31 August 2018

Lone whingers or a lone voice for the silent majority?

Image result for overgrown hedges Clarence ParkThis week's article in the Advertiser got me wondering. I was annoyed that they used a Goodwood Saint's football example as the whingers when this matter is legitimately before the courts.  I am also concerned that people who make genuine complaints are often seen to be whingers. Every time I get an email from residents they have a genuine concern: sometimes I know the answer and sometimes I need to ask Council staff to provide one. I never consider their inquiries to be a bother: I was elected to be a voice for the community and I take that responsibility seriously. However, I am concerned that the state government is gradually whittling away resident's opportunities to express their concerns regarding development.
Sometimes the lone complainant has a genuine concern that is also bothering many people who are not prepared to complain. It's interesting when door knocking, some people have a list just in case you knock and others seem more than happy with just about everything. A hedge that is growing over the footpath has not been a bother enough for anyone to email or call me and yet 2 residents have made the same observations and complaint. The encroachment of the hedge is probably annoying dozens of people every day.

Labor to block rate capping

This legislation, in its present form, is now doomed to failure as both the Greens and Labor have said that the legislation is flawed and that they will not support it. I have said many times in this blog that it is the bill that is flawed and not the concept. Sensible rate increase limitations are a must to reign in rates. But don't be fooled by Adelide City Council's claim to having capped their rates at zero for years. They have capped the rate in the dollar and not individual rates. It Unley had capped the rate in the dollar your rates would have sky rocketted. Sensibly we reduce the rate in the dollar to get only the rate rise we budgetted for.

28 August 2018

Full Council meeting August 27th, 2018

Hoardings can look good?

The following might be of interest:

  • Weller St Bike Boulevard: Approved now that detail has been provided by staff.  PASSED
  • Goodwood Cricket Nets: An additional $10,000 from Council to complete necessary safety changes at the cricket nets, new base, new enclosures and  a flatter surface will reduce the risk of injury to players and passers by. PASSED
  • Lease of property at 18 Trimmer Tce: Now that Kirrinari have vacated the building Council is in need of a tenant prepared to pay a commercial rate. PASSED
  • Hoarding Fees : Council charges commercial developments a fee to install hoarding on public land. Council was prepared to reduce the fee for developments that take a long time but not to the extent that staff had suggested.
  • King William Rd-Detailed Design: the final plan , that has been extensively consulted was approved by Council. This will now proceed to documentation. PASSED
  • On-Street Parking Policy: this has been overhauled after consultation with residents. The new plan will allow for some business parking and make some residential parking available for general use during the day. PASSED
  • Wine Bottle Deposit Legislation: this motion called for support for legislation to include wine bottles in the returnable container legislation. Of Unley recycled waste a remarkable 25% is wine bottles. Taking this out of the waste stream would save Council $65,000 per year and bottle collectors would add over $200,000 to their coffers. PASSED
  • Plastic Straws at Council Events: Cr Schnell asked that they be banned. PASSED

Unley's Tree Canopy

Building cover

Canopy cover
A presentation earlier this week was a little more reassuring than we had been lead to believe. The graph above accurately demonstrates the tree cove since 1979 in Unley. Some of you will remember that in the late seventies and early eighties Council planted nearly all of the current street trees. To some extent anything was good enough, if it was on the truck then it was planted. To this end some streets got Queensland Box others Jacaranda and some even less acceptable looking street trees. But the city greened and flourished and hence the canopy rose steadily on public land until about 10 years ago when those trees started to reach maturity. In the meantime attempts to protect canopy on private land have been overwhelmed by legislation that supports removal and hence we see a steady decline of trees on private land. The canopy has been measured as decreasing from 28% to 24% while these figures show a decrease (in the last few years) from 28% to 27% . Nevertheless the canopy cover at its best was well over 30%.  So how do we encourage residents to plant more trees when block sizes are decreasing and house sizes are increasing?
  • Offer incentives
  • Ensure all removed trees are replaced by 2 trees on the same property (CAPS decide this but not monitored)
  • Plant more trees on public land to compensate
  • Increase trees on footpaths or in the street itself.

18 August 2018

Council elections: Voting

Related image

Do you remember when you had to go to the polling booth to vote? What were the positives and negatives. From my recollection, as a candidate, each booth had to have someone handing out how to vote cards and the turnout was abysmally low. So we now have Postal voting, you have the convenience of getting a ballot in the mail that you have almost 3 weeks to complete and return. The turnout is still about 20%. On-line voting is the next suggestion to increase the turnout, how easy can we make it? It's simply really, just make it compulsory and any method will get a 95% turnout and you'll get the people that you you really want.  The other issue is that local government in South Australia does not have party endorsed candidates and those who only vote on party lines don't really know who to vote for. The independence of each candidate is Council's strength and not a nuisance. Take the time to read the election material, reflect on what your current members have already achieved and VOTE. One last thing I believe the time lines for postal voting are too long. This year nominations are open from the 4th to the 18th Sept. Then you'll know who the candidates really are. The ballots do not get to your letter box until Oct 22nd or later (depending on how tardy Aust Post are) and you then have almost 3 weeks more before the poll closes on Nov 9th. They counted the next day.

Super Foods for Super Ageing

I'm not as old as I used to be
Gain insight into what are some of the best foods for health and nutrition as we age. In this session you can taste test some delicious and nutritious foods and drinks.
Gold coin on entry, bookings essential, phone 8372 5100 or book online. Tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

15 August 2018

Queensland Box: have we seen the last of them?

Image result for Queensland Box street treesI read in this week's paper that Norwood, Payneham and St Peters Council was considering getting rid of all Queensland Box trees as street trees. This species is no longer a preferred street tree in Unley and  makes up about 20% of the tree stock. If we are worried about loss of canopy then getting rid of them all at one time would be  disastrous. Nevertheless, Council does recognise that many people don't like them. Under the current Tree Strategy streets that want them removed can ask Council to do so if all residents agree to the change and are prepared to live through the replacement phase. As far as I am aware no street has managed to meet this criteria.

A busy Sunday

 Last Sunday I spent the morning lettterboxing the final newsletter for this Council term. I couldn't help but be impressed by the level of activity by every club as well as lots of kids in the playground. There remains a tension between oval use and residents that needs to be addressed. The Goodwood Oval Residents Group has done it's best to alleviate many potential issues.

12 August 2018

Community grant funding

The next round of community grant funding for the City of Unley closes at 5pm on Friday 28 September 2018.

Funding will not be available to successful applicants until early January 2019 due to the council elections therefore projects and/or programs that commence prior to 1 January 2019 are not eligible and will not be funded. 

For further information contact:
Application forms and guidelines can be found on Council’s web site:  https://www.unley.sa.gov.au/community-services/grants-sponsorships#hash-slide-community-grants-89

Tunnel vision or genius?

Only time will tell. 
Image result for South Rd Adelaide tunnelThe South Rd upgrade that is the bit from Darlington to the Gallipoli underpass has waited in the wings while various governments have discuss a way forward. This is one of two remaining links that remain unchanged,. I have heard many scenarios including a significant increase in the number or lanes and the access of Black Forest residents to and from South Rd. It seems that one of the problems has been the cost to purchase land on either side of South Rd. This even bit some back of the envelope calculations would significantly add to the cost of construction. But today the new government is prepared to cost a tunnel, that would require far less, if any acquisition.
Imagine the possibilities for South Rd if it were just a suburban street when all this was completed. It might regenerate the shops, let the Glandore kids get safely to Black Forest PS and give everyone else a break from traffic noise. This could be the win: win residents have been looking for, it might even make South Rd the sort of place that apartment living starts to look acceptable.

11 August 2018

Happenings in Clarence Park

  • This link will take you to a great little YouTube clip on that includes the new Colour Court at Page Park.


  • The sign was recently erected at the corner of Mills and  East Ave.  Staff were happy to get at the right angles without realising the spelling was wrong.

  • The Beehive art work is being installed near the fig tree at Goodwood Oval.

07 August 2018

Unley set to be brighter

Image result for LED street lightsAs the final planning takes place for the replacement of all street lights with LED lights the city is set to get brighter. While lights will generally be replaced one a one for one basis the new lights will give a better illumination. Some of this is due to better technology and the rest due to the gradual fading of the existing lighting overtime. Some streets will also have their lighting upgraded and additional lighting will be installed in dark spots if the light can be attached to existing infrastructure. The cost saving for electricity alone will be over $365,000 each year. The ghastly orange illumination on Unley main roads will become whiter. Unfortunately, the DPTI owned roads will stay the same. may be until DPTI sees the light?

Goodwood Saints kicking goals for the homeless

It was  great to read another good news story about this club. The Goodwood Saints have teamed with the Hutt St Centre to offer placements at the club's canteen for  people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The skills loaned in hospitality and making coffee may well be a starting point for each individual in gaining employment. Well done!

Their application for a new scoreboard, funded through Fund My Neighbourhood, will be shortly consulted as a Category 3 application.

04 August 2018

SALA on Saturday 25th August

The Goodwood Road Business Association is holding a SALA event in August that I am pleased to share below:
Gilbert Street and Goodwood Road
SALA on Saturday will wrap up SALA Month with free kid's arty activities on the footpath, face painting, art and craft, balloon art, community art projects, plus a sausage sizzle.  This event is sponsored through Council’s Economic Development event sponsorship program and is owned and managed by the Goodwood Road Business Association.  Gilbert Street will host “Where Art Meets Food and Wine” as part of this event from 12noon to 4pm
I encourage you to join this fantastic community celebration.

02 August 2018

Would you really save $500?

This is the saving that Minister Knoll estimates that would have been saved on your Council rates if rate capping had been imposed 10 years ago. This sounds good but it assumed a 6% rate rise every year during that time. Unley's rates certainly haven't increased by this amount in a long time. I can find statistics that show that housing prices in Unley (suburb) have increased approx 70% in the last 5 years (725K to 900K) and that rates have incresed 52% in the last 10 years.
The bit that was missed is that even with a capped rate of say 2% your rates could go up more or less than this depending on how much your home increased in value at the same time. If your home increases in value more than the rate increase then your capped rates will still go up by more than 2%!
One last thing, if you actually were paying $500 less what would you want to take out of the budget so that it can still be balanced? I know some would start at the Gourmet Gala (I think it will have run its course next year) but what are you going to cut  to get the other $8,700,000 out of?