19 January 2019

Successful Gourmet Gala

This week's Gourmet Gala was as successful as ever with thousands of people attending. However, now is the time to reflect on the event and if Council should continue to spend so much money on a single event. Unfortunately, I missed the start on Friday morning as I had family stuff to organise.

Footpath repairs getting done

I have received many positive comments from residents where the footpaths are being repaired. I happened to see this one yesterday. Given that the footpath replacement program is all but complete there it will be possible to put more money in the budget to get all footpaths to a higher standard with fewer and lower trip hazards.

GlobeLink: where are they up to?

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I had a good conversation yesterday with Nicole Flint, Member for Boothby which now encompasses nearly all of the Clarence Park Ward.
 GlobeLink is the project to divert  freight trains and large vehicles from travelling from Murray Bridge into the city to take a detour near Monarto. This would take all heavy vehicles off Portrush Rd and /or Cross Rd and all freight trains movements out of Unley
The current state Liberal government has commissioned a $20 million study into the benefits of doing this looking  at a range of factors that the previous 2010 study failed to cover. Many of these are environmental and health benefits as well as an economic benefit. Once this study is completed Federal funds may be available to complete the project. Nicole intends to hold some public forums locally to better inform residents early this year.

17 January 2019

Planning Development Applications regulations changes to be consulted

Image result for cartoon minor development planning These changes could include;

  • A sign outside a place that has lodged a development application
  • 15 days to make a representation (up from 10)
  • 20 days to do this for more complex developments
  • More people able to express their opinion, not just the neighbours
  • Approvals automatic if Councils take too long
  • Fast tracking of minor developments like cubby houses
I'm not quite sure how this will unlock investment but the government believes that it will. This entire procedure in counter to what what was originally proposed (you get the zoning right and we'll get it done) but is pleasing that someone might have listened to what people have been saying.

16 January 2019

How to report an issue?

Council now has an easier method to report and issue. All you need to do is go to the Council website  and Log into My Unley. If you are a first time user you will need to register. This will bring up an option to report an issue. All you need to do after that is to select the type of issue and fill in the details of what you feel needs to be done. This is an ideal way to report the location of a pothole, that a limb has fallen on the footpath, etc. Your inquiry will be acknowledged, you will be told within a few days how the matter will be resolved/managed and let know when the work has been completed. This portal has been set up to try to provide the best possible customer satisfaction. If you don't feel comfortable doing this then let me know what the issue is and I can do it for you. Alternatively , you can still raise the issue by emailing pobox1@unley.sa.gov.au
The Council website

A close up of the My Unley portal

Report an Issue

09 January 2019

Gourmet Gala on 17th January

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Make sure you keep next Thursday evening free to check out the Gourmet Gala. It should be buzzing by 6pm. It's a great evening to catch up with friends and neighbours, to share a drink and some good food. If you're also free on the morning of the 18th the Tour start is more low key but still worth attending, you actually get to see the bikes and riders.

08 January 2019

Railway works this week

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DPTI will be doing maintenance works this week between Millswood and Belair on the Belair line. These works, by DPTI's admission, may be quite noisy. While that won't affect the train services it may affect your sleep as works will be undertaken between 1:30 am and 5am between the 7th and 11th January. They will be improving safety on the platforms and line marking the pedestrian mazes.

Bring your own bottle

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Attached to my most recent water bill this week was a nice message encouraging the use of SA Water over bottled water. This follows from a recent article I read about the rise in tooth decay in young children for not being given tap water to drink, (fluoridated).
So what's so good about tap water?

  • Boosts immunity
  • Healthier
  • Less than 40% of water bottles are recycled
  • Costs less (1 cent per litre)
  • Safe, clean and reliable
  • Bottling water creates 60,00 tons of greenhouse gases
My personal gripe is that it is almost as expensive as Coke and yet costs almost nothing to produce. However,  there are times when buying a bottle of drink is the only option available and that it should always be the cheapest option in the fridge.  This would be an easy thing to change if we wanted it to.

06 January 2019

Secret Council documents

So why the secrecy? Councillors must make decisions from time to time that are in an Agenda that is confidential, minutes that are confidential and are debated in private. Usually the Agenda for the meeting describes the motion in non specific terms, as an example Property Acquisition or CEO Performance. Council must decide first of all if they agree with the staff recommendation and then after debate what amount of the discussion that  is confidential and for how long.
Generally the topics are about :
# CEO Performance and remuneration
# Recommendations for committee membership. Council is currently considering selecting new independent members for the Council Assessment Panel and will make recommendations to fill these positions at its January meeting.
# Legal advice on a range of topics
# Legal action. As an example for felling trees without consent, defending an applicants appeal against a Development Application refusal, persistent noon payment of rates, etc.
# When comparing tenders for larger projects. As an example the price that Council pays for GAP water is still confidential.
# When the reputation of an individual might be at stake.
# Buying and selling property
# Property development.

04 January 2019

What to Redcycle: recycle?

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This really sorts out what to do with all the little soft plastic stuff that you can't currently put in the yellow bin. You can collect it and put in a receptacle at your local supermarket (Woolworths at Unley and Cumberland Park and Coles at Unley ). Plastics that can be recycled in this way include bread wrappers, rice and pasta bags, glad wrap, all plastic bags: if its plastic and scrunchable.

03 January 2019

Can we beat the heat by planting a tree?

Today's paper had an article with this theme. The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects largely mirrored the view I gave yesterday. I found the above map  and remember the discussion that went with it when presented to Council.  The map quite clearly shows the urban corridors as being hotter than residential areas. It also shows the suburbs that we think of as being greener as cooler and Goodwood Oval and  Millswood Lawns as the coolest places in Clarence Park. The recommendation that trees be assigned dollar values also picks up on the same theme. It would inevitably get those who wish to remove trees to weigh up the dollar value plus the cost of removal against the improved amenity in a different light. Even the higher values, however,  may add so little percentage wise to big developments that any trees would still be at risk. It is interesting to note that several trees remain on the Arcadia site (Anzac Hwy to Third Ave) and may be retained.

02 January 2019

Block subdivisions

Image result for Clarence Park townhousesBlack Forest residents are increasingly concerned about the two for one developments, or up to five for one as in Addison Rd, that seem to be occurring with increased frequency. The minimum block size is 350 square metres which means that anything larger than 700 square metres can easily be subdivided.  It is relatively easy to gain development approval for demolition of non contributory houses or ones is disrepair (no longer economically viable to restore) or for hammerhead development (keep the house and build in the back yard). The latter option retains street scape but not amenity. On my Facebook account I am now often getting boosted posts for companies either wishing to sell me an apartment or subdivide land. The options always look attractive but often do not live up to what residents want. With some exceptions, and I knocked on almost every door during the election campaign, the new dwellings are  seen by their neighbours as attractive.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well the new dwelling at eastern end of Dryden Rd looked on what had been a seen as a difficult site.

Tree canopy: can we change it?

Trees planted at Goodwood Junction.

I've received a few emails in recent days with comments about Unley's tree canopy. You may remember an earlier blog on this topic. First thing, the state government controls the legislation by which council must comply. This government has imposed legislation that now fails to protect almost all trees that are within 10 metres of a structure of value (with a few exceptions). A structure of value is usually interpreted as a house, not a fence or shed.
So if I buy a block of land that can be subdivided but has a tree or two where I might choose to build I have two choices: to work around the trees as they will add value to the new property or to apply to remove them as it would be too expensive to work around them. Alternatively, I submit plans where the trees are closer to the houses (within 10 metres) and then once the houses are built apply to remove them as they are then unprotected.
The recent spate of applications in Clarence Park (Clarence Park and Black Forest) are alarming but there will be little Council can do as they must  work within the legislation.
Residents can work with us to add more strength to the soon to be reviewed Tree Strategy which, hopefully, will also recommend legislative change. Council can take more educative approach when working with residents and developers and can also continue to find places where trees that have the potential to become significant can be planted. Council can also ensure that if trees are legally removed that the replacement trees are planted and maintained.