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The new area.  This and the photo below shows the whole site.

Sometime during winter the Inner West Council – Marrickville cleared the grass below & around their latest ‘habitat trees’ in Mackey Park.  The cordoned off area lay there for a few weeks until it was covered with wood chip.  About a fortnight ago I noticed that the area had been planted with small plants like native grasses.   The more areas that support wildlife the better in my opinion.

Hopefully it fills out.


Rainbow lorikeet feasting on red gum flowers.

This was the Inner West Council Meeting held at Ashfield Chambers. I did not attend, but instead watched the live-streaming from the comfort of my lounge room.   The meeting lasted 4 hours 32 minutes.

I usually just write what was said, but as this was about democracy & my ability to participate, I decided to write a few words. Anything in [ ] are my words.  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).


Mayor Byrne – He explained to the gallery that the meeting was being streamed live to the internet & as such they should behave in a way that does not cause them potential legal difficulties.  He said, “ …for the up to a dozen people in the inner west who are boring enough to want to watch this on the internet…….. if you speak tonight, that will be broadcast to that enormous audience….”  So, I googled & saw that –

  • The meeting of the 31st October 2017 had 364 views.
  • The meeting of the 12th October has had 423 views.
  • The meeting of the 24th October has had 290 views.

This is a far cry from “the up to a dozen people in the inner west who are boring enough to want to watch this on the internet…”   The Mayor’s choice of language is downgrading the utility of this service, which is relatively new & this is a shame.  I find it sad that residents who are engaged in the goings on of council are described as “boring” by the leader of persons who are specifically engaged in open government & deliberative democracy.

7.35pm – Item 2: Draft Code of Meeting Practice –

From the council paper – “The purpose of this report is to adopt a new Code of Meeting Practice for the Inner West Council. The draft Code was publicly exhibited in June 2017 and this report proposes further amendments to the Code after a briefing on the Code was held with the Councillors on 7 November.”

Speaker 1 – I want to support publishing the Code of Meeting Practice [from now onwards – CoMP] on the website.  I disagree with the council officer’s view that the public forum should be limited to no more than 60-minutes at the commencement of the meeting & that the public register to speak.  ….it is much better for the members of the community be able to speak when the thing comes up.  I’ve had things to say at times, have thought of things to say while the councilors are speaking & wanted to make comment.  If I had to speak at the beginning, then there is no time to listen to what the councilors are saying.  You also say that all speakers must register by 2pm.  I disagree with this because people may think about things they want to say that they think about when the meeting is going on.  I do notice that the Mayor can allow someone to speak even if they haven’t registered.  I want to support that.  How can I as a member of the community who wants to say something about something I’ve read in the paper.  I’ve read about these two houses up for demolition.  Why isn’t there an option for members of the community to bring up something & say something.  If it wasn’t here as a notice of motion I wouldn’t be able to say anything about it, except write a letter to the local paper.  What is the option for people in open government to be able to say things?  I write to the General Manager, which it says I should do & he sends it to someone, but it’s not about that.  It’s about how can the general public make a comment about something they disagree with?  There is no way to do this in this system.

Mayor Byrne called the next speaker from the gallery.  He identified him as a member of the Greens.

Clr Porteous – Point of order.  The Mayor is of a habit of pointing out the political party of people in the gallery.  It’s inappropriate.  If you are going to do it be consistent & point out the Labor party members, the Liberal party members, any other party members that there are, but you pointedly only ever say Greens members.

Mayor Byrne – Is this a point of order or a speech?  Let me know when the point of order will conclude.  Would you like me to rule on the point of order?   It has been the case that at each single meeting since the election there has been a cotterie of Greens members in attendance & that has contributed to the business not being dealt with, but I will withdraw that & I won’t seek to identify them any longer.  Given that _____ was the convener of the NSW Greens, everyone knows that already.

[I don’t know the speaker or what roles he has performed.  With respect to the Mayor, disclosing personal information about speakers who have an equal right to speak as any other speaker who is not a member of any political party is a gross violation of their privacy. It may be true that some people knew that particular speaker’s political affiliations, but the whole world did not.  Once something is on the internet it is accessible to the whole world.  Therefore, we should care about privacy.]

Speaker 2 – This is my first meeting of the IWC in its democratic form.  I want to address the section in the CoMP that wants to confine residents to an hour at the beginning of every meeting.  It seems to me there can be no doubt that this is a constriction, a restriction & should be rejected by the councillors of the Inner West Council.   It’s strikes me as rather ironic that the …I know that the hatching of this CoMP was began under the Administrator.  I note that the Administrator administered council meetings according to the CoMP of Leichhardt Council, which this recommendation wants to get rid of.  It would be truly ironic if the undemocratically appointed Administrator adopted & implemented a CoMP that was more democratic, more in favour of public participation than the one adopted tonight.  [He went on to say that residents often help with expertise to help the councilors & their decision-making.]

Speaker 3 – I want to address in particular, the actual options for the public input.  If the public is limited to speaking an hour before these issues are discussed, there is no adequate focus to get the message across clearly.  The process here is a precious one & as democratic people we should support it & that is what I am arguing for.  I want to public to have access to all debates.  That is a truly democratic process.

Clr Drury – I seek an amendment to delete the words in Clause 1, to adopt the CoMP with the following amendments –

  • delete the reference to the public forum,
  • rename public forum to addressing council,
  • & in 2.8 clause 2, basically saying people can come up to give submissions prior to the item as it comes up in the order of council, but we look at a maximum of 3 speakers for & against the item.
  • Further, delete the note of clause 6.1.5 that we publish yadda yadda yadda.

Council is about making good decisions in the best interests of our community.  I am concerned that what has started with this council is a process where too many decisions don’t get made & matters don’t get progressed in an orderly fashion.  I believe this code if we adopted it would allow us to get about the business of council in a far more effective fashion.  I’ve got to say I get lots of submissions from lots of residents on lots of items in the agenda prior to the meeting.  Lots of people email me, lots of people ring me & say, I suggest you amend this, you don’t do this, you do that & I actually work with those residents who want to improve council decisions prior to the meeting.  We have a recommendation that I think encapsulates the issues concerned.  We should not have people coming up here expressly to amend something if they have already determined that & they could have spoken to a councillor & try to convince them before.

[This point is interesting in that many of us, including myself, have written to a councillor & not received a reply.  During the last council, I spoke to a councillor in the supermarket.  The councilor had something like 2,500 emails for just that week. How can councillors be expected to truly negotiate with residents when they are responsible for so many people in each ward? I can’t see why residents cannot just go to the council meeting & speak for 3-minutes to all the councillors, instead of having to approach one before the meeting & then essentially shut up.  While it can be confronting for some to speak at a council meeting, it can also be confronting trying to present your case outside the council meeting.  This is precisely why there is such a low participation in the community.  Many people in our community are afraid of the authority of both the council & the councillors.]

Back to Clr Drury – I am also minded that what democracy means is very different for different people.  I think that to hang on to one CoMP of one of the councils & claim that that is the ants-pants of democracy is perhaps a little limited in scope.  All around the world there are a myriad ways of looking at democracy.  There are arguments for & against.  I think perhaps we need to be a little more open minded & look at other ways.  My primary interest in moving this amendment is so we can get through making good decisions in the best interests of our community.

Clr Macri seconded Clr Drury’s amendment.

Clr Passas – Supporting the amendment.  Once, twice at the most, out of every single decision made by councilors, a speaker swayed the councillor’s vote.  I would say everyone votes in a block.  Their mind is made up.  We might take on board…. a few little amendments might be made, but.  [Interjection from the gallery.]

[How sad is that.  I suspected this, but it still smarted to hear it in actual words.  Essentially Clr Passas is saying from her considerable experience as a councillor, that the councillors’ minds are made up & no matter what you do or say, you won’t sway them or change their decision.]

Back to Clr Passas – When residents have an issue that they are really concerned about they do contact the councillor & let the councillor know.  The councillor will come up, has taken that information on board & will move amendments, discuss with his colleagues or the block & see what they can do about it.  We have issues here & people come up for purely political reasons & most of the people who come up to address council turn out to be candidates at the next election.  And they are up here at every meeting going on about an issue & that’s their platform.  We aren’t the electoral commission.  We are here making decisions for people & if we have not read our business papers & followed up & received more information that we need for our decision, I don’t think that one person coming up & addressing council saying how bad the state or federal government is or whatever, it’s going to sway the councilors to change their mind.

[Again, residents who are engaged & choose to attend council meetings are seen as preparing to run for the next council election.  We haven’t even done 6-months in this new council & this is the attitude toward the community in the gallery.  This is a cynical & disparaging view of community participation.  I attend council meetings because I am interested in what is happening.   I find the meetings interesting.  My husband does as well.  I am sure that most of us who have attended do so because of the issues being debated.  That which affects our future is of interest to us. Participants in deliberative democracy are not just those who run for office.]

Clr Porteous – Moved a foreshadowed motion – that the IWC defer the decision to change the CoMP until the new model CoMP is released by the Office of Local Government & until that time, continue to use the Leichhardt CoMP & from February 2018 there be two council meetings a month.  There could not be a bigger affront to democracy than this CoMP.  It’s a real watering down of democracy & I guess it is one of the desired outcomes of the amalgamation to ensure we have as little input as possible into the democratic process of council from the public because it is certainly achieving that.  You could have 20 people registering to speak on the traffic committee, & then we have none to speak on every other item that is on the agenda.  There are a lot of other issues that have not been addressed by Clr Drury’s amendment, which is why I think we should not be adopting this CoMP this evening.  The way motions & questions on notice are dealt with & I ask that Councilors look at page 57 & you will note the extraordinary power that is given to the General Manager that the council staff will not answer questions on notice.  This is not acceptable that the General Manager gets to decide that a question gets answered.  If you look at page 73, the General Manager can kick out motions & this is unacceptable as well.  We are the elected decision-making body of this council.  The motion should be on the papers & should be debated by council.  You are actually allowing the General Manager to remove your motions.   We already know that the Office of Local Government are going to release the new CoMP in the next 2-3 months.  We have a new council.  Rather than us change the CoMP, then change the CoMP again, we can change it once when we have the model of the new CoMP.  We do it properly & get it right because it is confusing to the public.  It’s more difficult for council to function properly & it’s not good process.  It’s not good governance to continually change to CoMP.

Clr Stamolis – I have six amendments.  Remove the words – shall stand when speaking.  Remove any reference for a public forum.  Any debate in council will lack coherence if we do that.  You see 15 councillors here tonight.  By the third public forum you will see 3 or 4.  Councillors won’t be turning up for them.  If the public forum ends up after 16 minutes, what do we do.  Wait around?  We allow councilors to speak for 5-minutes. I think that should be 3-minutes.  I am completely against two councillors speaking for & two against.  We will debate if we do that, we could lose fantastic amendments & motions if we close off the debate.  If we do decide to proceed with such an inflexible & draconian measure, it should be done only on the basis of a vote & a minimum of two-thirds of councilors to stop any party gagging going on.  In a notice of motion that requires funds that we have to identify the source of funds I completely disagree with that.  Councillors are entitled to put forward motions that will get assessed by our staff.

Clr McKenna –  The CoMP is more than two terms old.  It wasn’t adopted after 2012.  At the local government meeting that I attended the Officer made it very clear that, yes, they are working on a new CoMP, but it was a lower priority.  Knowing how poor they are getting things out in time, I doubt we will see a code this time next year.  We need a new CoMP.  Whether we adopt Clr Drury’s or another, we have to have a new code.

Clr Hesse – We are a council of 185,000 people & growing.  We need a process where we actually maximize the input from residents.  Unlike Clr Passas I have been informed many times in my previous time in Marrickville Council from the gallery about things I hadn’t thought of.  It is a really important conversation to have with residents.  The proposal is deeply, deeply flawed.  Councillors standing could cause grandstanding.  We have a worry with gag clauses.  This stops the public’s right to drill down into issues & to hear the representatives speak.  This draft CoMP is so flawed. Let’s adopt the old Leichhardt one until there is another one foisted on us by the Office of Local Government.

Clr Iskandar – Gave his 17-year history at Marrickville Council.  We had a CoMP that worked very, very well. I would like to adopt that.  Marrickville’s code gives a lot of democracy, a lot of opportunity for the gallery. They were very involved in choosing 3 for & 3 against.  We learnt a lot from them.  [He preferred the public spoke at the beginning of the meeting.]

Clr Macri – This code is probably a hybrid between Ashfield & Marrickville’s CoMP.  It’s nearly 8.30pm. We have to be succinct with the speakers.  [This item started at 7.35pm.  There were 3 speakers who took up 11-minutes of the meeting time.  I don’t think the community speakers are to blame for the slow pace of this meeting.]

Back to Clr Macri – I don’t want to hear motions from councilors about saving blue whales in Antarctica.  I don’t have an issue with the General Manager using common sense.  We need an effective CoMP that allows people to get in, hear their item, speak to & witness their item & then leave.  Come in the first hour, have their say & then disappear.     He supported Clr Drury’s amendment.

Clr Passas – We used to have a prayer before the meeting started.  We did amend it to a period of quiet contemplation & I wondered if we could reintroduce that.  I wanted to sprinkle holy water in the room, but no-one would let me.    Clr Drury accepted this into his amendment.  The public forum is not included in the public forum.

Mayor Byrne – This is very similar to the City of Sydney’s Code.  I don’t consider them to be an undemocratic institution.  I do think though the usefulness of the CoMP is how we make use of it in practice.  There does need to be an improvement in the way we do our business.  [He offered all 15 councillors speaking to an item & residents needing to wait until 11pm for this item to come up as examples.]

The vote on Clr Stamilos’s amendments –

  • “Shall stand when speaking.” Mayor Byrne voted against, but he did not say the names of councillors who voted & these are not visible on the video.
  • Public forum ruled by the Mayor Byrne as redundant & out of order because the primary motion adopts that.
  • “The mover of the motion should speak for 3 minutes, not 5.” Defeated. Mayor Byrne voted against.  Staff – Legislation requires that councillor may speak for 5-minutes.
  • “Councillors are required to reveal the source of their funding.”   Mayor Byrne voted against.
  • Remove “Council should not be limited – to two speakers for & against.” Mayor Byrne ruled out of order.  Amendments defeated.

The vote for the primary motion from Clr Drury – carried.  Mayor Byrne voted yes.

[I think Mayor Byrne should say the names of the councillors who voted for & against an item for the benefit of those residents who watch on the internet.  This is more transparent & is about open government.  This issue is easily fixed.   Or we could make a guess, correctly or otherwise, that the Labor & Liberal councillors, plus Clr Macri voted in the same way as did Mayor Byrne.]

Here ends the Report for this month.  Apologies for the delay.

Some people see this as a mess, but to me it is beautiful.

A view of The Greenway filled with Hills Fig trees and an almost continuous canopy. Very special.

Community consultation on site about the Inner West Council’s Masterplan for the 5.8km Greenway corridor.  There are two events locally, both for this coming Saturday.

WHERE:        Jack Shanahan Reserve at Hercules Street Dulwich Hill.
DATE:            Saturday 11 November 2017

TIME:             10am to 12pm

WHERE:        Hoskins Park at Pigott Street Dulwich Hill
WHEN:          Saturday 11 November 2017

TIME:             2pm to 4pm

Currently the Greenway starts at Grosvenor Crescent Lewisham & the shared pedestrian/bicycle path takes you all the way to the Parramatta River at the border of Haberfield & Leichhardt with the Hawthorn Canal dividing them.  It’s a lovely place in my opinion & a much needed haven for wildlife. I am very glad it is being completed.   I’ve written about the Greenway here –

From Have Your Say website – “The NSW Government and the new Inner West Council have announced a joint commitment of $14.5 million towards the cost of completing the GreenWay missing links. This will unlock approximately 3ha of open space not currently accessible to the community.”

The missing links will open the Greenway to the public from Lewisham all the way to the Cooks River beside Wardell Road Earlwood.  This will result in an off-road path from Earlwood to Leichhardt – safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Three hectares of linear open space is not to be scoffed at considering how poor the levels of green space is in the former Marrickville municipality area.  The Greenway is one of the few places locally where the tree canopy is consistent & reaches over my head.  It is the only one off road.   Hopefully, Inner West Council will plant big canopy trees & tall trees along the new section to create the same effect where trees create a buffer from the urban surroundings.  Let the Greenway truly be green.

You can also participate in community consultation online at –

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.”



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.

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.


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


  • 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 – & at

The deadline for submissions is 8th November 2017.

Lovely canopy of a Eucalyptus tree

I recently posted about the Marrickville Ward candidates for the Saturday 9th September 2017 council elections. See –

There will be 15 Councillors overall for the Inner West Council, 3 for each –

  • Marrickville Ward,
  • Stanmore Ward,
  • Leichhardt Ward,
  • Ashfield Ward &
  • Balmain Ward.

Stanmore Ward – covers the suburbs of Stanmore, Lewisham, Petersham, Newtown, Enmore & Camperdown. 

Facebook group No WestConnex posted a video of the Meet the Candidates of Stanmore Ward.  The meeting was organised by the ‘Newtown Residents Against WestConnex.’

The candidates are –

  • James (no last name given, though I think it is Gilronan) (Independent),
  • Anna York (Labor)
  • Pauline Lockie (Independent)
  • Lou Steer (Greens),
  • Pip Hinman (Socialist Alliance)
  • There is a Liberal candidate, Ken Henderson. He sent a written statement in lieu of attending.

Preferences – 

  • Anna Lord (Labor) said Labor will preference a progressive candidate, not the Liberals.
  • James (Independent) undecided. Said he will give people ideas on how to use their preferences.
  • Pauline Lockie (Independent) is allowing people to decide their own preferences.
  • Lou Steer (Greens) will favour progressive candidates & not the Liberals.
  • Pip Hinman (Socialist Alliance) – Greens first, then Pauline Lockie.

Issues addressed –  Candidates position on WestConnex, tree removal & other associated issues concerning WestConnex that are affecting the local community & on the M4 & M5 link.   Council assisting community groups, remediation measures, public transport plan, the Metro train line, light rail on & the development of Parramatta Road, cycle ways, privatization of buses locally, livability, air pollution, the Labor candidate’s ability to contact Luke Foley re the Labor party’s position on WestConnex, corruption, “the stench at St Peters” from digging for WestConnex, the issue of serious community concerns being unsupported by Council, the clearways on King Street & other major roads, tearing up contracts for WestConnex, de-amalgamating the Council, & transparency of the Council merger into the public domain.

Significant time was spent trying to ascertain Labor’s position on WestConnex.  The Labor candidate Anna York said local Labor opposes all three stages of WestConnex.  However, a community member said that the Leader of NSW Labor Party Luke Foley states differently on his website – supporting Stage 1 and 2 & also supporting to lengthen Stage 1 by putting a freeway to the CBD.

“If I cast a vote for local Labour, wouldn’t I be indicating tacit support for the Labor party’s position?” Anna York repeated that local Labor has their own views.    “You are running against the position of your state party?”   The key word is “local Labor.”  One commenter said along the lines of – so local labor is against what state Labor’s position is.


As I wrote in my previous post, the elected Councillors will be deciding on issues affecting the whole of this massive municipality.  Issues affecting Birchgrove will be decided by all 15 Councillors & all 15 Councillors will be deciding issues affecting the former Marrickville LGA.  Therefore, the three representatives we elect will be incredibly important for fighting for our rights, our community & our area because they will be the only ones who know our area.  It will be the same for the other wards in the new LGA.  Who we vote for is extremely important.

In my opinion our community can no longer afford to be unaware of what is happening at Council or the views of the Councillors for much of what they pass in council meetings has to do with their own personal beliefs & perhaps not in line with the community.   For example, we cannot complain about over-development if we gave our vote to a candidate who is pro development.

You can watch the candidates speak & address questions put to them by the community here –

The palm trunk above the Marrickville Golf Course Club House is the new home of a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  The white dot is a cockatoo.


On 19th August 2017, I posted about a palm tree trunk behind the Club House at Marrickville Golf Course that was being used as a nesting hollow by a pair of Cockatoos.   See –

I rode past today & it was gone.

Fig birds in a Poplar tree in Marrickville

We have a local council election happening Saturday 9th September 2017 where we get to vote in the first Councillors of the new Inner West Council & say goodbye to Administrator Richard Pearson.

There will be 15 Councillors overall, 3 for each –

  • Marrickville Ward,
  • Stanmore Ward,
  • Leichhardt Ward,
  • Ashfield Ward &
  • Balmain Ward.

Marrickville Ward – covers the suburbs of Marrickville, St Peters, Sydenham & Tempe. 

Facebook group No WestConnex posted a video of the Meet the Candidates of Marrickville Ward held Last Thursday night.

The candidates are –

  • Victoria Pye (Independent),
  • Col Hesse (Greens),
  • Sam Iskandar (Labor) &
  • Victor Macri (Independent).
  • There is a Liberal candidate, but the moderator said they declined to attend.

Preferences –

  • Vic Macri (Independent) will not be giving away preferences because the people who voted for him only want him.
  • Col Hesse (Greens) are giving their preferences to Victoria Pye first with Labor next.
  • Victoria Pye (Independent) is giving her preferences to the Greens.
  • Sam Iskandar (Labor) has not decided their preferences yet.

Issues addressed –

  • The Victoria Road Precinct, tree loss intended for Wicks Park as part of the Victoria Road Precinct, the Gateway Process, setting up a community plan, the size of the new council, opposing the WestConnex Motorway, sustainable development, green space protection, infrastructure, demerge from such a large Council, a more representative council, the proposed cycle-way along Addison Road, prioritizing the use of public spaces for the use of schools, massive increase in population coming to our area, proposed stadium at the former Jets Sports Club, community services & programs, location of Council Meetings, construction noise, trucks & roads, smoke stacks, over-development, rise in land valuations, the Local Environment Plan, the Development Control Plan & more.

The elected Councillors will be deciding on issues affecting the whole of this massive municipality.  Issues affecting Birchgrove will be decided by all 15 Councillors & all 15 Councillors will be deciding issues affecting the former Marrickville LGA.  Therefore, the six representatives we elect for Stanmore & Marrickville Wards will be incredibly important for fighting for our rights, our community & our area because they will be the only ones who know our area.  It will be the same for the other wards in the new LGA.

Listening to the video it appeared to me that some candidates want to oppose WestConnex tooth & nail, while another wants to mitigate issues with WestConnex.   Our area is undergoing massive & ongoing change.  As such, who we vote for is extremely important.

In my opinion, our community can no longer afford to be unaware of what is happening at Council or the views of the Councillors for much of what they pass in council meetings has to do with their own personal beliefs & perhaps not in line with the community.   For example, we cannot complain about over-development if we gave our vote to a candidate who is pro development.

You can watch the candidates speak & address questions put to them by the community here –    I am told this is a better link –

I came across this blog in a google search & found the post, “Inner West Council Election, 2017” to be an interesting read.  It also lists all the candidates & whether they are conservative aka right-leaning or left leaning, which can help especially with candidates not affiliated with a political party.   See –

I shall post about Stanmore Ward tomorrow.



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