased the land.
  • Local Area Traffic Management Plan and Implementation in Black Forest; My co-councillor and I saw this as a priority when he was first elected. Changes made were the pedestrian crossings on East Ave, additional yellow lines and the reversal of the stop sign on the corner or East Ave and Aroha Tce
  • No smoking at Council events, playgrounds and outdoor cafes: when first elected members smoked inside the Council Chambers. From there with my insistence and various motions smoking was banned in and around all council buildings and then later again in playgrounds and  cafes. This now includes the Gourmet Gala and the Adelaide Show
  • Heritage protection for Millswood: I encouraged the then CEO to prioritise
  • New  playground facilities in Dora Guild and Princess Margaret Playgrounds: These were publicly consulted to get the best outcome for the community. New toilets were built in both Dora Guild and Page Park
  • Zero tolerance to illegal dumping: An innovative program was developed when I worked with Les Birch. While some illegal dumping still happens its prevalence has diminished.
  • Funding for the new Goodwood Oval grandstand: My co-councillor and I worked with Council and lobbied state government  for our spade ready project to be funded. The now labor member for Badcoe, Jayne Stimson, secured two and a half million dollars for this project 
  • Murals in prominent places: It was my instigation that had a mural program added to the Council arts policy
  • Zoning protection for Black Forest, Clarence Park and Millswood; After lobbying and door knocking residents are after forced government rezoning proposal over 85% of residents responded and zoning remained unchanged. 
  • Fiscal responsibility: Keeping rate lows is important and I have consistently voted to keep rates at CPI plus growth. In the last 10 years Unley rates have increased 52% compared to many other councils where they have increased 74%.

Crochet Crew

Image result for crochet street art
Do you love to crochet, or have you always wanted to learn? If so, then join a friendly group once a month to learn and share crochet skills, hints and tips. Be inspired to try new techniques and meet others who also share an interest in the craft.
Free, bookings essential, phone 8372 5100 or book online.
Tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

27 September 2018

Clarence Park Community Centre AGM

I am proudly associated with this Centre after being welcomed to the Board in 1995 when first elected to Council. I chaired the broad for many years form  about 2000 until 2006. I attended their AGM yesterday and wanted to share some statistics with you:

  • 57 users of Playgroup each week
  • 70,500 visitors last financial year
  • 33,602 hours of childcare provided last year
  • Recycled 5,843 kg of e-waste
  • 1,025 puzzle piece repaired or replaced by The Shed
  • 2,696 users in the Strength for Life program.
The centre is well run and a great place to spend some time at.

No room in Local Government for politics

Image result for politics at local council cartoon

Following the article in The Advertiser this week and by the ABC there seems to be plenty of discussion. It seems that future politicians use local government to cut their teeth and retired politicians because they still want to be active in this forum. Either way this group is likely to have strong political allegiances. However, contrary to what you might see interstate, there is little or no party politics in South Australian  councils. It is good to know that each item a policy passes or fails on its merit and not on what the party room decided before the meeting. This would make a mockery of genuine debate where, even, though well informed, decisions are made by individuals based on what they see and hear in the debate. However, insisting that party membership is declared and public on nomination is also a good idea and should be pursued. The link to the ABC article is (here)

Full Council meeting: Sept 24th, 2018

Even then it looked like it needed a makeover.

 Now that the Council is in caretaker mode no decisions can be made that involves spending large amounts of money. The following may be of interest;

  • Deputation from Steph Key, former Member for Ashford (now Badcoe) regarding the outcomes of the consultation about beautifying the Goodwood underpass. There were quite a few submissions with everyone wanting something to be done. The overall picture that people wanted was a green environment if it could be created. This will come back to Council in the new year for further direction. 
  • Tree canopy cover assessment:This asked for Council to pursue opportunities to increase the canopy cover in both the public and private realm. Much of the issue is tied up with state government legislation and this may need to change in the first instance. The other is to ensure that for every tree lost that two are planted to replace it. At my instigation Council are now recording and following up all Development Applications that involved the removal of a significant tree to ensure that the agreed replacement trees have been planted and are healthy. PASSED
  • Under grounding of power lines; given the successful under grounding of the power lines on Goodwood Rd, Council will pursue and prioritise other streets including Highgate Village (Fullarton Rd), King William Rd (north) and Glen Osmond Rd. PASSED

24 September 2018

Should police checks be mandatory for Councillors?

Image result for cartoon police checks

I read a short article on this the other day. It recommended that all elected members would have to have a police check before they could start work as an elected member. I pondered on if this were necessary or warranted. It would be fair to say I probably wouldn't want to have to work with a mass murderer or allow fiscal responsibility to someone found guilty of fraud. Nevertheless, surely if this was warranted it should be available before being able to nominate? In my work these checks are done before we reregister every 3 years, so if I'm still employed I must have met the threshold. That being said we've managed quite nicely without and rarely get to see small children or handle the money directly.

23 September 2018

Do you hate your dolomite verge?

Image result for green verges Unley

Greening Verges are back for 2018! Unley residents and organisations are now eligible to apply for a Greening Verges Incentive to assist in greening their verge (nature strip).
For a limited number of successful applicants, Council will remove existing dolomite and replace with 100mm depth of soil at no cost, leaving the verges ready for planting.

Applications are available online or hardcopies at the Council Civic Centre. Applications close on Monday 15 October, but don't delay as spots will be allocated on a ‘first qualified in, first served’ basis. 
Please note that applicants must agree to source and pay costs associated with plants, planting the verge and ongoing maintenance.

Council encourages residents to take ownership of their verge areas as this enhances our streetscapes and the kerb appeal of residences throughout the City.
In addition to extra greenery, landscaping a verge contributes in many positive ways by:
  • providing a healthier environment for street trees
  • softening the effect of hard surfaces such as roads and footpaths
  • improving air quality
  • working at natural air conditioners through moisture in leaves
  • reducing stormwater run-off, and
  • providing habitat for small creatures like bees and butterflies.
Need Some Verge Garden Inspiration?
Our display verges at Edmund Avenue showcase a variety of plants and treatments that you could use to transform your verge into an attractive garden feature.
Take a stroll down Edmund Avenue, Unley and be inspired by contemporary, cottage, natural and formal layout examples, including different path ideas. All meet the guidelines of safe plant choices and low plant heights to ensure good sight lines for road users. A matching planting guide with suggested plant species is also available.