Gorgeous tree at Marrickville Council's car park. I wish there were more public trees of this size & shape around the municipality.

After the summer break & a month of playing hookey, we went back to the Marrickville Council Meeting.  All Councillors attended. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Wright/North, Tsardoulias/West, O’Sullivan/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Peters/North, Byrnes/North, Kontellis/West, Olive/South.  INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Thanos/West, Hanna/South.

Boarding House Frampton Avenue Marrickville – DA to create a 9 room Boarding House (BH) for up to 12 lodgers. 3 residents spoke against this DA.  Issues covered were appropriateness of BH in neighbourhood, noise, regular late night parties, density, access, parking & privacy to current residents.

Mayor Hanna:  Moved to refuse. This would not be good for Frampton Avenue.  Clr O’Sullivan: The property is owned by a Marrickville Council staff member. This is not balanced & what I expect a BH to be able to do. There is nil accessibility with the entrance via roller doors via a back lane with noise impact, unregulated uses & gross inconsistencies with identification of boarders. Has an aura of a deeply troublesome development. I’m disturbed that we have to consider it.

Clr Thanos: The big problem is affordable housing (AF). The future will be littered with applications like this because we have been yelling AF like it’s the Holy Grail. Eventually the applicant will be able to get this through. I don’t think the site is appropriate as a BH. This is an example of damage done. We made a big mistake going that hard on AH.  Staff: I too am alarmed at the trend. In the last 2 years 9 BHs, 160 rooms. There are currently DAs for 9 BHs with 300 rooms & another 230 rooms at the pre-application stage. One DA is 154 rooms – a mega-BH.

Clr Kontellis. This is exactly what the Greens said would happen.  The citizens are very concerned.   Clr Iskandar: I don’t like to see Council set up to not support AH because of a bad application.  The Labor party strongly supports AH, but won’t support AH that doesn’t give people dignity & support to live.  DA refused.  Carried unanimously.

Notice of Motion: Family Violence Leave Policy – Clr O’Sullivan’s Notice of Motion was to amend Council’s domestic violence (DV) Leave Policy to grant special paid leave for up to 20 days for activities related to DV.  Speaker from Canberra. We have over 600,000 covered by DV leave in the workplace.  Really important is the issue of disclosure. The support is important to be unambiguous that Council will support their staff. When I looked at the advice you have been given I was distressed.  Looking at how many women you employ to assess how much it costs is wrong.  Your policy is not clear, you are not even clear that staff do not have to exhaust their leave. People don’t get notice about DV. I’m really upset that you say this will cost you a lot of money. You are obsessed with policy, but unconcerned with safety planning. I can provide you training for free. The advice you have been getting is uninformed & not best practice.

Clr O’Sullivan: We have a policy, but we lack definition & we need defined leave outlined. For the very low numbers who are likely to access this leave we need a designated family violence policy.  The Council’s advice is superficial. Clr Thanos: Voting against because Acting GM’s comments call for a report in 2013. The elected Council is dabbling in micro-management here. My preference is to work with senior staff by making a general statement.  We may make a legal consequence by moving too fast & certain individuals may take advantage.

Clr Wright: This motion provides certainty & tells staff that they are entitled to paid leave for DV. Clr Byrne: Defining entitlements takes the burden of staff. The assumption that everyone takes every piece of entitlement that they are owed is not right. This would show our staff the support we have for them in difficult times. Clr Kontellis: Good organizations create opportunities for staff when they need it.  Clr Thanos: Retracted his statements & changed his position.  Clr Tsardoulias: Barry O’Farrell has blocked the Advisory Committee from speaking on DV in parliament. Council should lead them by having a policy in place. Ashfield & City of Sydney Councils have this DV policy in place.

Clr Macri:  I’d much rather a report from staff to show how this could work. The GM said let it run its course. Is 20 days (leave) enough? I want more information.  Clr O’Sullivan: The vote is to clarify the existing policy. We don’t need a report. I was disappointed to not find the report due early July 2011, which didn’t appear, so I am not prepared to wait until 2013.  Against: Clr Marcri. Carried.

Sydenham-Tempe Community Festival – New annual community picnic held either at Tempe Reserve or Tillman Park with a budget of $25,000.  Clr Olive: Should be in 2013 & in Tillman Park. Carried unanimously.

Notice of Motion: Thornely Street Marrickville escarpment – Clr O’Sullivan wanted Thornley Street residents to receive advice & educational material where needed regarding the new LEP & any development along the escarpment. Carried unanimously.

Part of the Thornley Street escarpment looking over Steel Park