31 January 2019

Full Council meeting : Jan 29th 2019

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The following Agenda items may be of interest;

  • Selection of the CEO Performance Review Panel: The members of this panel are Mayor Hewitson, Cr Russo and  Cr Hughes.

    • Parking restrictions in Charles St: when Council introduced 3 hour parking controls recently they received this restriction at all times. Residents have asked for this to be reduced to be from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
    • Establishment of the Audit Committee; Cr Monica Broniecki and Kay Annastasiadis were elected to this committee. Council will call for independent nominations soon, there are 3 vacancies. PASSED
    • 2018/19 Conservation grants; Council will distribute $50,000 in conservation grants to residents who applied for assistance in restoring their heritage properties. These include pruning trees, replacing verandas, repointing of stone, new gutters and roofs and replacement of a picket fence. Council will pay for a little less than half the cost up to $5,000 for any one property. PASSED
    • Expression of interest to host a Tour Down Under stage start/finish: Following the success of this years events and given that 2020 will be the 20th anniversary for the City of Unley involvement this PASSED. We will still need to discuss the future of the Gourmet Gala
    • Disclosure of Political affiliation of council candidates for election; Cr Dodd put this as a Motion on Notice: it was supported by all members. Still needs legislative change for this to happen. PASSED
    • 125th Anniversary of Women's suffrage; Cr Russo asked that Council apply for a grant to celebrate this event. PASSED
    • Selection of Council Assessment Panel members: The new members will be informed and this matter made public quite soon. I was elected as the Council Rep and Cr Wright as a reserve should I be absent

    28 January 2019

    Dogs and balls

    Image result for page park clarence parkOne of the hardest things we have to manage as Councillors is the relationship that we encourage between the users of the same facility. Sometimes,  this is comparatively easy as the area being used or hired is easily defined eg a room at Clarence Park Community Centre . At other times it becomes very difficult. You may remember that lack of consensus between the Millswood Bowls and Millswood Croquet, where Council wished to provide joint club room facilities, was unsuccessful. Goodwood Oval seems to have a good consensus between the football, cricket, hockey, play and barbecue  areas and the dog walkers. This has been enhanced by the Goodwood Oval Reference Group and the way that they have encouraged communication between the users and the residents.
    More recently Page Park has experienced disharmony between the tennis players, the dog walkers, the uses of the fitness equipment and hirers of the facility. Don and I met with some people on Saturday and will work with staff  to try to mange a way forward where all users can feel safe, exercise with enjoyment and enjoy the beauty of the park.

    27 January 2019

    Listening Posts with Nicole Flint

    Image result for nicole flint husbandNicole is the Member for Boothby in the current Federal Liberal government.  Much of Clarence Park Ward (all of Clarence Park, Black Forest and Millswood (west of the Belair line)) has now been included in this electorate and you will need to consider which party and which candidates will deliver the best value in the upcoming Federal election. She promised at my recent meeting with her that she would be seeking input from the local community in the near future. To this end she has organised Listening Posts for next Sunday (3rd Feb) at 1:00pm at the Dora Guild playground and 1:30pm at Goodwood Oval playground. Hope to see you there. Regards, Jennie

    Turning roads white for a cooler future.

    Image result for cool seal road coatingIn recent discussions over the road surface for King William Road I pushed at every opportunity that Council investigate and consider as an option white bitumen. At a conference I attended in 2017 I listened to a very interesting presentation on the installation of this product in a city in NSW. But my suggestion was to no avail and the preferred surface is currently brick pavers.
    I read in the Sunday Mail this morning of a trial in Charles Sturt and Salisbury of a road cooling coating that has been applied in selected streets. The coating can be up to 15 degrees cooler than untreated bitumen. It is not surprising that on a recent 41C day that  the bitumen was 53C, fake turf 64C, concrete path 52C, paving 65C (31C when shaded by trees), rubber matting commonly used in playgrounds was 65C. On the other had irrigated grass was only 21C. The Councils are hoping that the cooler road will result in cooler homes that need less artificial cooling and their gardens will require less water. More information can be found here.
    I was reminded of just how hot fake turf gets when my little granddaughter was playing on the Glenelg foreshore this morning. The fake grass on the upside of the slide was a pleasant temperature when she began the first climb, just 5 climbs later I had to pick her up to prevent her feet from burning.

    26 January 2019


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    If you love tea, join us on Valentine's Day for a truly delicious tea tasting workshop! 

    Love Tea -  Tasting Workshop
    Thursday 14th February 2.30-4pm, Unley Museum
    If you love tea join us for a Valentine's Day romance with your favourite brew. Local expert Stu Hay (the Tea Catcher) will take you through the basics of tea tasting.

    Tea Blending Workshop 
    Sunday 3 March 2019, 3-4.30pm, Unley Museum
    Tea blending workshop with Belinda Hellyer (Brewed by Belinda)
    Bookings are essential, book online here or phone 8372 5100

    Visit our tea exhibition Tea Inspired, about all things tea!  Open until April 2019.  

    Visit or contact museum@unley.sa.gov.au for enquiries.

    24 January 2019

    Mindset for Life: Positive aging

    Mindset for Life has been created by people who have recently retired or transitioned into something like retirement, and are wondering what to do next. It is designed to help people create an inspiring and achievable roadmap for themselves moving forward. People often say that it is a challenging time to work out who you are and what you want to do with your time.

    Mindset for Life runs over two sessions, each lasting about 2.5 hours. The sessions give you the time and the tools to reflect and work out where you are on your ‘retirement’ journey and what you might need to transition to what’s next for you. The sessions are run in a small informal group of peers and are coordinated by someone who has already undertaken the course for themselves.

    We are running a ‘taster’ session of 1.5 hours for participants to find out more before they commit to the full program.

    Taster Session: Feb 18th 6:30 – 8pm in the Unley Town Hall
    Workshops: February 25th and 28th, 1-4pm Unley Library
    Cost: Free

    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

    Image result for bottled water

    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?

    Image result for redcycle adelaide

    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.