The tree for removal has a blue sign on the trunk.  It is unaffected by power lines.

The Inner West Council has given notice of their intention to remove a Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) outside 7 Hilltop Avenue Marrickville dated 7 October 2017.

They give the following reasons –

  • “The tree is structurally compromised & has multiple trunk defects. These defects will increase size as the tree matures & further impact the sustainability of the tree.
  • The tree in its current state presents an unacceptable risk to the public & property.”

The trunk defeats are easy to see.  It is a shame that this tree needs to be removed.

Council says they will replace with 2 x advanced-sized Coastal Banksias (banksia integrifolia), but not when they will do this.

Replacing two for one tree is great & I thank Council for this.  Small changes like this will build on our urban forest.

Coastal Banksia is native to the east coast of Australia.  It will reach heights between 4-15 metres & produces flowers from late summer to winter.  It is a food source for nectar-eating birds, seed-eating birds, insects & possums.

No deadline for submissions was given, but up to now it has always been 3-weeks from notification.  If you have something to say contact the Tree Manager.

Showing the “trunk defects.”

 

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Darley Street Playground. The 3 trees for removal have blue signs on them and are on the right of this photo.

A new Inner West Council & now a new way of putting up tree removal notifications or is this just a one off?

Council’s Notice of Removal now starts with a date – presumably the date they put the notice on their website.  The Notice of Removal includes no information about the deadline for submissions.  It does give reasons why the tree/s are up for removal & what they will replace with, but no information as to when the replacement trees will be planted.  Neither is there any invitation to contact the Tree Manager to discuss, as was the norm previously.  These are significant changes & not much about consultation.

Council have given notice of their intention to remove 3 x Grey gums (Eucalyptus punctata) in the Darley Street Playground, Darley Street Newtown dated 26th September 2017.

They give the following reasons –

  • “3 trees are proposed for removal.
  • One tree is dead & the other two have significantly declined in health, & their structural integrity has been compromised.
  • The trees present an unacceptable risk to the public & property.”

There are 4 Grey gums in this small playground.  All trees have been severely pruned when young & all have grown into what I consider a long trunk with a lollipop canopy.  Two of the trees lean towards a neighbouring house.

Council says they will replace with  –

  • An advanced-sized Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) &
  • An advanced-sized Sydney Red Gum (angophora costata).

The Illawarra flame tree is a deciduous tree native to coastal rainforests from central NSW to far north Queensland.  It develops clusters of red bell shaped flowers spring-summer.  They may not flower every year, but when they do they can look spectacular.  The flame tree is regarded as a small to medium-sized tree, though in perfect growing conditions can reach 35-metres in height.  Nectar-eating wildlife love this tree when in flower & so do most Sydney-siders.

The Sydney red gum is native to the Sydney Basin & along the NSW coast.  They can reach approximately 25-meters in height.  The bark is a lovely salmon/pink that gradually turns grey.  It produced large bunches of white flowers over the summer months, which is good food for nectar-eating wildlife.  It grows well on rocky outcrops & can develop a gnarled & twisted appearance, which is much loved by many.

I think these are great choices for this playground & will add much in the way of beauty to this space.

Another of Council’s changes is the Notification of Removal signs on the trees.  These are a great improvement on what was used previously.  They are easy to read & provide good information to the community.  I thank Council for this.  I also thank Council for continuing to use sticky tape to attach the signs to the trees.

No deadline for submissions was given, but up to now it has always been 3-weeks, so if you have something to say, contact the Tree Manager at Council.

Ibis work for free aerating the park lawns & playing fields. I think they are a lovely sight down along the Cooks River.

Once again we have an opportunity to help the Office of Environment & Heritage know how many Australian White Ibis we have in Australia & where they are located.

Many people dislike Ibis & call them Bin Chickens because they are often seen picking through garbage.   The truth is that they do have a particular like of your leftovers, particularly takeaway food items.  However, if the Ibis could buy fresh items of takeaway they would.  Instead they are forced to try to reduce landfill or deal with your eatable litter.

They are environmental refugees & because of this, I believe they deserve more tolerance from the community. 

Prior to 1970 they lived in the inland lakes & rivers of NSW.  But tragedy happened with a long persistent drought drying up these places of fresh water.  Then bushfires claimed the large trees they nested in.

So, what does anyone do when their home becomes inhabitable?  They move.  The Ibis flew to the coast & what they found was a life of luxury & easy pickings because humans eat a lot, & throw tons of tasty food away – be it in landfill or in the park.  An Ibis is not concerned with poking about in a bin.  If there is a bit of hamburger down there, he/she wants it.

I often read comments in media & social media about how Ibis terrorize people for food.  Truly, they are not violent birds.  All you need to do is wave your hands or stand up or clap & the Ibis will run away from you as fast as their long skinny pink legs can carry them.  Their long black beak may look intimidating, but it is not a natural behaviour for them to try & poke out the eyes of a human being.  Even when they are being rescued they are desperate to  get away from the person who is trying to remove string or fishing line from their legs or toes.  They are terrified of being too close.

Yes, they stink sometimes, but if they have access to deep enough water they will line up for a chance to have a good long wash.  We also stink if we don’t wash.

They are intelligent, loyal & friendly birds.  If you have been kind to them, they will remember you.  They move around a lot & have been seen all the way down in Victoria & as far as Papua New Guinea.

Probably the biggest misunderstanding I hear often is that they are an exotic species & should go back to Egypt.  They are in fact an Australian native bird.  Egypt has their own Ibis species.

Environment NSW are asking the community to report sightings of Ibis, especially those birds that are wing tagged or have a leg band.  They want to know the numbers of the tags or bands, how many Ibis there are & their behavior.

You can download a free Apple app here – https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/wingtags/id1179274045?mt=8

Or for Android here – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.au.gov.nsw.rbgsyd.wingtags&hl=en

Or you can go directly to the website here – http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/surveys/WhiteIbisSurvey.htm

The survey happens during Bird Week from Saturday 21st to Sunday 29th October 2017.

Seen in Gough Whitlam Park 2-3 months ago. WIRES were contacted. Unfortunately Ibis often get their legs & toes entangled in string (even the string from discarded tea bags), fishing line, balloon cords & any kind of cord left in the parks or waterways. Imagine tying something really tight around your toe. You can’t get it off. It causes you horrendous pain for months until either you die from infection or your toe drops off — and you might still die from infection. This is a routine experience for Ibis & other birds, so please do not take or leave these kind of things in the park. TY

The artist’s impression of the development of Carrington Road Marrickville South with 35-storey towers & 8-storeys next to single storey homes.  A bird’s eye view making it hard to assess the impact from street level.

Discovery Point development across the river at Wolli Creek. The buildings here are half the height of the Carrington Road proposal. Can you imagine?

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – (in alphabetical order) –

Ashfield: Tom Kiat (Greens), Mark Drury (Labor), Julie Passas (Liberal).

Balmain: Rochelle Porteous (Greens), John Stamolis (Independent), Darcy Byrne (Labor).

Leichhardt: Marghanita Da Cruz (Greens), Lucille McKenna (Labor), Vittoria Raciti (Liberal).

Marrickville: Colin Hesse (Greens), Victor Macri (Independent), Sam Iskandar (Labor).

Stanmore: Louise Steer (Greens), Pauline Lockie (Independent), Anna York (Labor).

This was a Council Meeting of the Inner West Council held at Ashfield Chambers. Clr McKenna was absent.  Clr Macri was absent during the time we were at the meeting.  He arrived close to 8.30pm when we were leaving.

Mayor Byrne put up 7 Mayoral Motions.  There was some debate about these being debated prior to the Agenda items.  We only stayed for 4 of the Mayoral Minutes & left at 8.30pm.  I heard today that the meeting concluded at 00.30am.  This is way beyond my interest.

At both council meetings so far the Mayor spoke directly to the Gallery about participatory democracy & factors that undermine it.  Having council meetings that go into the wee hours is a factor that undermines the participation of the community.  The way things appear to be, true democracy will be advanced by the institution of more regular & shorter meetings, so that the community can truly participate by attending at reasonable hours starting at 6.30pm.

As usual, all mistakes are mine.  Anything in [ ] are my words.

Mayoral Motion – Consistent metropolitan approach to bike share schemes.

That Council:

  1. States it’s in principle support for commercial bike share schemes;
  2. Notes that the success & viability of bike share schemes depends upon a proper regulatory framework which protects the accessibility & safety of pedestrians as well as the amenity of local streets & footpaths;
  3. Convene a meeting between Inner West, Waverly, Randwick & Woollahra Councils & the City of Sydney to formalise a regional response to bike share operators that includes:
  4. A consistent regulatory framework for all bike share operators;
  5. A consistent approach to designated bike storage areas; &
  6. Investigation of a permit tender process that imposes regulations upon successful bike share operators.
  7. Request legal advice from Council’s Group Manager Legal regarding:
  8. What constitutes an abandoned bike; &
  9. Council’s powers to remove &/or impound bikes.
  10. Receive a report on a proposed internal management plan from Council officers at the November Ordinary Meeting.

Clr Stamolis – This Mayoral Minute (MM) is almost a replica of mine on the Agenda.

Staff – Mayoral Minutes always come first in the Agenda.

Mayor Byrne – I have met with oBike.  They are intending to increase the number of bikes in our streets.  There have been complaints from residents.    I welcome a successful commercial bike hire schemes.  The challenge is there is no regulation at all.  Footpaths are old & become inaccessible or a safety risk. I would to take the lead with this list of councils.  oBike would like to see regulations.  In principle I support bike storage areas, a tender process with bike share operators.  What constitutes an abandoned bike?  What are Council’s powers to remove or impound bikes?

Clr Passas – I totally oppose the MM.  The bikes are ugly, dangerous, cars can’t open doors, on grass verges staff have to move bikes. There is no tourism in Ashfield.  They are in direct competition with local bike businesses.  The streets are ugly with obsolete signage. We don’t need them.  The company should have come to Council to ask if we are interested.  People can buy, hire or borrow bikes.  Hundreds of bikes were taken out of the harbour.

Clr Drury – This is a sensible way to go.  We live in an age of disruptive technologies & I kind of like that, but I am also getting complaints from residents.   I would like to see a regulatory framework.  I would also like to see them pay for the O-Rings.  I think it’s good for our area, but we do need some regulation.

Clr Porteous – I have been approached by residents.  Good concept, but a mismatch between a good idea & its implementation. We may not have powers to require the company to comply.  Add to motion – Refer matter to our state MPs.  Evident that we don’t have enough bike racks. Add to motion – do an audit of bike racks.

Clr Kiat – We need to look at an inforcible regulatory scheme.  I think it is fantastic that there are bike share schemes.  I’d be more comfortable if you would invite cyclist & pedestrian advocacy groups to the meeting.  I don’t think we should support commercial bike share schemes, but we should support bike share schemes.

Clr Stamolis – I still think my motion in Item 13 is better than the Mayoral Minute because it provides us with knowledge.  Before we go forward we need to be fully informed.  He requested that his points be included in the MM.  The Mayor refused.

Resident – I remind you that you have a Transport Committee.    You should not have the operator with you [in the meeting.].  I’d like to agree with Clr Passas.  I’ve not seen anyone ride one.  Bikes are lying everywhere like junk. There are many issues for safety, the environment & our aesthetics.  We are not the same as overseas.  In Balmain, we have narrow roads.  There is no requirement for them to be returned.  It will cost rate-payers money.  I could put chairs all around the streets & charge people to sit on them!

Mayor Byrne – Incorporated Clr Poreous’s amendment. I am not willing to remove ‘commercial’ from the Minute.  I believe we can impose requirements for the operator to pick up bikes many times a day.

Vote:  Carried with Liberal Clrs Passas & Raciti against.

Mayoral Minute – WestConnex

That Council:

  1. Produce a report, for consideration by Councillors, exploring all legal avenues available to Council to challenge the compulsory acquisition & approval processes for the Westconnex project. This should include a summary of all previously procured legal advice; &
  2. Seek a meeting with WSROC to discuss possible collaborative responses & actions relating to the WestConnex project.

Mayor Byrne – Point 1 – give a commitment to pursue legal advice.  Point 2 – Meeting with WESROC.  Our arguments will be stronger if by a group of councils.

Clr Da Cruz –  Has Council been approached by WestConnex regarding laneways in Annandale?

Staff – There have been properties acquired for WestConnex.  Clr Da Cruz will get a formal report.

Vote:  Carried unanimously.

Mayoral Minute – Carrington Road Planning Proposal [Marrickville South]

THAT Council:

  1. Opposes, in its current form, the Carrington Road rezoning proposal, based on the vast range of impacts detailed in Council’s letter to the proponent of 29 September 2017;
  2. Hold a public meeting on Thursday October 19 at 7:30 at Marrickville Town Hall to inform the community about the details of the Carrington Road rezoning proposal; &
  3. Reiterate its opposition to the Sydenham to Bankstown Strategy which is the catalyst for the Carrington Road proposal.

From the business paper – “Council’s objections to the Carrington Road Planning Proposal include:

  1. Loss of important industrial land which supports 223 businesses & 1,800 jobs.
  2. Threat to the many creative industries which have made their home in the precinct.
  3. Traffic & transport impacts.
  4. Risk of flood prone land.
  5. Heritage & local character area impacts.
  6. Sydney Airport height limits.
  7. Lack of open space, recreational facilities & local community infrastructure.
  8. Lack of affordable housing;
  9. Environmental & sustainability impacts.”

[ Of interest, is the comment from RMS in page 13 of the business paper on this item that RMS has, “serious concerns” with the proposal to provide 3,500 car parking spaces on site.  RMS seems concerned that having car parking spaces is a cause of traffic generation & strongly encourages “a concerted effort to reduce the provision of car parking spaces.”  I think this is ridiculous & frankly, damaging to the area.   People who spend big money on new units will still have cars.  Without adequate parking, we will end up in a third world situation with cut-throat competition for the limited competitive street parking we have in the area. ]

Mayor Byrne – This is an extra-large proposal from Mirvac.  I’ve seen bad DAs before, but this is BAD.  Council Officers advise that there will be up to 35-storeys & 2,600 dwellings wiping out 1,400 jobs, many servicing locally or the CBD.  This is a practical example of the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor.  Mirvac’s intention is to get properties in the system dealt directly with the Department of Planning.  There will be a public meeting next Thursday.  We need to be transparent to the community & that we reiterate our opposition to the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor.

Resident – My biggest concern with this DA is ‘works in kind’ …. that Council will be pushed into putting in a day care centre, then it will go to 15 floors & Council will think they have done a good job.  The Marrickville Hospital development has not been a good development for the community with a park in the shade all day.  This is a State Significant Area.  We should be speaking to City of Sydney & relevant art’s bodies & what areas like this have for Sydney as a whole.  When you wipe out all the places for band practice, there won’t be any in Marrickville.  You will lose them.  We have gone through planning agreements with developments like this.  It gives them extra height…basically a way for them to bribe Council.

Resident – The plans have raised such a concern in the local community. 330 people put in a submission.  Everyone is concerned about the density. Can the roads manage? What about parking & schools?  Where will the children play?

Resident – What can Council actually do?

Staff – The Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor…once the government endorses the strategy, they will issue a 117 Direction – that Council receives a plan like Carrington Road or their own LEP that can set out more detail for development.  We assess the plans.  If we reject a planning proposal, the proponent can go to the Department of Planning.  They can reject or give merit to go to Gateway.  Council has 90-days to assess the proposal.  After 90-days, if no determination by Council they can go to the Department of Planning.

Resident – Even though Council is hamstrung, Council needs to give a strong lead & take the issue to the state government.   There is an election coming soon.  Point 3 – the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor is linked with The Metro, which will be constructed at the same time.  Over 2,000 new residences will be added when the rail line is shut down.

Owner of Carrington Road site – I’ve worked down there. The creative people are only about 3% – 5%.  We’ve been putting together this site for 25-years.  We originally approached Council in 2009.  Mirvac is our project partner.  My background is clothing industry, so I understand about the creative industry.  1,400 workers is nowhere near this.  I’ve been talking to Council for over 20-years to fix the flooding.  I have a photo where people have to get dinghies to get people around.  I tried to get flooding fixed in 1994.  We have been working for a couple of years to fix the flooding problem.   Council expects me to fix the flooding problem.  It is a $100-million cost in itself.  It’s been treated as an actual DA.  I’ve had every major developer in Australia approach us to buy that site.  If it was a grab for cash, we would be out of there.  We want to get something world-class & good for the Marrickville Community.

Mayor Byrne – Invited the owner of Carrington Road site to come to the next council meeting on 19th October to present his proposal.  He accepted.

Clr Drury – I blame the state government for this.  Without the Sydenham to Bankstown strategy I doubt we would be seeing this.  The strategy wishes to completely override the wishes of the community.  This is an outrageous proposal in its current form.  This does not fly.

Clr Passas – It is a proposal.  I don’t think we need a public meeting.  Is it to get some notoriety?   We know they come in to 35-storeys & settle on 15.  No-one had a public meeting on the flood issue.

Clr Hesse – This was the Gumbramorra Swamp, so the flooding will probably never get better.  Sea level rise maps show this area will be under water.    The jobs are in manufacturing.  It is not a sector that is dying….it is changing.  This precinct is exactly what we want.  We should fight to keep this precinct on its own merits.  The system of planning works for the big guys.  We need to stand with our community.  This is a very, very bad proposal.

Clr York – The scale & size of the development is completely out of scale with this area.

Clr Steer – I would like to point out the letter of page 30.  That covers everything.  It doesn’t matter what the businesses do.  We need to support our small businesses.  If totally used for residential, there will be nowhere for our small businesses to go & no one will be employed locally.  People need to work where they live.

Clr Stamolis – It’s changed from rezoning proposal to planning proposal.

Clr Kiat – Asked to insert Sydney Metro after Sydenham to Bankstown strategy on Point 3.  The Mayor refused.

Staff – In Marrickville South Precinct there will be an overall reduction of 734 jobs.

Clr Da Cruz – What is Council’s view of this loss?

Staff – Loss of employment land is of concern.  We have lost to WestConnex & to rezoning.

Vote:  Carried with Liberal Clrs Passas & Raciti against.

A Reddy Go bike by the Cooks River.  It appears to have lost its back light & helmet.

Screenshot of Marrickville Station taken from Sydney Metro website..  

With 4-weeks to go before submissions close for The Sydney Metro Sydenham to Bankstown rail line, the Environmental Impact Statement has been released.

Sydney Metro are holding community information sessions to help the community understand this mammoth document.  Members of the project team will be available to answer  questions.

MARRICKVILLE

  • Thursday 19th October: 3- 7pm at Marrickville Town Hall.

HURLSTONE PARK

  • Wednesday 11th October: 3 – 7pm at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL, 20-26 Canterbury Road Hurlstone Park.
  • Saturday 28th October: 10am – 2pm at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL.

You can view & download the Environmental Impact Statement at – www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au & at  www.sydneymetro.info

The deadline for submissions is 8th November 2017.

The artist’s impression of the development of Carrington Road Marrickville South with 35-storey towers & 8-storeys next to single storey homes.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne posted the following on his Face Book page today regarding the development of Carrington Road Marrickville South.   See – http://bit.ly/2yOu6fO

“Here’s the “artists’ impression” of what Carrington Road, in south Marrickville, would look like if Mirvac’s proposal for 35 storey skyscrapers, including 2600 residential units, were to be approved (that’s Mackey Park on the right of the image).

I’m calling a public meeting at Marrickville Town Hall on Thursday October 19 at 7:30pm to alert the community to the monstrosity the developer has planned.

I’ve seen some bad developments in my time but this is something else. It would: 

  • Completely eliminate all industrial premises in the precinct – leading to the loss of around 1400 JOBS and the eviction of 138 businesses. That’s the equivalent of sacking the entire Inner West Council staff, in one go.
  • Cause traffic chaos throughout south Marrickville.
  • Be approximately double the height of the existing overdevelopment over the Cooks River in Wolli Creek. 
  • Include zero affordable housing and no new community facilities at all.”

 

The community had an inkling that this development would be big, but no one imagined multiple towers that reach to double the height of the towers at Discovery Point Wolli Creek.  It is unacceptable.

Most of the community are accepting of development, but this kind of development will kill our suburbs.  Traffic is already at a standstill during peak times with people trying to get on & exit the Princes Highway.

Carrington Road has permanent flood markers because it regularly floods.

I feel sad that this is what is planned.   The development looks awful & it will quickly downgrade the quality of life for Marrickville & Tempe residents.

I also feel sad for the 1,400 people who will either lose their job or be required to work in another location.   Employment zones should not be rezoned & lost.

As for the planes, towers like this close to a busy airport is madness.  It is yet another risk the residents will have to face.

One last thing, I predict that the heritage Palms & Fig trees will not survive this development.

Public Meeting at Marrickville Town Hall

Thursday October 19th 2017

7:30pm

Another view with Tempe & Sydenham in the background. It’s interesting how they show the concept design from high up in the sky, which minimises everything. It would be fairer if we could see how it would look from street level.

A drowsy Pelican

It’s Spring & the Aussie backyard Bird Count is almost here.  Birdlife Australia are asking people to count all the birds they see during a 20-minute period & then log this information onto their website or via their free app.  Your information helps them assess the health of birdlife throughout Australia.

Your backyard can be the park, your real backyard, the grounds at school – anywhere & at any time of day.   You can do one count or many counts, but each area needs to be logged on a separate count.

If you fail to see any birds, they want you to log this information too, as it helps the researchers know where birds are sparse.

The Aussie backyard Bird Count asks that you count birds within one area rather than walk for 20-minutes, because this can result in a large area.  Best to target an area with a maximum 80-metre radius or an area 100-metres by 200-metres maximum.

400 birds are listed in a field guide to help you identify them.

The app & a list of FAQS can be found here – https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/faq/

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count runs from the 23 to 29 October 2017.

An extra way you can help is report any Cockatoos you see nesting, tagged & untagged to Hollows as Homes.  See – http://www.hollowsashomes.com 

 

A very happy pair of nesting Cockatoos.

This has turned into a very long post.  I have decided to post as is because there will be some people interested in reading what was said.  Others not so interested can ignore the post or scroll to sections that interest them.  We are only having Council meetings once a month with no other meetings like we did prior to the amalgamation.  Therefore, one long post a month is not too bad.  WestConnex is also an important issue for our municipality.

I am still rusty with note taking, so have missed quite a bit of what was said, though I think I managed to write down important points.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Anything in [  ] is my comment.

__

This was an Extraordinary Council Meeting of the Inner West Council, the subject of which was a matter of dissention many times during the meeting.  It was held at Ashfield Chambers. All Councillors attended.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – (in alphabetical order) –

Ashfield: Tom Kiat (Greens), Mark Drury (Labor), Julie Passas (Liberal).

Balmain: Rochelle Porteous (Greens), John Stamolis (Independent), Darcy Byrne (Labor).

Leichhardt: Marghanita Da Cruz (Greens), Lucille McKenna (Labor), Vittoria Raciti (Liberal).

Marrickville: Colin Hesse (Greens), Victor Macri (Independent), Sam Iskandar (Labor).

Stanmore: Louise Steer (Greens), Pauline Lockie (Independent), Anna York (Labor).

The Greens Councillors requested that an Extraordinary Council meeting be held to consider the following motions:

Motion 1:

Inner West Council is currently preparing its submission on the WestConnex Stage 3 M4-M5 Link which is due to be lodged on October 16. It is critical that council urgently engages all experts to provide the detailed and considered assessment of Stage 3 that the community expects from council. This includes (this list not being exclusive) consultants with expertise in traffic modelling, tunnel engineering, health and safety, air pollution, cost-benefit and environment and planning expertise.

That council directs the General Manager to immediately appoint of all consultants with the specialist expertise required to ensure that all aspects of the WestConnex Stage 3 M4- M5 Link proposal are fully assessed by council. These consultants to be appointed urgently by council to include (this list not be exclusive): consultants in traffic modelling and management; in tunnel engineering; in all health and safety aspects of the projection air pollution; on the financial case and cost-benefit analysis and environmental and planning impacts. Full assessment of the impacts on the community of the construction phase, including changes to bus stop, pedestrian and cycle routes must also be undertaken. Where there is a shortfall in funding allocated to this work, additional funding should come from property reserves.

Motion 2:

  • That Council immediately establishes a council taskforce to oversee a communications campaign aimed at stopping WestConnex from proceeding.
  • That the membership of this taskforce is all interested Councillors, relevant council staff (Communications) and representatives from all the local groups campaigning against WestConnex.
  • That an initial amount of $50,000 be allocated to appoint a communications firm to run the campaign to stop WestConnex from proceeding.

Motion 3:

  • That council bring that draft council submission on WestConnex Stage 2 M4-M5 Link to an open council meeting for consideration by the councillors with contribution from the community on the submission sought at the meeting before it is finalised and submitted.

Motion 4:

  • That council commits to urgently match fund with the City of Sydney Council for $50,000 (deferred for determination to the new council) required to cover half the costs of employment (with related costs) of a full-time community organiser to work under no WestConnex Public Transport Inc supervision to support and capacity build local No WestConnex groups.

However, Mayor Byrne introduced his own Mayoral Minutes, which he ruled should be heard as the first items on the agenda, hence the dissention.  The legality of this was debated a number of times with Mayor Byrne restating that his ruling stands.

Mayoral Motion 1:

That: Inner West Council formally adopts a position of continued opposition in the
 strongest terms to the WestConnex project, both approved and future stages including stage 3, consistent with the positions of the former councils of Ashfield, Leichhardt & Marrickville.

Community speaker 1 – I don’t actually know the details of the positions of Ashfield, Leichhardt & Marrickville & I think this Mayoral Motion is a way to railroad something through.  A great deal of people here are not ofay with the position of Ashfield, Leichhardt & Marrickville Councils on WestConnex.

Mayor Byrne – These are not new positions & were democratically elected by the Councils of the Inner West.

Community speaker 1 – I disagree with the last phrase of the Motion.  None of us are aware of the former Councils’ positions.  It’s not relevant.  We are now moving forward.  It should be a statement of opposition to WestConnex.

Clr Passas – I am in favour of WestConnex.  I was elected as a representative of Ashfield.  As a Councillor of the Inner West Council I have to vote in other areas [of the municipality.]  I do listen & take on.  I have always been in favour of WestConnex.  However, we have to make sure we get a fair outcome for residents.  There will be some trial & error.  The government will make mistakes.  I am totally against any more rate-payers’ money used for this.  Staff can go to the government with the residents’ concerns.  I am totally opposed to any more rate-payers’ money used for political purposes.  I know plenty of issues where residents fought against the government & they were not given financial support.  Every group will come to Council for financial support.  Fight out of your own pocket!

Clr Drury – I too spoke to many people during the election.  Many wanted to talk about WestConnex with me.  Many in our community are deeply concerned about this project & the effects it will have on our community.  I was told that I was not opposed to WestConnex.  I am totally opposed to the most incompetently run large project this government has run in the last 40-years.  It’s poorly run & poorly executed.  It is important for elected Councillors to say we are opposed to WestConnex.  We did not pretend we will stop the project.  We have no legal ability to stop the project.

Clr Hesse – Moved dissent from the Chair.

Mayor Byrne – Asked staff whether the Mayoral Minute can be first during an Extraordinary Council Meeting.  Staff read aloud from a document that a Mayoral Minute can be done first.   [ People in the Gallery noted that he was reading about ‘meetings,’ not ‘Extraordinary Council Meetings.’]

Clr York – I do intend to fight with the community to protect us from WestConnex because I believe it is causing a car park.  I don’t believe that the NSW government that WestConnex will be good for our community.  The state government have willfully ignored more than 1,000 submissions from the community.  If our community gives an inch, WestConnex takes a mile.  Our Council should have clear opposition to WestConnex.

Clr McKenna – I am in support of the Mayoral Motion, particularly the part of the three former Councils.  Ashfield started in 2012.  I attended a meeting & told the then Minister for Roads that this will be a disaster.  Public transport will alleviate congestion.  I thank staff officers for the work they have done, especially during a period of administration.

Clr Lockie – I support opposition to WestConnex.  12 out of 15 Councillors are opposed to WestConnex.  Regarding funding, many people in the Gallery have been putting in their own money & also in non-financial terms.  You give up time where you could be doing other things.  There is a big emotional toll too.  WestConnex is the biggest infrastructure project in the country & the biggest impact is in the Inner West.  It’s incumbent to Council to support from a financial point of view.

Clr Hesse – I am disappointed by the procedure of tonight’s meeting.  Putting the Mayoral Motion in front of the Motions is not good practice.  All 15 of us would be opposed to the impact of WestConnex.  Where we differ is what we do about it.  Regarding amelioration, I don’t know what is in the fine details of the previous councils.  I am concerned we are voting from a grey area.

Clr Stamolis –  We hear a lot about expenditure of rate-payers’ money, but on this occasion, it is our community asking us to make the expenditure.  WestConnex is a $17-billion project, an incomprehensible sum of money delivering poor outcomes for Sydney itself.  We are not delivering world-leading outcomes.  We are getting some of the worst environmental outcomes.  We need to build transport public infrastructure. $17-billion would have gone a long way to achieving that.

Clr Porteous – I am pleased we are opposing WestConnex.  Our position is actively opposing – putting our money where our mouth is.  I am concerned that the second Mayoral Minute seems more about amelioration, not opposing WestConnex.  My Labor/Liberal colleagues want to oppose, but not act.  You should have not tried to stop the public speaking tonight. [The Inner West Council website initially said that the public were not allowed to speak to the Councillors because it was an Extraordinary Council Meeting.  This was retracted.]   The important thing tonight is to get an outcome that opposes WestConnex & is not about mitigation.  All of the 4 [Greens] motions will get an outcome.  I expect Labor & Liberal not to support these motions [by the Greens.]

Clr Iskandar –  We were working really hard to stop WestConnex & its negative effect in every street.  That’s why I said to my community we will be working in every street.  Every one of us knows that every Labor member in Ashfield, Leichhardt & Marrickville used to go most days where they could meet with residents to work as one community working together as one people.  This group here is only one group against WestConnex.  We have a bigger group than here against WestConnex & working with us.

Clr Steer –  There are 12 Councillors here strongly opposed to WestConnex.   The impacts of WestConnex are ongoing, permanent & irreversible.  I do support Council continuing to oppose WestConnex.  I don’t support the Mayoral Minute used to hijack the conversation.  The deadline for submissions is 16th October.  The previous submissions were not put in the strongest terms & in the form of mitigation like the Mayoral Minute.  The Mayoral Minute was sprung on us at the very last minute.  This is not the way to work together.  We should be aiming our arrows at the state government who want private investors to buy 51% of WestConnex.

Clr Macri – This state significant project is not a project Council has any control over.  The power Council has to challenge & stop – it is not ours’.  To say the community is completely united is not correct.  Currently it is 50/50. The previous council has spent $750,000.  Mr Pearson spent $1.5 million for all the consultants.  We need to focus on what we need from this project.  Do we scream & say No WestConnex?   We need innovation.  To say “No! No!” is not getting us anywhere.  We need the stacks filtered.  Even Churchill pulled out of France when he knew it was untenable!

Clr Da Cruz – Anyone who wants to comment on WestConnex visit the Haberfield site [& another site, which I missed.] It is our responsibility to oppose this project.  The commonwealth government has slammed this project.  The debt will fall on our children’s children.   It is the responsibility of Council to assess the EIS impacts on noise modeling – completely inadequate so far.  The Mayoral Minute should say we critically oppose WestConnex.

VOTE:  Clr Passas against.  Carried.

Mayoral Motion 2:

Mayor Byrne then read the following out loud to both the Councillors & the Gallery despite numerous requests from the Gallery not to do so.

That Council:

  1. Note that consultant reports, costing in excess of $450 000, on the traffic impacts of each stage of the WestConnex project as well as an assessment of the Environmental Impact Statement for Stage 3 of the project, are due to be completed imminently. These studies include assessments of tunnel engineering, traffic modelling, air pollution, active & public transport & construction impacts. Council Officers & consultants have identified the following preliminary concerns about impacts in the Inner West Council area:
  2. a) Air quality impacts from emissions from unfiltered ventilation stacks proposed for Haberfield, Rozelle & St Peters. The stack on Victoria Road, Rozelle near Terry Street raises particular concern due its proximity to densely developed residential areas & schools. Council is also concerned about emissions from all surface roads near interchanges that have additional traffic from WestConnex;
  3. b) Construction impacts including noise, vibration, dust, truck traffic & employee parking demand from a number of construction sites in Haberfield, Ashfield, Leichhardt, Lilyfield, Rozelle, Annandale/Camperdown & St Peters. Stage 3 would prolong the terrible impacts residents have already endured from Stages 1 and 2. More stringent conditions of approval, stronger enforcement of compliance & improved management of cumulative impacts are all needed to ensure residents affected by Stage 3 are not subject to the same intolerable impacts as those affected by Stages 1 and 2;
  4. c) Operational traffic impacts when each stage of WestConnex opens. Council is not only concerned about the broad impact of extra traffic attracted by the motorway (induced traffic), it is also concerned about extra traffic (rat-running) on residential streets around the Haberfield, St Peters & Rozelle interchanges. For Stage 3, Council is particularly concerned about extra traffic on streets including The Crescent & Johnston Street at Annandale, Frederick, Alt, Bland, Waratah & Dalhousie Streets at Haberfield and Ashfield & Canal Road at St Peters;
  5. d) The need to protect local streets that may be affected, by all stages of the project, by additional traffic (rat-running), by implementing traffic calming on those streets, fully funded by the NSW Government;
  6. e) Need to reclaim road space to implement public transport, activetransport & streetscape improvements wherever traffic is reduced by WestConnex, with these improvements fully funded by the NSW Government. In particular, these kinds of improvements are sought for Victoria Road, Rozelle & Parramatta Road for its entire length through the Inner West Council area;
  7. f) Need for quality design and full delivery of Rozelle Rail Yards recreation area. Council acknowledges that further detailed design work for the Rozelle Rail Yards (RRY) recreation area would be undertaken later. At this stage however, Council has concerns about impacts on the RRY recreation area from WestConnex service areas (ventilation stacks, transformers, water treatment area) & believes pedestrian & cycle connectivity across & to the site could be improved. Council would also like to see an early commitment from the NSW Government to deliver the RRY recreation area to Council or other appropriate body fully constructed for public use at the earliest opportunity;
  8. g) Need to ensure the project does not sever future public transport corridors, in particular that the use of the Rozelle Rail Yards site for WestConnex must not sever rights-of-way for future public transport projects such as light rail to White Bay in Balmain & Sydney Metro West heavy rail; &
  9. h) Overall lack of transparency, oversight & accountability by the NSW State Government agencies – In the planning, design and construction of the toll road system, resulting in a desperate lack of clear communication, certainty & / or remedy by residents in the community impacted by this project. This has been exacerbated with the forced amalgamation of the affected Marrickville, Leichhardt & Ashfield Councillors & the sacking of elected local representatives. During this period local residents & groups have had to take on the work of elected representatives in the area, and should be acknowledged for their effort and impact during this period.
  10. Further note that the cost this year of the operation of the WestConnex Unit is projected at $860 000 & to exceed $1.5 million, in total, by 2019/20.

  1. Convene a series of on-site meetings for residents & business owners in the immediate vicinity of the construction & dive sites proposed in the Stage 3 EIS to provide location specific, factual information to them about Council’s assessment of the impacts, including air quality, traffic & construction impacts. This should include meetings to be held at Haberfield, Leichhardt, Rozelle, Camperdown & St Peters;
  2. Write to the Minister for WestConnex: Urgently seeking a meeting to discuss the ongoing and unacceptable impacts on residents in Haberfield & St Peters from utility companies associated with the project conducting night works & the ongoing failure of vehicle operators to adhere to the project’s conditions of consent & traffic management plans;
  • To demand assumptions & scenarios underlying the traffic modelling, contain in the Stage 3 EIS, not just model output;
  • Seeking full funding from the NSW Government of all traffic calming & amelioration expenditure required as a result of WestConnex;
  • Seeking the delivery of all legacy lands to Council or an appropriate body for public use at the earliest possible time.
  • Seek a guaranteed funding commitment contained in the Stage 3 EIS conditions of consent for SMC to fund improvements to residual lands in accordance with council’s requirements; &
  • Requesting that the Preferred Infrastructure Report for Stage 3 be publicly released prior to any assessment or approval.
  1. Produce a report investigating the potential to initiate a dilapidation & structural assessment service for home & business owners impacted by tunneling for the WestConnex project. The report should detail how the service could be provided on a cost recovery basis. Internal legal advice will be sought when drafting this report to determine if there are legal &/or administrative barriers to Council’s involvement in the dilapidation reporting process.
  • Commit to ongoing coordination of & support for the work of the WestConnex Community Liaison Committee in order to allow for the transparent flow of information between Council & the various WestConnex community groups.
  • State its preference for advocacy regarding WestConnex not to be outsourced to advertising agencies or external contractors & instead be conducted through Council’s WestConnex Unit;
  • Commit to always undertaking interrogation & analysis of SMC traffic modelling to fully understand impacts of traffic flows on surface emissions & stack emissions in the Inner West Council area;
  • Complete Independent traffic modelling in affected areas to understand potential air quality impacts of induced traffic at interchanges & potential rat runs throughout the Council area, noting that some of this work is already underway;
  • Wherever possible, identify specific impacts & issues, relating to the construction phase, and suggest improvements that could strengthen approval conditions & enforcement actions to address these long term, cumulative impacts. These should be articulated in Council’s EIS response, drawing from lessons learned in the design, approval & construction of Stages 1 and 2;
  • Establish within Council of a log of complaints register & a process whereby residents within the Council area can log a copy of complaints made to SMC & state agencies in response to construction conditions, so that Council may make additional representation on behalf of residents to relevant state agencies & ministers. This should include dedicated contact numbers made available to residents to easily log complaints;
  • Produce a report for consideration by Councillors about how the existing plans for WestConnex detrimentally impact on potential public transport options, such as the White Bay Light Rail extension & the Sydney Metro West & major transport arteries such as Parramatta Road & Victoria Road. The report should also assess alternative proposals including the City of Sydney’s alternative plans.
  • Oppose, in principle, the City of Sydney’s proposal for 13 000 units to be built at the site of the St Peters interchange, [Egads!] noting that this would be a greater increase in residential density than is proposed in total for the Inner West Council area through the Government’s Sydenham to Bankstown rezoning proposals.
  • Dedicate an officer within the WestConnex Unit to: Support & assist the work of the various action groups, acknowledging the proliferation & complexity of issues associated with the WestConnex project & the need for dedicated local support within the IWC area to focus on issues specific to the M4-M5 link & interchanges.

The responsibilities of this position should include support & facilitation of community responses to planning & design documents, facilitation of log of complaints by residents, & support for Council’s advocacy on behalf of the Inner West community to relevant state agencies & Ministers.   [Later in the debate it was stated that contents of this motion derived from Council documents.]

Clr Lockie – Have any reports been made public?

Staff – These will be made public when they become available.  The EIS assessment is still in draft form.  It is due Monday week, so we will do a presentation at tomorrow night’s meeting & also a briefing for Councillors on Thursday night.  A submission from Council, then an amended submission from Councillors.

Clr Porteous –  The money spent on the EIS, note one sum.  I ask you to outline what that covers & what is being proposed beyond that.  Was there a reason why we did not engage a consultant to look at noise, health etc?  Why have we underspent on the EIS when we only have one bite of the cherry?

Staff – We did engage consultants to look at all these issues.  We can take on board extra studies of 30 odd areas, but we would need guidance on this.

Clr Porteous –  Asked that the draft submission due on 12 October & the final amended submission on 24 October be added to the Mayoral Minute. Mayor Byrne did not want to do this & said the staff were not lying.  After a short debate where Clr Porteous said this was not what she was saying, the Mayor apologized.

Clr De Cruz – Asked that Council briefs to the consultants be given to the Councillors.  Staff agreed to do this asap.  She asked, what was the timeline of the brief given to the consultants?   Staff – Need to look though the files.

Community speaker 1 – I came here expecting to hear discussions on 4 motions.  I am now listening to 2 extra Mayoral Motions being read to me.  Sorry Mayor, your Mayoral Motions are obfuscating the motions. The lack of transparency is being noted.  I respectfully request that you withdraw this motion.  The Mayor refused.

Community speaker 2 –  If the Mayoral Motions are passed will they negate all or some of the motions meant to be debated?

Mayor Byrne – This is not a senate estimates Sir.

Community speaker 2 –   I request that you consider amending your Mayoral Motions. 14 replacing with Motions 2,3 & 4. I didn’t realise we would have to sit through you reading your Mayoral Motion.  It is not urgent.  It is an abuse of your authority of Mayor.

Community speaker 3 –   I express my disappointment of your Mayoral Motion & speak against it.  None of these address the environmental impact that is incumbent on Council to fully understand.  Nothing new there.  The detail on the Rozelle Interchange is so limited.  If you don’t have information, how can a proper assessment be made? Also, Item 14, Mayoral Motions be deleted & replaced with the Motions from the Greens.

Community speaker 4 –   I am disappointed that the Mayoral Motions come across as a power play. The Mayoral Motion 2 is a lot to deal with.  I call on Councillors to lobby for an extension & can we please adopt a more collaborative approach than these stupid games we see tonight?

Community speaker 5 –   Mayor, why did you choose to collaborate with the two Liberals who support WestConnex?

Mayor Byrne – I am not quite as unpopular as some may think.  This is not related to the debate right now.

Community speaker 6 –   I have a few problems with the Mayoral Motion 2 as it stands.  I am disappointed at strong focus on amelioration, lack of details & lack of resources.  Will council staff be asked to take on roles?  What confidence will this give residents? The EIS equivocates enormously.  The potential structural damage to homes has been overlooked in the EIS.  Nowhere does it show a simple dilapidation report at the beginning.  We are denied geophysical reports.

Community speaker 7 –   This long motion looks comprehensive.  It is not.  The detail on the EIS is limited & makes it difficult for residents to respond. This is why we look to council to critique.  From the outset, we know the government plans to sell the project.  Once sold it will be nearly impossible to identify who is liable for any damage.  Not only are we looking at WestConnex & the Metro in the very neglected St Peters, never mind the other building that will go on for years.  We are worried about the stacks.  The air pollution is the worst it has ever been.  We need a council to go to the government & say, this is inadequate!  The Council needs to go to planning.  They should redraft the entire thing based on actual plans. Stage 3 is a critical document.  It is not good that it is not in the publics hands prior to the deadline.

Staff – The Administrator requested an extension.  This was denied. Our last letter has not received a reply.

Clr Porteous – Asked when the letter was sent, to which staff replied, “Today.”   The Mayor accused Clr Porteous of accusing staff, to which she replied, “I think it is your fault.”  Said the Motion was made on 21 September 2017 & the Mayor & GM were to write this letter together.

Community speaker 8 –   It is now over 2-hours & we are yet to start discussing the motions.  You [Mayor Byrne] have been lecturing us on respect & curtesy.  Respect is putting documents on the internet 1-2 days before the meeting.  Don’t lecture us about respect.  I am not prepared to support Mayoral Motion & I don’t appreciate having it read to me like I am a 5-year-old child.  Condescending to us.  It is very important that we have proper funding for the position.  We need an urgent extension of time to respond to the 7,000 page EIS.  We urge that the draft be available to community, not just the Councillors.

Mayor Byrne – It was my intention to send to action groups. [He did not say when.]

Community speaker 9 –   Section 1, part F – one concern is the entire document comes across as though WestConnex was happening.  Stage 3 is not underway yet & Stage 3 is what the EIS is about.  It is this Council’s position to put its EIS in before it goes ahead, this excuse for an EIS.  Traffic modeling is highly flawed.  Air quality is flawed. Alternative public transport has not been discussed.  Council should advocate for public transport strongly. Future corridors have not been defined.  Transport corridors should be defined first.  The Metro comes before WestConnex.  Section 12 is again flawed.  We need to define as a Council what would work for us with public transport.   Section 13 is just discussion.

Community speaker 10 –   This is all being done for profit.  You are looking at possibly another Lane Cove Tunnel. The Western Harbour Tunnel doesn’t get built if the traffic doesn’t come through.  The interchange at Rozelle needs to widen roads to get more cars on. The business model is totally flawed. The smoke stacks with increased traffic will lead to more pollution.

[With all this widening of roads, the tree loss will be substantial.]

Mayor Byrne – We have spent $2.2 million on WestConnex.  It is legitimate to limit spending.

Clr Hesse –  This document if passed will be celebrated by Gladys Berejiklian because it is a ‘Surrender Document.’   We stood for a campaign against WestConnex.  It’s a project that will create traffic chaos.  We should have spent the money on public transport.

Clr Porteous – What is the current WestConnex Unit?  What skills does the unit have? What will staff members do?

Staff – WestConnex Unit has a manager, a transport engineer & administration resource person.

Further questioning by Clr Porteous was stopped by Mayor Byrne.

Clr Steer – These are all sensible measures, but there are omissions like health, economic modeling of WestConnex itself. The damage to health will be ongoing & indefinite while WestConnex is being constructed.  With the government plan to put more people into this area, there will be higher rates of people with health problems. It’s a very weak economic model at the heart of WestConnex.  They could not answer my question [at a meeting.]  It will not achieve what the government has stated.  This is not good for our area.  Investors need to be shown that it is a poor investment.

Mayor Byrne – Leichhardt Council did an economic model & there is no new material. Moved that the health report gets sent to Councillors tomorrow.  Staff – We have undertaken high level report on health impacts.

Clr York – I take offense with Clr Hesse that my opposition to WestConnex is unrelated to action.  I strongly believe that we need a dedicated resource regarding impacts of Stage 2-3 with an Inner West lens.  The Mayoral Motion has incredible actions that will help our community.

Clr McKenna – I support the Mayoral Motion.  The lack of detail in the EIS is standard practice with this government.  It’s what happened in Stage 1 and being repeated in Stage 3.  This Mayoral Motion is about the whole project.  This is a mad idea that is being made up as it goes along.  We have a lot of work to ensure the residents are looked after.  We have to be conscious that WestConnex will probably proceed.

Clr Lockie – Asked about the height of stacks at St Peters & why streets in St Peters & Enmore were missed out of the Mayoral Motion.

Staff – The St Peters stack is lower because of the planes.  The Primary school is close.  Terry Street because of the topography & people could be living above the top of the stack.  We are working to come up with all the streets.

Clr Da Cruz – RMS has put forward a proposal & we have to respond.  Council has to do action.  We have a tight timeline.  I don’t understand in what context this Mayoral Motion & how it singled out items.  There are several volumes to the EIS.  None of the major things like the construction of a bridge in Rozelle has been included.

Clr Drury – I understand some people take umbrage when I say WestConnex will be built.  I have been opposing WestConnex since 2012.  I & Clr McKenna are veterans.  We have seen bits of my community destroyed.  I don’t believe we can stop WestConnex, but that won’t stop me from opposing it.  “Brainiacs” want me to put a picnic park under a stack.  I am tired & weary at those who want to hold their breath & say, “Stop it!”  We have no ability to stop it.  “Shame on you if you don’t support the Mayoral Motion!  I got more votes than you!”  [ To which the Gallery shouted back, “Shame on You!” ]

Clr Stamolis There are a lot of things in this motion; a grab-bag of aspirations premised on WestConnex going ahead.  It troubles me.  As a defining statement of Inner West Council, it missed a lot.  It misses high level things.  This is not a world leading project.  It’s a mundane project, not positive, not progressive & not future orientated.  Big roads come through, creates environmental concerns not mentioned.  We will be left with debt.  We need to create jobs out west, create jobs where people live.  We want to increase public transport & reduce reliance on cars.

Clr Passas  –  I go along with the Mayoral Motion because the government has to be accountable & we have to stand up for residents.  Labor started WestConnex.  We have got to think of the people out west.  We are local representatives at local councils. I’d like to know how many people are affected or are we lobbying for public transport.  They are two different issues.  We are elected to look after our residents.  Our elderly are falling because we have unsafe footpaths & no parking.

[At this stage Mayor Byrne called for yet another 5-minute adjournment by way of controlling the Gallery.  It was almost 9pm, 3.5hours after the start of the meeting & we still had not finished Mayoral Minute 2.  The 4 motions of the Greens had yet to be debated.  I was tired, so we left.  I am told that the meeting continued until almost 11pm. ]

The Mayoral Motion 2 was passed.  The vote was unanimous.

Of the Greens’ Motions (see beginning of this post for details) –

  • Motion 1 was passed unanimously.
  • Motion 2 was defeated.  Labor, Liberals & Clr Macri voted against.
  • Motion 3 passed unanimously.
  • Motion 4 was defeated.  Labor, Liberals & Clr Macri voted against.
  • I will add who voted once I get this information.

——

Today I read the Inner West Council’s Press Release on last night’s meeting & include parts of it for continuity.

“Media Release – Wednesday 4 October 2017

New Council renews opposition to WestConnex.  The newly elected Inner West Council last night recommitted itself a position of opposition to the Westconnex project.

At an Extraordinary Council Meeting, a proposal from Mayor Darcy Byrne to have Council adopt a policy of opposing the destructive project, while also launching a series of actions to ameliorate existing and future impacts on inner west residents, was supported by Councillors.

“We will vociferously oppose this reckless project as well as fighting for every possible protection for local residents, if the Government is so bloody-minded as to ram it through,” Mayor Byrne said.

“Everyone knows that elected Mayors and Councillors were removed from office so the Government could give the green light to WestConnex. Now that democracy has been restored we are going to hit back hard against their destructive agenda in the inner west.”   To read more see – http://bit.ly/2xee82i

The End.

BEFORE: Google street view of the tree that was removed. This image is a few years old, perhaps a decade. The tree was much taller, with a much larger trunk & a bigger canopy.

AFTER:  Photo taken today after all branches were removed. The top of the trunk is higher than I can reach.

What is wrong with people?   Late last week a mature Bottlebrush tree outside 89 Warren Road was unceremoniously chopped to nothing, but a trunk.   It looks awful.  It is one less tree in this street.  It also is a waste of rate-payers’ money & a waste of Council’s work.

This vandalism has robbed the community of all the benefits this tree was providing.  It was more than 20-years-old.   Local people have contacted me about this tree & they feel furious that the tree has been destroyed & they want the Inner West Council to replace it as fast as possible.

Some facts about the value of trees to help any vandal who may happen to read this realise that their actions actually have a bigger negative impact than just losing a tree –

  • A good street tree can add 30% to your property value.
  • A street full of good leafy street trees is a real estate agent’s pleasure because all houses will sell for more than the same kind of house in the same kind of condition in a street that does not have street trees, or has poor quality street trees.
  • Street trees provide a buffer from traffic & collect particulate matter pollution from passing vehicles.  Without this buffer, that particulate matter pollution is much more likely to reach your lungs.
  • Particulate matter causes lung irritation, respiratory illnesses & impairs airway function. It also can cause irregular heartbeat, heart attacks & premature death in people with heart or lung disease.  It also collects on buildings.
  • The shade of a tree can reduce air temperature by 1 – 8 degrees Celsius.
  • The canopy acts as a buffer for wind & can reduce wind speed by 10%.
  • A street tree can save up to $400 on your annual power bill.
  • Trees are nature’s air conditioners & they cool down surface heat & lower the urban heat island effect.
  • Trees also sequester CO2 & produce oxygen.
  • They help capture stormwater.
  • Trees provide habitat & food for wildlife.
  • People are happier when in leafy green streets. Since we have very little green space (the former Marrickville LGA had the least green space in Australia), the streets and the street trees are our green space, aside from parks.
  • People are happier & have less depression when able to be around trees.

So well done.  This is a busy street with both pedestrians & vehicle movement.  It’s hot walking around there.  The locals are angry with you.  You did not enrich the streetscape.  Instead, you destroyed part of it & this is a terrible way to treat both the tree & the community to whom that tree belonged.

What is left.

Cygnet at Sydney Park

This was an Extraordinary Council Meeting & the first Council Meeting after the election & the first Council Meeting of the new Inner West Council.  It was held at Ashfield Chambers, which are much bigger than the Council Chambers at Marrickville.  The Gallery was full, perhaps 100 people.  All Councillors attended.

I have not taken notes at a Council Meeting for so long & was rusty to say the least.  Many of the Councillors speak fast, so I know I have missed some of what they said.   The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – (in alphabetical order) –

Ashfield: Tom KIAT (Greens), Mark DRURY (Labor), Julie PASSAS (Liberal).

Balmain: Rochelle PORTEOUS (Greens), John STAMOLIS (Independent), Darcy BYRNE (Labor).

Leichhardt: Marghanita DA CRUZ (Greens), Lucille MCKENNA (Labor), Vittoria RACITI (Liberal).

Marrickville: Colin HESSE (Greens), Victor MACRI (Independent), Sam ISKANDAR (Labor).

Stanmore: Louise STEER (Greens), Pauline LOCKIE (Independent), Anna YORK (Labor).

—-

This meeting was to elect the Mayor & the Deputy Mayor.

Item 1:  All Councillors individually read out the Oath or Affirmation of Office, a new change to the Local Government Act, passed & gazetted in August 2016 by the NSW State Government. 

“Oath  I [name of councillor] swear that I will undertake the duties of the office of councillor in the best interests of the people of the Inner West and theInner West Council and that I will faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in me under the Local Government Act 1993 or any other Act to the best of my ability and judgment.

Affirmation  I [name of councillor] solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will undertake the duties of the office of councillor in the best interests of the people of Inner West and the Inner West Council and that I will faithfully andimpartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in me under the Local Government Act 1993 or any other Act to the best of my ability and judgment.

Item 2: Determine the length of term for the Deputy Mayor & determine the method for voting & conduct the election of Mayor & Deputy Mayor.   

A motion to vote by a show of hands was unanimous.

Darcy Byrne (Labor) & Pauline Lockie (Independent) nominated for the position of Mayor.

Voted for Clr Byrne: Clrs Byrne, Drury, McKenna, Iskandar, York, Passas, Raciti & Macri.

Voted against: Clrs Da Cruz, Hesse, Kiat, Porteous, Steer, Lockie & Stamolis.

Clr Darcy Byrne (Labor) was elected as Mayor. 

Colin Hesse & John Stamolis & Julie Passas nominated for the position of Deputy Mayor.  John Stamolis withdrew his nomination.  

Vote for Clr Passas as Deputy Mayor:  Mayor Byrne, Clrs Drury, McKenna, Iskander, York, Passas, Raciti & Macri.

Voted against: Clrs Da Cruz, Hesse, Kiat, Porteous, Steer, Lockie & Stamolis.

Clr Passas was elected as Deputy Mayor.    With that the Gallery erupted in response to the alliance between Labor & Liberal.

Mayor Byrne – Because of voting, democracy returns to the Inner West.  My intention is to lead a progressive council, raising the bar of delivering the highest quality in Australia.  I have a vision of the Inner West being the heart & soul of Sydney. (  [ ] are my words).    [I want to] legalize arts & music in shop fronts, turn off parking metres at night, spend money on parks & stop unfiltered stacks for WestConnex.

Clr Passas – Congratulations to all Councillors.  I hope we can all work together in the best interests of Inner West Council.  On Facebook, I was described as “Tony Abbott on steroids.”  I am on steroids to work for the best interests of our residents & our municipality.  In the interest of residents, let’s give 3-years of amalgamation a go.  Let’s try to work to that goal.

Clr Iskandar –  As last Mayor of Marrickville we worked hard to make Marrcikville one of the best councils.  Tonight, we work to make Inner West Council one of the best.

Clr McKenna – Last council I was sitting where Mayor Byrne is sitting.   I think we can work together as a group.   I am sure we have common interests.

Clr Stamolis –   Congratulations Mayor & Deputy Mayor & Clr Lockie for a very tight vote.  Then he thanked various people for supporting him during the election campaign.  We all know that Inner West Council is one of the highest voting at a local level. There was a 4% swing to Independents.  I look forward to a productive council.

Clr Kiat – Thanked the Councillors & the community.  There are four consistent issues we are facing now.

Clr Steer –  My road to Damascus started last year.  I found myself shouting, “We must restore democracy to Inner West Council.”  We now must be a progressive council to the people of the Inner West.  Stanmore Ward is blessed with three female Councillors.  Campaigning was an enjoyable experience.  We treated each other with respect.  She then thanked people her helped her campaign.

Clr Lockie –  Congratulations fellow Councillors, Mayor Byrne & Deputy Mayor Passas.  She thanked all who put faith in an Independent.  The swing indicated how much our community wishes us to work together.  I am an anti-WestConnex campaigner.  We have been working for 4-years to stop this disaster.  I came into this to support our community from the other side of the fence.

Clr Hesse – Congratulated the Mayor & Deputy Mayor.  I pay tribute to Marrickville Council staff who were treated grievously by this state government.  I aknowledge Clrs Macri, Iskander & ex-Clr Hanna for their long service, as well as previous Liberal & Greens Councillors.  I aknowledge the impact of the amalgamation on Marrickville Council staff.  I am deeply hurt that we did not contest the amalgamation & of the impact on staff.  The Inner West is under gross attack by the state government who are turning it over to developer mates.  WestConnex & the Metro are not acceptable.  We cannot do much unless everyone out there gets active.

Clr Macri – Congratulated the Mayor & Deputy Mayor & fellow Clrs.   Thanked his team, family, friends & community.  I want to tell you a story.  A woman came into my shop.  “Do you need any help?  I know your parents from way back.”    She offered to do the polling booth & scrutineer.  “I want to support people like you on Council.  I was there when you were born.”  This is community.  It is so important that we remember the community who gave of themselves.  I acknowledge Emmanuel Tsardoulias’ commitment to his ward.  People like that on council who focus & care about the area. We need to work together.  It’s up to us.  The Mayor is one vote.  Morris Hanna cut short his holiday to work on my polling booth & this probably got me through.  Marrickville is about people.  Let’s work hard for the people.  I am open to listening to everything that is said.  Diversity is greatness.  We should acknowledge this & work together.

Clr De Cruz – Congratulated the Mayor & Deputy Mayor.  It is an honour for me to be elected. We also have three female Councillors to represent Leichhardt Ward.  I look forward to working with the new Councillors & the wider community.  I acknowledge the efforts of the Greens campaign team.  There was a lot of area to cover.

Clr PorteousCongratulated the Mayor, Deputy Mayor & Councillors.  I am excited with the fabulous Greens team & Labor & Liberals.  There are a lot of good people around the table.  She thanked all her helped in her campaign.  My thoughts are going to the Leichhardt Chamber as my experience in this Chamber have been less than wonderful. I was treated like a criminal & the approach like this has been for months.  It has caused massive damage.  If you want to stop people participating in local democracy, make it difficult for them to come & this is what has happened. She thanked those “who came to defend local democracy, particularly WestConnex.”  I am disappointed that Labor has decided to do a deal with Liberals.  They can’t stop themselves.  I am disappointed that Labor did not want a progressive council & the Labor rejected that.  We need to get local democracy restored & stop WestConnex from proceeding.

Mayor Byrne – Matter arising – The Deputy Mayor is for a period of 1-year.  Vote unanimous.

Item 3:  To replace the Council Meeting scheduled for 26 September with an Ordinary Council Meeting on 12 October.

Mayor Byrne moved an amendment – 4,000 page WestConnex DIS.  Council staff are working on a submission to go to Department of Planning.  This won’t be finalized by 12th October.  Councillors will get the Draft.  Moved to not hold a Council Meeting on 17 October, council staff will publish widely & hold a public meeting on the 4th October for discussion.

Clr Porteous –  I want us to write to the government for an extension.  Mayor Byrne will be supporting.

Clr Drury – amenable to this amendment.  Macquarie Street ….in relation to the Sydenham to Bankstown line, when will the report be finalized on that?

Staff – Submission date has passed.  The former Administrator asked for an extension.  His request was denied.  Councillors will be fully briefed & addendum written & given to the Councillors on 4th October.

Clr Porteous – There has not been a council meeting since July.  Now no meeting in September & October?  I am extremely concerned.

General Manager – Simple fact is we covered everything we need tonight.  There is not a backlog.

Clr Porteous –  Where will delegation of decisions go?

Mayor Byrne – any decision made before the Administration stays.  Anything new I will delegate decision-making.

Clr Porteous –  Moved original motion that council meeting go ahead.  There should be a full council meeting.  It’s outrageous for a new council not to have a council meeting for such a long time.  We need a council meeting 12 October, unless you are trying to hide something. There is a scheduled council meeting on 26th September.  It needs to go to another meeting.  This is a bad way for a new council to start.

Mayor Byrne – I am happy for 12th October meeting to go ahead.

Clr Drury – I am seeing an opportunity to deal with corridors.  Would it be possible to have as an item?

Staff – Yes, we can prepare a report.

Clr Drury – In agreement.

Amendment: council meeting proceeds to 12 October 2017.  Public Meeting still proceeds.   Vote: unanimous.

Item 4: That Council appoint as its Code of Conduct Reviewer Panel for a period of 4-years, expiring on 21 September 2021.

Clr Steer – The panel should be for 3-years, not 4-years.  The Code of Conduct up to 4-years.  Accepted.

Clr Passas – I’d like it to be deferred.

Clr Hesse – It’s a matter of transparency. We have just hit the ground.  It’s a very important issue.

[I can’t understand my notes here.]  Regarding the vote to defer the Code of Conduct Reviewers, I think the vote was carried, with all but the five Labor Councillors voting to defer.

Item 5: That Council refer Council’s draft 2016/17 financial reports for audit pursuant to S413 of the Local Government Act 1993.

Clr Hesse – I am looking for the cost of redundancies.

Staff: Notes are in there, but not in detail & not by name.

Clr Hesse – I am not interested in the names, but the community needs to know what getting rid of good people cost.  We need to have a baseline to see what this new council is doing.  Amendment: Can we have detail on costs of amalgamation without names publically available?

Staff – This information will be in a report.

Mayor Byrne –We will be asking that this information be available to Councillors immediately & available in the council meeting & available to the public.

Clr Hesse – Withdrew his amendment.

Clr Stamolis – Amendment – I want a summary report by the October council meeting.

Vote: carried unanimously.

Urgent motions:   Mayor Byrne:  There are two urgent motions, which I have ruled as urgent.

Clr Kiat – In relation to Marriage Equality, I have a motion for the Inner West Council to have prominent support for the Yes Campaign. I want all LGBTQI people to feel safe.  We need to show support to our community.

Vote:  Cls Passas & Clr Raciti voted against.  Carried. 

MOTION:  That this Meeting determine that Council:

  1. Supports the right of LGBTQI couples in the Inner West & across Australia to marry;

    2. Accepts the responsibility of Council to support our local LGBTQI community by supporting the “Yes” campaign in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey;

    3. Undertakes as a matter of urgency to design & obtain banners in support of the “Yes” campaign for immediate display in prominent, high-traffic locations across the Council area, with at least three banners to be erected in each of the five Council Ward areas, in locations & in languages chosen in consultation with local LGBTQI community groups where they exist (for example, the Summer Hill Rainbow Crossing group); &

    4. Actively promote the Council’s support of marriage equality & a “Yes” vote in the survey prominently through the Council’s website, social media & other relevant electronic communications.

Clr Kiat – It is correct that Inner West Council has shown support to the Yes campaign.   This is the worst time for our LGBTQI community.  Our council needs to urgently erect banners in prominent places.

Clr Passas – Do the Councillors believe that putting banners up will change people’s mind at how they will vote?  This is time wasting.  This has nothing to do with council.  Why do you think you are ramming it down the throats of the community?   It’s like jack-booting it down the throats of the community.

Clr Lockie – Everyone who looked up & saw the Vote No scrawled in our skies…..  It’s a small thing to let our community know they are supported & know we have their back.

Clr York – I am proud to support our gay community.

Clr Steer – Newtown is the gay suburb of the world.  If you think gay people don’t walk amongst us, you are wrong.

Clr Stamolis – Amendment – change to marriage equality.  I also think our council should prepare a letter to the Federal government that we are concerned by the postal survey reflecting the view of our community.

Mayor Byrne – Prior to the election I committed to put weight to the Yes Campaign.  This is an issue of civil rights.  Nowhere in Australia is there a larger gay community than in the Inner West.  I will do exactly that.  I will pay tribute to Mr Pearson (previous Administrator) that he chose to uphold three Councillors decision.

Vote for Clr Stamolis’s amendment – Clr Raciti voted against. Carried.

Vote for Clr Kiat’s motion – Clrs Passas & Raciti voted against.  Carried.

Urgent motion from Clr Porteous – seeking 30-days extension for WestConnex extension & M4, M5 link.  Submissions close 16 October, which is insufficient time for staff to work through the 4,000-page document.  It’s extremely concerning that Council feel they don’t have time.  Vote: Carried unanimously.

End of Council Meeting.

A side-on portrait. He/she looks a bit like a poodle.

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