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Photo from February 2010 where all Marrickville Coucillors carried the Marrickvilel Council banner & headed the march against the last attempt to get a Motorway over Tempe Wetlands & Tempe Reserve.

Photo from February 2010 where a number of Labor, Greens & Independent Marrickville Councillors carried the purple Marrickville Council banner & headed the protest march of around 300 people against the last attempt to get a Motorway over Tempe Wetlands & through Tempe Reserve.

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.  Absent:  Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias & Haylen.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT Macri/Central, Hanna/South

Marrickville Cooks River Committee recommendation that Council oppose the proposed Westconnex & M5E – There were 3 speakers in favour of the motion.

Speaker 1:  Michelle Ziebots – Transport Planner, academic at UTS, advisor on panel for NSW Transport Master Plan.  Said she was speaking to 2 broad points; wider strategic transport needs & residents who need to be protected by this development.  During the time we were on the Transport Panel we were asked to comment on transport in Sydney. We generally commented on public transport options. We needed to see an increase in spending for public transport infrastructure & second harbour crossing.  More public transport will allow people to get out of the car, but there really aren’t the funds available. It’s a statewide problem.  We can’t do both.  Urban motorway development is not a great solution to traffic management.  People move between the two, whichever gives them the quickest journey. If we have a public transport network, less people will be on the road.  The motorway plan was headed up by Greiner. I don’t believe it has got strong technical backing. This is a variation of the past. There was a previous attempt to extend the M4 Motorway.  There can be devastating impacts on the feeder roads.  We need to spare the residents currently affected by WestConnex.  It is in the interest of MC & a lot of transport providers to say that we don’t want WestConnex to go ahead.  There is a wide raft of public transport available & it is these MC needs to support.

Speaker 2:  President of the Wolli Creek Preservation Society – 25% of our members live in Marrickville municipality.  We have had clear information from Maritime Services about WestConnex.  It will destroy 2 hectares of bushland (11% of the bushland of Wolli Creek) & about 400 high quality trees, which would not be allowed to be removed if they were in people’s backyards.  The M5 East was congested within 2-years.  More roads attract more cars. Patronage of the East Hills line dropped after the M5 was built.  Motorways take money from public transport.  Road peak times are largely solo drivers.  Congestion is self-limiting.   Providing good public transport is available. The other solution is charging & allows wealthy people priority use.  Climate change is also an issue.  This is no time to be building roads.

Speaker 3:  My family have a long history in Tempe. 4 generations have lived in my house.  This issue came to Council 2-years ago.  All Councillors were united to oppose the road across Tempe.  It’s a no brainer.  All Councillors were completely against the motorway.  This will destroy more people’s homes. The wetlands are very precious. To dig into the Tempe Tip site will be an environmental disaster. We do not want to see wetlands, which has the largest number of birds in the LGA, be affected.  A tree is listing on Fatima Island.  It’s an emergency situation. We are a part of the environment.  I ask MC to oppose WestConnex flat-out. We do not need any more reports.

Clr Leary:  Motion: I ask that MC does oppose WestConnex & MC write to the Minister informing him of MC’s opposition. This was adopted unanimously by the Cooks River Committee. Our residents are against this proposal.  I know the Councillors have dealt with aspects of this issue a few months ago.  I thought the response was woefully inadequate. It’s great to see Clr Hanna siding with the Greens on this.  He always supports the residents of Tempe.  The main argument for the Taskforce was that we need more information before we can comment. There are 14 things we know about WestConnex & only one is enough to reject.

  1. No traffic modeling before the project has been announced.
  2. Sydney is the 4th worst city in terms of public transport. WestConnex will suck money away from public transport.
  3. The plan has been criticized & condemned by leading experts.
  4. We know it will have a significant & major negative impact on the Wolli Creek area.
  5. Two main routes have been proposed.  One route is gazetted & goes through Tempe Reserve & Tempe Wetlands.  The other is through the Alexandra Canal.  All proposals take from Tempe & all our LGA.
  6. The Minister appears to be concerned about the cost.
  7. Existing road reserves … [I missed this bit].
  8. Tunnels mean toxic smoke stacks.  The Minister said we won’t get the best technology for smoke stacks because of costs.
  9. The justification is that WestConnex will relieve traffic around Botany, but this section of road has been removed.
  10. The Minister’s long-term financial plan in Tempe (pg 15). There is a risk that these sites may be removed from MC.   What is the cost to MC?  Looks like the rent is $2.3 million per year.  Average this over 10-years & it will be a black hole to MC of around $23 million.  It is questionable whether we will get more from them that the value of the land.
  11. We know Councillors had a briefing re WestConnex, but this was only open to the Clrs & a few staff – no public consultation.
  12. We know the Federal Government is currently jointly funding a study of WestConnex with the State Government & has representation on a committee.  Our Local Member is funding the study of WestConnex.
  13. We know that the Labor Party is split on the issue.  Clr Woods is on the Cooks River Committee & they unanimously voted against WestConnex, so I hope Clr Woods will be against the WestConnex tonight.
  14. Another point – the meeting that I chaired on the weekend of environmental groups … a Tempe resident said. “This is a no-brainer.”  Why are not all the other Councillors opposing WestConnex?  So if you support a delay, can you explain why?  A motorway through our community is the worst thing.

Clr Hanna:  Last time I voted against it & I will vote against tonight.  I was really surprised that some Councillors were saying go for it.  Go to the people & ask them. Last time the Labor, Greens & even Anthony Albanese were marching against it.  It’s about time MC shows that they are not neglecting Tempe & Sydenham.

Clr Woods:  Two amendments – point 2; change to “formally oppose motorway if it will have a negative impact on Tempe Reserve, Wolli Creek & any other part of Marrickville area.”  Point 3: says there is already an accepted position that MC has & this will change depending on point 2.  Replacing all of point 3 motion of 16th October 2012 will remain MC’s position.  Clr Leary’s position is all about strategy & is dishonest.

Clr Leary: Withdraw dishonest accusation.

Clr Woods:  I will replace with ‘misleading’ if Councillors will not oppose WestConnex that we are not concerned & we are very concerned about the environmental impacts.  Our position is if that proposal duplicates that of before, we will oppose this.  The reason why I put point 3 was because that was a reasoned decision. Clr Leary would like to say the debate is over.  I think the debate will go on & on & we should adopt a reasoned approach as things come.  We will probably not support WestConnex once we get all the details & realize the environmental impacts.  It’s quite disadvantageous to knock out my amendments.  If WestConnex causes environmental damage we will not support it.

Mayor Macri:  Clr Leary said we have the 4th worst public transport system. I’d much rather our public transport system than trade for Beijing’s human rights.  It is misleading Clr Leary about the quality of air in tunnels.  The Minister said they have learnt.  It won’t be the same as the Lane Cove tunnel, which is actually cleaner than the air outside.  It’s interesting that Clr Learys is concerned about MC’s financial position when he refused the container DA now in the Land & Environment Court.    The meeting had nothing that would concern the public.  It was about how to engage the public in consultation.  They said it will be on the table.  At this stage there are no details.  Many of Clr Leary’s points are rhetoric.  I’d be concerned if our Federal Minister didn’t investigate where our funds go.  The clearest & most damming thing is build it & the people will use it.  Car-pooling is available.  That is why I got the Tarago.  Councillors should not drive singularly to inspections.  We can’t say no, no, no.  If it is detrimental, I’m sure all Councillors will oppose.

Clr Phillips:  Clr Hanna was right in that MC has a long history…

Clr Gardener:  Point of order.  Clr Phillips should not speak as only one speaker after an amendment.   If someone has spoken for, there are no speakers against. It’s in the Code of Practice.   Staff:  I believe we are talking about substantial motion by Clr Leary & foreshadowed motion by Clr Woods.  Clr Phillips:  I’ve been on Council for 4-years & Clr Hanna 16-years. The practice has always been all Councillors have a chance to speak. It’s a real pity if you shut me down.

Clr Gardener:  I’m not shutting you down.  There is no debate.  I am against Councillors grandstanding & using Council Chambers to mislead the community.  Clr Phillips: People know WestConnex goes up Parramatta Road.  There is a long history of MC opposing various incarnations of motorways through, over & under Marrickville LGA.  Clr Leary made an excellent case against the motorway. The community know about the motorway & they do not want it.  I think it a narrow short-term vision at the detriment of Marrickville & Leichhardt.  How many times has the Taskforce met that was set up last year?    Staff:  We just received a letter from Duncan Grey who said no Taskforce has been formed, so no meetings yet.

Clr Woods:  Question involves direction number 7.  We urge residents of Marrickville LGA to be involved in consultation.  This motion gets rid of the process of consultation with the community.  My amendment acknowledges that the community is concerned & we do not want to take consultation out of the motion.

Clr Gardener:  I am against Clr Phillips’s amendment.  This room is like 1939. The bombs haven’t started dropping.  We don’t know what is happening. We have a Taskforce that haven’t met because there is nothing to talk about yet.  If my home was bulldozed, I’d be in front of the bulldozers & your house also.    I have grave fears that this will fix any issue.  We are not saying we will oppose for the sake of opposing it.  If we are to be taken seriously, we should wait & see. Don’t fight the phony war.

Clr Leary:  I disagree with Clr Macri’s interpretation of what occurred with the Minister. I think it is ludicrous that they will be no community consultation just because Councillors opposed WestConnex.  Just because MC opposes WestConnex does not mean we will be locked out of the process.

Vote:  For Clr Leary’s motion – Clr Philips. Leary, Brooks, Ellsmore & Hanna.  Against: Mayor Macri, Clrs Woods & Tyler.  Motion passed.  Clr Gardener walked out of the Chamber just as the vote was beginning & returned just as the vote ended & therefore he did not vote.

The motion adopted is – That Council:

1. Note the minutes of the Marrickville Cooks River Committee meeting of 26 November 2012.

2. Resolves to formally oppose the WestConnex motorway & widening of the M5 East & any other motorway proposal that will have negative impacts on the Wolli Creek Regional Park, the Tempe Wetlands & any other area of the Marrickville LGA &

3. Directs the General Manager to write to the Minister for Roads & Ports & the NSW Premier notifying them of MC’s opposition to WestConnex.

The old Marrickville Hospital site on Marrickville Road

The old Marrickville Hospital site on Marrickville Road

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South

New Marrickville Library – Progress Report – The recommendation was that:

1. Council reaffirms its commitment to the library as a major project priority;

2. Council expresses its appreciation to the residents of Lillydale Street for their patience with the early works;

3. Council notes the report and resolves to proceed with Phase 4 consultation to include;

a) the Accommodation Schedule schemes referred to in the report identifying Scheme 1 as Council’s preferred option; &

b)  the funding options identifying Option 3 as Council’s preferred option;

4. a report regarding the outcome of the Phase 4 consultation be submitted to Council in March 2013;

5. Council continue to develop the adopted design concept for the library to meet the key program dates discussed in the report; &

6. further progress reports be submitted to the Major Projects Steering Committee and Council with regard to the ongoing work.

There were two speakers supporting Council’s recommendation in the Progress Report.  After a really long debate the following motion put up by Mayor Macri & seconded by Clr Tsardoulias.  This motion was passed with the vote being – For – Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods, Gardener, Tyler & Hanna.  Against – Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks & Ellsmore.

That:

1.  Council reaffirms its commitment to achieving the best outcome for the community in its use for the old hospital site to provide the best library & public space.

2.  Council expresses its appreciation to the residents of Lillydale Street & neighbouring streets for their patience with the early works

3.  Council adopts Accommodation Schedule Scheme

4.  The current project continues & that alternative cost saving options be presented without further reducing the floor space reflected by 3 above & including access from Marrickville Road

5.  Subject to obtaining all required State Government approvals for the conduct of an expression of interest process;

a)    EOIs be obtained for the development of a building on Precinct B (of no more than 4 storeys) & the Livingstone Road frontage of Precinct C to include; a shell space for a future library as per 3 above & the provision of 60 car spaces all at no cost to Council.  Such EOIs to comply with applicable planning requirements, but may also consider the demolition of the 3 terraces fronting Livingstone Road.  Such demolition would be subject to the proponent obtaining the development consent.

b)    In submitting EIOs, proponents may consider lodging EOIs for the development of the entire site, but must include the requirements set out in 5(a) above & must also include for the conservation & reuse of the remaining heritage buildings 1 & 4 & the provision of civic open space preferable fronting Marrickville Road of no less than 1,200sqm.

c)    Alternatively, proponents may consider lodging EOIs for the developments of Precincts C, D & E only.

6.  Development proposals for the residential are to include affordable housing at the rate of at least 4% of total units.

7.  Concurrent with the above, the existing concept designs for the development of a library at Marrickville Town Hall be presented to Council.

8.  Funding for the above activities to be drawn from the property reserve.

9.  That Council reaffirms its commitment to full community consultation in relation to the options considered.

  1. Marrickville Hospital building

    Marrickville Hospital building

Arlington Oval, though the 2 Sydney Blue Gums on the left have been removed.

Arlington Oval, though the 2 Sydney Blue Gums on the left have been removed.

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  I have left out some of the debate as it ran for more than 1 hour & many things were repeated.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council, AO = Arlington Oval, ST = synthetic turf, PoM = Plan of Management.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South

Notice of Motion: Street Tree Outside 16 Temple Street, Stanmore – Clr Phillips asked: That Council monitor the Lemon Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora) street tree outside 16 Temple Street for 12 months & then review the decision for removal. I was not present for the debate.  Vote for – Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks, Ellsmore, Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods & Gardiner.  Against Mayor Macri, Clrs Hanna & Tyler. Carried.

Notice of Motion to Rescind: Arlington Reserve Playing Field – This issue was debated on 20th November 2012.  See – http://bit.ly/TnDEX5    Clr Gardiner: Because no-one gave a precis of the speakers for & against, there should be no speakers tonight.  Staff: It’s a policy matter. You are entitled to insist on it, but it has not been common practice.  Clr Brooks:  People should not be stopped from speaking on a technicality.  As there were 33 people from the community registered to speak it was decided that only 3 for & 3 against could speak.

The speakers for the rescission motion raised the following – 1,348 petition signatures were collected against ST over last 5 days.  It doesn’t add up financially – $800,000, plus maintenance to replace a $50,000 maintenance bill for grass?  That’s $750,000.  There are environmental impacts. ST can be 20 degrees hotter in summer & that heat is going into surrounding houses. Chemicals are also an issue.  Find another ground for one of the clubs. A local school might like having their ground developed.  There is enormous disquiet about this in the community.  It’s about equity & ethics.  Report says that soccer clubs will help pay for field improvements.  Is the offer from the clubs in writing? If so, why aren’t the papers attached as per ICAC guidelines?  I’m concerned about a minority group disenfranchising the local community.  The problem is 2 clubs playing on the one field.  This denies access to the community & schools.  Leaves cannot fall on ST so there will be calls to remove the trees. The clubs assert there will be no increase in usage, yet we will be spending $1 – $1.5 million?  The Hurlstone Park Wanderers are interested in playing at AO.  MC said it would need to increase usage to more than 60 hrs/week.  A tripling is unreasonable.  To vote first & act later is a farce.

The speakers against the rescission motion raised the following issues –  Grass surfaces are not suitable at AO in current state despite MC spending $300,000 to rectify the issue.  ST is safe for everyone.  Why else would schools install it?  No safety concerns, only myths.  The environmental concerns are favourable. The field will not get more usage. All users are members of the community. ST will show how MC are looking after the people. Councils all over NSW are approving ST.  It’s crazy when you roll your ankle & you are out for 3-months.  My enjoyment of that field should be the same as everyone else’s.  We represent 1,800 people & the Stanmore Hawkes have 3,500 people.  48 games a month is a myth.  32 degrees of higher & no game can be played. We pick up dogs droppings on AO before our kids play football.  There is no leeching from ST surface.  Everyone says AO is a dog pit & they hate coming there. (After the speakers finished a representative from each side left the Chamber together, presumably to negotiate a mutually agreeable outcome.)

Clr Brooks: The residents worked very hard. 1,348 petition signatures were collected over last 5 days. I was concerned about contempt via emails from Clrs. Why are you ramming a motion like this through when there is so much concern, logical impossibilities & so many questions?  Important to recognize there is a shortage of open space.  There is no business case for ST at AO. The environmental issues are quite specific to the location.  I have concerns regarding technical decisions around this proposal. The embankments make drainage difficult.  ST does not do well with pools of water.  The residents have very little trust that they will be respected or consulted.  There will be floodlights streaming into houses until 9pm.  If we can get a commitment from MC about turning off the lights, then this won’t be an issue.  Clr Phillips: We have to vote to rescind the rescission motion to debate the issue.  Moved to investigate hybrid grass.

Mayor Macri:  Clr Tsardoulias:  Last meeting we didn’t vote to lay ST. We spend $56,500 every year. We have problems in LGA with a shortage of space.  Tempe Reserve is a pig sty. Mackey Park is a mess.  AO is restricted to 22 weeks in the year.  We had community engagement for months.  Every day we face complaints by staff & players.  We could shut AO down & the issue would be solved, but I’m in the business of keeping it open.  Violence in the community is not tolerated. In the last 7 days people have been threatened; receiving phone calls at midnight. Concerns about traffic will be alleviated because of the PoM.  Today I instructed the Rangers to find out who owns the boat. I’ve instructed them to tow away cars.  It will be enforced & monitored on a weekly basis.  AO has been there a long time, since I was a kid.  This motion I’ve received is a balancing act.  I’m about listening.

Clr Brooks: Amendment – MC provide a report on the environmental health of synthetic turf with references to DCP & LEP.  Cr Phillips: A couple of years ago we gave $270,000 to get good turf at AO.  If it’s failing I’d like to know why.  We have thrown away a lot of money.  I am not convinced we have to go the way of ST.  AO is not a closed ground.  MC should look at other areas.  If we were to do it, we should do it in Tempe Reserve.  AO is the wrong place.  That’s why 1,300 signatures were collected in only 5 days.  MC must recognize this.  Residents must feel they have been heard.  MC did choose Option 3.  There is a real risk that the players will want to change the PoM in the future.

Mayor Macri:  Motion that we get a report on the condition of the surface & outline options. 1. Maintain current usage & deal with problems as is. 2. Reduce usage & tell clubs we don’t want you there. 3. Investigate ST. Nothing is wrong with the process.  Henson Park is a good model. They all get on because they respect each other. There are no dogs at Henson Park so there is no poo problem.  Nothing was in the report about taking out trees.  The surface is vacuumed once a week. Actual soccer use is heritage.  MC spends more money on its residents. We are Number One.

Clr Leary: Tempe Reserve is not dead. There are many in the community fighting against WestConnex.  Clr Gardiner:  I am ashamed that so many people have expressed abusive & defamatory comments. Exaggerated clapping from the Gallery is unhelpful. As Marrickville’s population increases we are moving toward higher density. People have to learn to get along.   The residents have chosen to live next to a sporting reserve. Over the last week I have heard ST has been blamed for global warming & Hurricane Sandy.  For goodness sake people, get along.  Let’s move forward as a community.

Clr Hanna:  I’m very happy we are going to come to an agreement. Clr Gardiner had worked very hard to get everyone to this situation.  Clr Iskandar:  When I was the Mayor I was very well respected, so some comments show me that some people are looking for cheap politics. It’s about safe turf.  We want to address the issue.  Instead of grass we use ST.  “Some players are wogs.” – that’s not true. I was abused in the first open meeting.  The Management Plan; we did it & everyone was happy.  The Labor Party did it so please treat us with respect.  I commend Clr Gardiner for putting this together.

Mayor Macri:  Part of the motion is to look at lighting issues.  Clr Tsardoulias: in 2009 we said we put shadows on those lights. Agreed to absorb into the motion.  He supported Clr Brook’s amendment, but wanted it dealt in a separate motion.   Clr Gardner: I’m concerned this may delay. Staff: It can be done by Feb 2013.

Clr Tsardoulias: I inspected every oval with staff.  Tempe Reserve is a disaster.  AO; a disaster.  Camperdown Oval; an extreme disaster. Mackey Park; bad.  Our budgets do not cope. We have a reputation of having the best services.  Our childcare is the best because MC takes responsibility to make sure we balance the act.   Vote – unanimous.  Part 2 next.

Arlington Oval, though the 2 Sydney Blue Gums on the left have been removed.

This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Gardener.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South

Arlington Reserve Playing field – recommendation that:

  1. the report be received & noted;
  2. Council consider the options presented in the report;
  3. Council officers prepare a further report, that details the financial, management & community engagement considerations of Council’s preferred option, & addresses issues associated with the use of Arlington Reserve through a plan of management review process; &
  4. Council officers proceed immediately with implementation of Council’s preferred option, including a community engagement process at the outset.

Council resurfaced the field with grass in 2010 at a cost of $272,214.   $1,325,000 has been budgeted for a synthetic surface & replacement of failing retaining wall & path adjoining the playing field.   Usage: September to March: 4-hours/week on average. April to August: 22-hours/week on average by the Dulwich Hill & Stanmore Hawks Football Clubs. MC says synthetic surfaces provide up to 80-hours of use/week.

There were 5 speakers against the recommendation & 2 speakers for the recommendation.  For brevity I will outline the issues discussed rather than each speech.

Issues raised by those speaking AGAINST synthetic turf were –  The proposal is not in the best interests of residents or ratepayers.  The community expects to be consulted with before the decision.  There was extensive consultation in 2009, but no consultation for this now.  No details are available. MC shouldn’t pretend that a synthetic surface will save money.  It will need maintenance just as a natural surface.  There is no detailed costing.  Arlington Oval is in the middle of a dense residential area with 400 units & there will be even less parking.  3-years later & I am here on the same issue. There is no environmental basis for plastic. You will need to remove trees. All the Councillors were elected on the basis of supporting the environment. Local schools can’t use Arlington.  You will have to explain when the Jacarandas are chopped down & the Bandicoots are killed & the watercourse is polluted.  If not, we will notify ICAC of your decision. Arlington will not be any safer. Recent research shows no measurable difference with safety playing on synthetic turf.   If Arlington is so unsafe, why aren’t staff working on it now?   Synthetic turf is 30-40% hotter than natural grass. Nothing can be done regarding the heat effects. Surface temperature is a major issue on a synthetic field.  Plan of Management says the ground is open all year. It could be locked to exclude the community.  MC has provided no detail on the impacts of Light Rail traffic impacts. It would appear that this is being rushed through. This is an unpopular decision so early after the election & people will not forget for the next election.  Local residents will be locked out.  Players already have keys & have locked the community out of the park. Having it used all year round will give no respite the community for traffic, litter, parking, environmental impacts & hooning.  This is not a fair & unbiased report. $1.2 million is 22-years of maintenance. Synthetic field will only last 10-years.  An exorbitant amount of money is being wasted on Arlington.  It’s a historic reserve that has been neglected for decades.

The Plan of Issues raised by those speaking FOR synthetic turf were –   Our school doesn’t use it for safety reasons, we use Marrickville Oval instead.  We do not support limiting sporting opportunities to youth in the area.  Synthetic turf does provide many advantages over grass. Water costs are reduced, fewer chemicals are needed. Many Councils have gone down this path [some were listed].  We represent the kids who play on this.  It has been a safety issue for years. I agreed with grass turf decision in 2009. Anyone can see that that surface is unplayable.  It’s about the kids who play on this. Synthetic turf is expensive & the clubs will absorb the costs. All-weather playing is a definite advantage. The cost of maintaining synthetic turf is significantly less that grass surface.  I understand there may be an issue with parking. We don’t support illegal parking.

Mayor Macri:  moved the recommendation. I sat here 3-years ago knowing what the outcome would be in 3-years time.  When we asked the staff to put more resources into it, staff said we cannot overuse the turf.  We are not changing anything.  We have a tight budget & we cannot keep putting money into it.  Two clubs are using it for 12-weeks.  Parking will always be an issue.  Hopefully Light Rail will help.  I can’t keep pouring money into something that doesn’t work.  This is about clubs playing safely. We need to proceed to something that will work.   It will be a quarter million dollar saving over 10-years. We need to move forward, not run around in circles.

Clr Brooks:  Foreshadowed motion – delete points 2 & 3, add the MC prioritises maintenance of Arlington field to ensure a high standard of natural turf.  I’m concerned with the lack of community consultation.  I understand the problems with poor surfaces. The weather is not a compelling case. The local community is incredibly upset about this.  They thought they engaged in good faith with MC.  Synthetic turf is not a flexible option for a park that is used by local residents too.  350 community members consulted on this in 2009 & were overwhelmingly opposed.  It has been suggested that we will need to remove trees. Any leaf litter or flowers from the Jacarandas will damage the synthetic turf, which is not very stable.  Trinity Grammar has synthetic turf. It increases injury risk & causes a high level of septicaemia. Trinity Grammar maintain the surface every day. Two people vacuum it & water it all day long to keep it cool enough.  With the World Cup Championship, players refused to play on synthetic turf in Africa because they would not risk injury.   Risk massive fines by EPA for runoff from synthetic turf. This is an enormous risk for MC of environmental impacts from the synthetic turf.  Our world is heating up every year.  This surface retains heat. It’s an unacceptable health risk.  You are more likely to be injured. The area will be unsuitable because of heat. The medical risks are well documented.  Synthetic turf removes amenity for the community. You can’t walk your dog or go for a walk.  Synthetic turf locks Arlington Oval into one elite sport. It’s not suitable for any other sport. I’m unconvinced this will increase the numbers of kids playing sports.   We will be unable to reverse this if we go ahead.

Clr Phillips:  I’m very disappointed that we have come back so soon.  It was a huge issue in 2009. It’s enormously disrespectful to local residents.  People have been playing on grass all over the world for a very long time. We should at least look at what we can do instead of resurfacing with plastic grass. This came through a direct request from the clubs.  We got hammered for not doing community consultation right in 2009 & we appear to be doing this again. It costs significant money to lay the synthetic turf & replace every 10-years. Last time MC said we would have to increase fees & increase usage; now this is not needed.  What’s changed?  Why can we do lawn at Henson park & not at Arlington Reserve?  Plastic grass doesn’t respect the heritage of Arlington.  I have big concerns with laying crumpled tyres & plastic turf.  You say you won’t to change the Plan of Management, but I’m not convinced you won’t in the future.

Mayor Macri:  What’s changed is we are not proposing an increased amount of usage. Henson Park is different because soccer & rugby have different usage needs.  Rugby runs whereas soccer kicks the ground.

Clr Hanna:  In 2009 I said I would vote against it.  Mayor, we are talking about a large amount of money.  If we really want to save money we don’t give astro turf for one group.  Look at the whole council.  We are here to serve them, not make everything hard for residents.  I feel sorry for the clubs.  We should go to the head of the clubs & tell them to spend money to the club & the schools.  Kids are paying $200-$300 per season.  Tell Frank Newey to spend some of his money on the kids.  I cannot see any change from 2009.  We have to go to community consultation.  It is artificial consultation after we have made a decision.

Clr Leary:  Against motion.  I’ve lived near Arlington Oval & I know why it is important.  We have heard many reasons why we should vote against your recommendation.  The community is intensely opposed to this. One thing has changed & that is an election.  The Greens strongly supported the natural grass solution & took it to the election.  The Labor Party didn’t put up a single word about Arlington Oval.  Nothing about this was taken to the electorate.  One would have assumed it would have gone to the people – I seek a mandate to put in astro turf.  There are many reasons why we should vote against it.  We have to consider the residents, ratepayers, environment & traffic, not just 2 clubs.  We’ve been through all this in 2009.  I see no evidence that the surface is unplayable.  They use sand to maintain the ground.

Clr Wood: I acknowledge the concerns of residents & the expertise of clubs assessing their needs.  I believe the citizens’ needs are properly addressed through the Plan of Management.  The surface does not impact on residents.  I’m concerned that we might lose soccer on Arlington Oval.  Point 3 is what we should do.

Clr Iskandar:  Remember what I did when I was Mayor?  I learnt from everyone, even from the humble soccer players.  It’s 2 separate issues.  We had a long serious consultation about what the community needed & we were generous at the expense of soccer. There are two sets of highly respected clubs here.  Don’t think the soccer players & the clubs are from another galaxy.  They are your neighbours & in the streets. It’s a soccer issue, not a political issue.  Mayor Macri: Unfortunately for all of us we spent $300,000 & nothings changed.

Vote on option 3: For – Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods & Tyler.   Against: Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks & Ellsmore  (& Clr Hanna I think.)   Carried – synthetic turf for Arlington Oval.

Sunday 25th November 2012 –  The Marrickville Greens have put in a recision motion & this will bring the decision of synthetic turf for Arlington Oval back to a Council Meeting.

This street just off King Street South caught my attention because it has short street trees on the side of the powerlines & tall Eucalypts on the other where there are no powerlines. This is not something I see often.

Apologies.  This is a long post, but I believe the issue is important.  From memory the debate for this item lasted around 3-hours.

This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Gardener.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

Tree Management – Inventory, Master Plan & Policy Framework – The state of the Marrickville Street Tree Urban Forest are drawn from the Street Tree Inventory Report.  For a summary see – http://bit.ly/PURYpe

The recommendation was to –

  1. receive & note the report;
  2. provide a capital budget of $170,000 in 2013/14 for street tree removal & replacement;
  3. where capital renewal reconstruction works are undertaken & conflict exists between a street tree & footpath renewal made with concrete, that conflict shall be resolved by removal & replacement of the tree & installation of the concrete footpath; &
  4. advise & clearly enunciate any changes to the policies & controls governing tree management within the Marrickville Local Government Area.

There were 10 speakers (including myself) against the recommendation & 1 speaker for the recommendation.  For brevity I will outline the issues discussed rather than each speech.  The report was described as draconian, shocking, contentious, preposterous & something that inflamed the community.

Issues raised were – Removing street trees fails to acknowledge the value of the tree to the urban environment.  The report does not look at other options & other technologies to deal with roots other than tree removal.  There was no community consultation.  The assessment of public infrastructure is that concrete will win over street trees.  Education & consultation needs to happen & this needs to be done street by street.  Questioned why community consultation is to happen 10-months after tonight’s decision.  Size of tree hole needs to be looked at.  There is a need for peer review of the report. There is an inequity of our urban forest compared with other Councils around Sydney. Exorbitant cost ($1,000) to plant a sapling.  Climate change & the importance of trees to create a livable environment.  Losing older, taller trees that are the very things that make our environment pleasant.  Changing community attitudes recognize the value & importance of the urban forest.  Contradictory elements  in this report compared to the Urban Forest Policy.  Council failed to consult with the Environment Committee.  The removal of 3,960 trees will leave an enormous hole in the urban forest.  The high loss of newly planted trees.  Planting new trees over the tree roots of the removed tree, thereby setting the new tree up for failure.  The large trees will be lost.  We are beset by pollution & need all the help from trees we can get.  We do recognise problems with trip hazards & that there are dying & dead trees that need to be removed.  Concerned that trees will be removed without the opportunity for the community to comment.  Trees should be marked for possible removal with the community given 1-month to comment.  Section 5.9 of the LEP sets out the policy of how trees are managed & removed.  The LEP has the force of the law.  Clause 4 clearly states the requirement for community consultation.  There is a huge contrast with the City of Sydney who are increasing their urban forest. They have doubled their trees & want to double this again.  Lack of shade increases the Urban Heat Island Effect.  Lack of aesthetics results in increased rates of violence in the community.  MC’s Urban Forest Policy is more a ‘vision’ & if the recommendation is approved it will be a step in the wrong direction.  MC has already adopted water-sensitive designs.  Replacing impermeable surfaces with permeable surfaces is a better solution.  The Urban Habitat Mosaic is important & concrete can be replaced with an understory.  There can be mini-raingardens that water street trees & filter water before it gets to the Cooks River & this will save MC money on watering.  MC should involve the community in planting as giving us ownership of trees will lower bills.  This is a blanket approval to cut down trees.  Only 1 person’s wage per year is being spent on maintaining newly planted trees – no wonder they die.  Replacement trees are not canopy trees. We are planting too small & too few species.  Trees are not maintained.  We are in for a 4-degree rise in temperature & heat waves are predicted. On a recent 41-degree day, thousands of trees died.  Bitumen becomes a heat trap.  Humans need to keep cool.  Trees prolong the life of house paint & concrete footpaths.  Would MC be legally liable for the loss of property values?  The recommendation is in strong contrast to every MC survey, which advocates for more trees.  MC should respect trees & not see them as liabilities. They should show vision & best practice for large trees that are more robust than short trees.  Big trees are carbon stores & lower the Heat Island Effect.  A tree should only be removed after all avenues have been explored & only after consultation with the community.

And finally this gem – The Urban Forest Policy says that 42,500 trees had been planted.  The Tree Inventory said there were 22,608 street trees – so where are the other 47% of missing trees?   Only half the trees that have been planted have survived. 

The speaker for the recommendations spoke about the following issues – Safety is a big issue.  Hard to navigate a wheelchair safely around & over roots & people often need to go onto the road.  I have 600mmm access for the wheelchair.  MC wants us to get reports that cost thousands of dollars if we want a tree removed that is causing property damage.  It should be easier & cheaper for people to have trees removed.  The new trees on my street did grow.   Tall trees are not stable.  The first priority is safety.  We need to get the balance right.

Clr Tsardoulias:  Moved the motion, but delete point 3.  MC staff should look at porous & flexible pavement & stop using asphalt to repair footpaths next to trees.  The main issues are serious trip hazards. There is a large incidence of liability over people tripping on our footpaths.  Verge gardens are increased.  Staff needs direction.  If a tree is ready to collapse, staff should do something about this.  We need to balance the issues with growing a canopy, maintaining trees & minimizing trip hazards. We need to trim trees & take action when there is an issue between the tree & footpath.

Clr Hanna: If I am going to fix trees in Silver Street then I want to talk to residents of that street.  I want to consult with the people living in that street.  Clr Tsardoulias:  We should talk to all the residents around the tree & plant the right tree or 2 or 3 trees.  We have a significant problem & need to do a lot – asap.

Clr Phillips:  I’m quite horrified with the recommendations to take a chainsaw to the numbers of trees & that concrete has priority.  It’s not with current community attitudes & our own guidelines.  It looks at trees as liabilities, not as assets.  Large, older trees, particularly Eucalypts will be the trees removed & they are giving a huge impact on the LGA.  Pulling out the Eucalypts will change the Australian look to the LGA.  We haven’t peer reviewed, sent the report to the Environment Committee or had community consultation, yet we are giving such a strong recommendation.  The Street Tree Masterplan is a great idea, a more holistic view & it’s what MC & community needs about removing trees.  To make major changes to our other tree policies should require community consultation.  Moved amendments – MC refers report to the Environment Committee & this audit be peer reviewed. Maintenance should be included in the $170,000 budget.  MC defers any non-urgent work until the Street Tree Masterplan has been adopted.

Mayor Macri: We are talking about removing 98 trees at a cost of $170,000.  The rest is renewal within 4-5 years & part of the Street Tree Masterplan.  We are voting on 98 trees now.  MC self-insures. Trees have been identified as a risk & MC must protect itself.  MC spends $23 per tree per year.  We have to remove trees. We want to gain canopy.  117 trees are dead. 18% are poor structure. 70% are mature.  We have to take a balanced approach & we need to start from the beginning.  We have never done it this way. We can’t take an alarmist approach.  Once the concrete comes up, that’s the best time to see the roots & sometimes they need to be chopped off.

Clr Ellsmore:  There were more than 250 submissions in a petition in under 24-hours.  Serious questions have been raised by the community. 80% of trees in my street have cracked the pavement.  It is important to remember than the community has gone through a long period of community consultation.   Why has the report not been sent to the Environment Committee?  Everyone wants a Street Tree Masterplan & have community engagement.

Clr Haylen:  We need to take the safety of our residents, which is a genuine concern.  Clr Tsardoulias’s amendment, when we are renewing an entire street, the Urban Forest Policy provides the guidelines whether that tree stays.  Repair footpath every 2-years or every 10-years?  Trees make our place a better place to live. I don’t support a further review.  It’s an audit.  Next step is a Street Tree Masterplan.  Let’s find those vacant spots.  Clr Hanna:  If the Director was here he would tell you how many people fall on the footpath. We have a lot of older people.  Safety comes first.  Trees come last.

Clr Leary: Staff need to look at other pavement options, stop using asphalt & consult with residents over verge gardens. Staff also needs to consult with residents of affected streets.  (These were incorporated into the amendment.)  Clr Tsardoulias:  We want to grow & balance services.  Fixing cracked footpaths & planting the right trees in the right place.

The amended motion by Clr Tsardoulias – That Council:

  1. Receive & note the report.
  2. Refer the report to the Environment Committee.
  3. Provide a capital budget of $170,000 in 2013/14 for street tree removal & replacement.
  4. Where capital renewal reconstruction works are undertaken & conflict exists between a street tree & infrastructure, the guidelines outlined in the Urban Forest Strategy should be followed.
  5. Advise & clearly enunciate any changes to the policies & controls governing tree management within Marrickville LGA.
  6. Council staff look at other paving options, including porous flexible paving & that staff stop using asphalt for reconstruction of pavements.
  7. Council staff look at options to increase the number of verge gardens & sustainable gardens.
  8. Consult with the residents of the streets affected.
  9. Defer any non-urgent actions arising from the report until the Street Tree Master Plan is completed & adopted & a thorough community consultation is completed.

Vote – unanimous. Motion Carried.

Thanks if you managed to read all of this.  Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. Jacqueline

These street trees along Petersham Road Marrickville are at least 2-years old. The photo was taken last winter when they had no leaves.

I think the verges around the street trees in Despointes Street in Marrickville look quite good.

Another street in Marrickville where someone is trying to add beauty by creating a verge garden.  Note the lack of & short stature of the street trees.

 

 

Lovely Melaleucas line the Sydenham end of Unwins Bridge Road.  Too old?

The Marrickville Street Tree Inventory Report has been completed. It found the following, though I recommend that you sit down while reading this –

  • There are a total of 24,152 street tree sites including 1,544 vacant planting opportunities. (TOTAL: 22,608 street trees) 
  • Compared to 8 other Councils Marrickville street trees are smaller in size – average height 5.2-metres & width 4.45-metres.   (I’ve been saying this since I started SoT.  Most of the municipality looks like a desert compared to the municipalities that surround us & who also have similar constrictions with planting.)
  • The large majority of trees have good health & structure.
  • 9% are in poor or very poor health or dead. (TOTAL:  2,034 trees)
  • 18% have poor or very poor structure or have failed. (TOTAL: 4,068 trees.  This makes 6,102 trees in total that are sick, have poor structure or are dying or dead.)
  • Marrickville streets show good biodiversity with over 360 species from 170 genera found, but at an LGA level over 42% of the street tree population is provided by only 5 species. (I wouldn’t call this “good biodiversity.”  The recommendation I have read repeatedly is that no more than 5%-10% of any tree species should be planted, not 5 species for almost half.)
  • Marrickville has about half the number (7.2%) of vacant tree planting opportunities of most other Councils. Vacant sites include vacant locations in the grass verge & empty tree pits cut into paving. It does not include potential planting locations that require pavement cutting in either footpath or road pavements.  (We don’t need to go far to know that there are thousands of places where street trees could be planted, but are currently concrete.)
  • 3,960 trees were identified as causing footpath damage, 1,614 causing kerb damage, 424 causing road damage & 122 causing damage to private infrastructure. TOTAL:  4,236 trees.

(Read:  these trees will probably be removed, especially as one of Council’s three recommendations for this paper is – “where capital renewal reconstruction works are undertaken & conflict exists between a street tree & footpath renewal made with concrete, that conflict shall be resolved by removal & replacement of the tree and installation of the concrete footpath.”  In plain English this means if a tree is causing the footpath to rise where Council is planning to renew the footpath, the tree, healthy or not, will be removed & replaced with a sapling.  4,236 trees. 

I have been cycling the footpaths around the LGA & can say without hesitation that for the most part they are in a bad state & many trees will be removed, as this is Council’s most expedient way to manage the situation.  It’s not what other Councils around Sydney do however, as they appear to be willing to work around a healthy tree to keep it rather than remove it.  I guess this demonstrates a difference in how the urban forest is valued.)

  • There are too many old street trees in the Marrickville urban forest – 69% are mature. (TOTAL: 15,226 trees) with only 10% of young trees.
  • (Considering it was found that most of our street trees are small in size compared to other municipalities, this means that almost 70% of our older & therefore taller trees will be removed.  To me this will compound the situation where we see more red roofs, concrete & other hard surfaces than we do leafy canopies.  I also believe that there is nothing wrong with an older tree, as long as it is safe.  We need trees that connect us with our history.  We need significant trees, historic trees, grand old trees & we need shade, plus all the other health benefits trees bring.

Cannonbury Road Dulwich Hill is unusual because of its old street trees. It’s much better than what my photo portrays.

If the trees of Cannonbury Grove in Dulwich Hill were removed for example, this would destroy what is a fantastic streetscape & have an enormous flow-on to the residents by significantly decreasing the value of their properties. 

The trees surrounding Marrickville Town Hall are a prime example of trees that connect us to our history.  They should be taken care of & gradually replaced over many years if & when they become unhealthy, but not removed on the design whim of a Councillor or Council itself. 

That Council have not done graduated replacement over the last decades is not something the residents should pay for in terms of loss of canopy cover, loss of property values, loss of beauty & loss of the significant & important health benefits trees bring.  Saplings & immature trees do not make an urban forest.  This work is something to be done over a long time period so it does not hurt the community or urban wildlife who are stressed enough as it is.)

  • 4,540 trees (20%) are assessed as having a Useful Life Expectancy of 10 years or less. (In plain English this means how long the tree is expected to live.  You can expect these trees to be removed as well.)
  • Approximately 986 trees have been referred to Ausgrid for clearance pruning around powerlines.  (Ausgrid are not known for retaining the beauty of any street tree.  Now that they come every 6 months instead of the 7-8 year cycle as was happening until around 18 months – 2 years ago, we will see our street trees get smaller & smaller.)
  • 7,997 trees were identified for works (minor maintenance through to tree removal.)
  • A further 7,011 trees were recommended for major & minor tree maintenance works. (TOTAL:  15,008 trees)  88% are Moderate Priority (within 2 years) or Low Priority (within 4 Years). Urgent works have been addressed & all High Priority works (within 12 months) will be completed within the next 12 months.  (Marrickville Council informed me that they did not prune street trees, so this is new.)
  • Removal of 1,590 trees has been recommended scheduled for progressive renewal over the next 5 years. (Don’t forget those of the 7,997 trees that were identified for tree removal.)
  • 24 trees were removed during the inventory data collection process.  (The community was not informed about these trees until now.)
  • 5 trees have been removed since. (The community were informed after the trees were removed.)
  • 98 trees require removal within the next 2 years.
  • 281 trees are identified as low risk with renewals to be undertaken within 4 years.  ((Renewal means removal.  Are these trees on top of the 1590 trees recommended for removal & the unspecified number from 7,997 trees that require work, which includes removal?)
  • 1,194 trees seen as very low risk & for renewal within 5 years.

98 trees will be removed during 2013/14 at a cost of $72,000. Replacement trees will cost $98,000.  That is $1,000 cost to plant 1 sapling.  Total proposed budget = $170,000.

This is Item 6 on the agenda for the Council Meeting of Tuesday 20th November 2012.  Members of the community are able to speak at this meeting for or against the item. You can download the business paper here – http://marrickville.nsw.gov.au/action/NOTEMPLATE?s=0,pURL=businesspapers,

I will be posting more on the outcome & recommendations of the Tree Inventory.

At the re-opening of Mackey Park two years ago I was told that Marrickville Council is planning to remove the Poplars along the river & replace with Gum trees to let the light in. I was so shocked I failed to ask if the same was planned for the Poplars in Steel Park.

Illawarra Flame tree – currently a blaze of red in Illawarra Road Marrickville

This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Hanna.  The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Notice of Motion Memorial tree – Clr Phillips:Request for a tree to be planted, (no plaque & the cost borne by the family) in Enmore TAFE Park in memory of a recently deceased individual who was raised in the area & a report be prepared providing options to formulate a policy to accommodate any future requests for memorial plaques or structures within the Marrickville LGA.

I spoke for the motion:  I was contacted by the family after they did not receive a response from Council. Their only son & brother died in his mid thirties & the family would like to have a nice tree planted in Enmore TAFE Park because he grew up in Simmons Street & went to this park pretty much every day of his life. They do not want a plaque.  They just want to have a beautiful living tree planted as a way to express love & pay tribute to their son & brother.  I do not think this is too much to ask.  Marrickville Council would be in control.  Council will choose the tree & plant it. The family will pay all costs.  I realize there may be some fear that Marrickville LGA might become like a cemetery, but if there were no plaques, nothing to say the tree concerns a dead person, how would this be so?  People & the environment will benefit by more trees planted & Council will also benefit by not having to pay for this.  I firmly believe that Marrickville Council should be following the lead of other nearby Councils by having an option for the community to pay for a memorial tree or park bench.  Sydney Council, Leichhardt Council, Canterbury Council & Burwood Council – all allow memorial trees & benches.  It’s in your business paper.  Almost every week I sit on a memorial bench with a small brass plaque that Canterbury Council has placed overlooking the Cup & Saucer Creek Wetlands.   It doesn’t make me feel sad.  Yet if I walk from Mackey Park to Steel Park, there is nowhere to sit.  This is hard for older people or people who are not well.  No park bench means they don’t even attempt the walk.  If Council can’t afford park benches, then please allow the community to pay for them. Council still keeps control so there should be no problem.  However, tonight I am asking that you allow the Bishop family to honour their son & brother by letting them to pay for a lovely tree to be planted in Enmore TAFE Park.  It would make a grieving family very happy & it is the right thing to do.

Clr Phillips: I was informed that MC doesn’t have a policy & that I should take a Notice of Motion.  It would mean a lot to the family.  For the second part – MC to prepare a policy so staff can have guidance so these don’t have to come to a Council Meeting.  I think MC should have a policy.

No debate. Vote – unanimous on both this tree & a policy to be created. Here ends the report for this week.

A whole bunch of new plants (ferns & Pig Face) were planted in Steel Park Marrickville South a couple of weeks ago.

This was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting.  Absent – Clrs Iskandar & Haylen.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council & DA = Development Application.

21 Essex Street Marrickville – Removal of car parking space for the front of the property. MC recommended refusal.

Speaker 1: Design Consultant.  The original DA included a car park & crossing.  MC required this to be removed.  MC thinks the space is small in size, but it is of sufficient size for a small car.  There is a precedent for this in this street with the next door neighbour’s property.  Can fit in a small car with a gate & still provide a car space on the street.  The neighbours support this.

Clr Phillips: Moved Council’s recommendation to refuse.  Mayor Macri:  Delete condition 1 & add construction to a layback. Parking is a premium.  I’m happy to help lessen any congestion in the street.

Clr Phillips: Opposing. Previous Clrs have been consistent in opposing parking in front gardens. It puts pedestrians at risk & removes public parking with the driveway. We will get more requests to do this.  We need a consistent streetscape, not vehicle crossings for paths. The space doesn’t match the car size.  There is a prospect of car overhang.  Walking with a pram with cars crossing driveways can force you on the street.

Clr Hanna: I always support car spaces. Ladies can’t park close & can’t carry their kids. I support the motion.  Clr Leary:  Looking at the application, the debate is over 75cms. I don’t believe this makes much of a difference, so will support the motion.  Clr Ellsmore: Asked staff for conformation that it won’t impact on street parking.  Staff:  No current driveway exists. Putting in a driveway removes a car space.

Mayor Macri:  The space will make a big difference to the people.  Being a narrow street, it will free up the street. It’s a gated spot.  All Councillors voted to approve, except for Clr Phillips.

30 Terminus Street Petersham, the White Cockatoo Hotel – Alterations & additions, including a enclosed rear terrace area & creating atrium areas.  MC recommended approval with conditions.

Speaker 1: Planning Consultant.  Asked for the Councillors approval of the DA.  The atrium will contain noise & improve the amenity to neighbours. MC recommends approval. We have a detailed acoustic report.  The atrium will be planted out with plants. This provides an internal space for smokers & will stop people smoking on the street.   No increase in gaming, no change in trading hours & no live music in this section.

Resident 1:  I oppose the DA on noise & privacy. The gravest concern with the DA is rooftop stacks that will release secondhand smoke near my property. My two kids will be playing under these stacks. Other kids live around the hotel too.  Only two sentences in the DA mention secondhand smoke.  The houses are over 5–metres. This smoke will permeate the buildings. There are 4 unfiltered stacks. I’m not prepared to risk my family’s health. It’s a temple to Winfield & completely out of step with community standards.

Resident 2:  Objecting to the DA.  It’s very difficult to have a Council that approves smoking & drinking together.  Smoking areas are too large.  I request strongly that they remove the London Plane Tree & plant a native tree.  It sheds a lot of leaves. This is the perfect opportunity to remedy that.

Clr Phillips:  Move to refuse.  The DA has multiple problems. It is stretching the definition of what is an outdoor area.  Basically, it is stacks or chimneys & louvers. I don’t think this is a true outdoor area.  It’s probably more profitable to keep patrons at gaming machines & smoke. MC should be putting amenity of residents before the profits of the pub.  Not a good outcome to encourage people to gamble & smoke.  Smoke will come out of exhaust stack drifting into their windows.  It’s surrounded by dense residential area. There is a strong public interest here.

Clr Brooks: I agree with Clr Phillips. The other concern is worker’s health grounds, who work in venues where people are able to smoke. No suitable protection for people who work in this pub.   Clr Ellsmore: I support refusal.  My greatest concern is the increase in gambling revenue. Not good in the public interest.  Clr Tsardoulias:  Q: If we refused the DA how would we stand in the Land & Environment Court?  Clr Hanna: I don’t think this is the right question.  Staff: We can’t be sure. We would run on social impact.  Clr Tsardoulias:  Will patrons smoke on Carrington Lane? Map shows side door, which will allow people to go there.  Staff: People will smoke outside on Terminus Street.

Clr Gardiner: I’m proudly a Liberal Party member. I wholeheartedly support the motion by Clr Phillips. I worked in the gaming industry for a long time & understand the gaming industry well.  I’ve no doubt this application is to support gaming & keep people on the gaming machines by allowing them to smoke.  I strongly object to the hotel industry bringing back smoking in a sham DA. I am concerned regarding the Land & Environment Court & the DA exceeding the floor/space ratio.

Clr Hanna: I support Clr Phillips.  I’ve been a Councillor for 17-years. This is the second time I’ve seen a resident speak & cry.  The first one was about a tree & this one about protecting his kids.  No way I will vote for this one.    Mayor Macri:  Challenging application.  Floor/space ratio has actually reduced.  Staff: Marginal decrease so point 3 is inaccurate. Clr Phillips deleted this from his motion.  The vote to refuse the DA was unanimous.

32-70 Alice Street Newtown – 7 retail tenancies, 206 residential dwellings & 163 car parking spaces – This DA has been appealed in the Land & Environment Court, “in relation to the deemed refusal of the application.”  Contentions have been raised, “regarding excessive floor space ratio & non-conforming building massing, which leads to additional density & overdevelopment of the site.”  The papers said this was a confidential report  & that Councillors may decide to discuss this in a closed meeting.    As it was last on the agenda, I decided not to stay.  Here ends the Report for this week.

DA diagram for Alice Street Newtown

Ibis flying over Marrickville

This was an Extraordinary Council Meeting.  Tonight’s meeting was to vote in the new Mayor, Deputy Mayor & committee Chairs & members.  A private Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony was held in the Council Chambers for the new Councillors & the Executive team.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

We arrived after the vote for Mayor & Deputy. I was told that the following happened –

1.   The position of Mayor was between Clrs Macri & Phillips.  Labor  Clrs Tsardoulias, Iskandar, Woods & Haylen & Liberal Clrs Gardener & Tyler voted Clr Macri for Mayor.  Greens Clrs Phillips, Ellsmore, Brooks & Leary voted against. Clr Hanna left the Chamber choosing not to vote.  Councillor Macri was voted Mayor.

2.   Councillor Tsardoulias was voted Deputy Mayor.  Labor Clrs Iskandar, Woods & Haylen, Independent Mayor Macri & Liberal Clrs Gardener & Tyler voted Clr Tsardoulias for Deputy Mayor.  Greens Clrs Phillips, Ellsmore, Brooks & Leary voted against. Clr Hanna remained outside the Chambers choosing not to vote.

3.   Appointment of Councillors as representatives of Council on Statutory & Special Committees until September 2013 –

PEDESTRIAN, CYCLIST & TRAFFIC CALMING ADVISORY COMMITTEE – Mayor Macri & Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias. Clrs Tyler, Ellsmore & Haylen as backup if neither Mayor or Deputy available.

ABORIGINAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE – Clrs Ellsmore & Iskandar.

NEWTOWN ART SEAT CURATORIAL COMMITTEE –  Clrs Gardener & Ellsmore.

ARTIST IN RESIDENCY ADVISORY COMMITTEE – Clr Brooks.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & SUPPORT EXPENDITURE SCHEME COMMITTEE –  Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias & Clr Brooks.

COOKS RIVER ALLIANCE BOARD – Mayor Macri & Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias.

COUNCIL AUDIT COMMITTEE – Mayor Macri.

DEBBIE & ABBIE BORGIA COMMUNITY RECREATION CENTRE ADVISORY COMMITTEE – Mayor Macri & Clr Iskandar. Brooks.

GREENWAY STEERING COMMITTEE – Clrs Gardener, Brooks & Woods.

HERITAGE PROMOTIONS COMMITTEE – Clrs Tyler & Leary.

MAJOR PROJECTS STEERING COMMITTEE – Mayor Macri & Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias & all Councillors.

MARRICKVILLE ACCESS COMMITTEE – Clrs Woods & Tyler.

MARRICKVILLE COOKS RIVER COMMITTEE – Clrs Leary, Tyler & Woods.

MARRICKVILLE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE – Clrs Gardener, Woods & Brooks.

MARRICKVILLE FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE – Clrs Woods & Leary.

MARRICKVILLE PARENTS CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE – Clrs Woods, Phillips & Tyler.

MARRICKVILLE TRANSPORT COMMITTEE – Clrs Ellsmore & Haylen.

SAFETY IN MARRICKVILLE COMMITTEE – Clrs Brooks & Woods.

SISTER CITIES COMMITTEE – Clrs Iskandar, Tyler & Leary.

GREEN LIVING CENTRE STEERING COMMITTEE – Clrs Gardener & Ellsmore.

4.  Appointment of Councillors as Representatives on External Organisations and Bodies –

SSROC – Mayor Macri, Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias & Clrs Woods & Tyler.  Clr Ellsmore stood & was defeated.

METRO POOL – Mayor Macri.

SYDNEY AIRPORT COMMUNITY FORUM – Mayor Macri.

ROADS & TRAFFIC AUTHORITY CONSULTATIVE FORUM – Mayor Macri.  A vote was held between Clrs Wood & Tyler. Mayor Macric gave his casting vote to Clr Tyler.

METROPOLITAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES ASSOCIATION – Clrs Gardener & Ellsmore will share the role.

5.  Determination of Meeting Structure & Appointment of Council Committees –

DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE – Clrs Iskandar & Leary were nominated for position of Chair. Mayor Macri, Clrs Tyler, Tsardoulais, Woods, Haylen voted for Clr Iskandar.  Clrs Phillips, Brooks & Ellsmore voted for Clr Leary. Clrs Hanna & Gardener abstained from voting.  Clr Iskandar is Chair.

Clrs Tyler & Leary were nominated for position of Deputy Chair.  Clrs Iskandar, Phillips, Brooks & Ellsmore voted for Clr Leary.  Mayor Macri & Clrs Gardener, Tsardoulias, Woods, Haylen & Hanna voted for Clr Tyler. Clr Tyler is Deputy Chair. 

COMMUNITY CORPORATE SERVICES COMMITTEE – Clr Haylen Tsardoulias is Chair. All Clrs voted for her, him except for Clr Hanna who voted against.  Deputy Chair is Clr Brooks with a unanimous vote.

INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES COMMITTEE –  Clr Tyler was unanimously voted as Chair. Clr Ellsmore was unanimously voted as Deputy Chair.

ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN DUBBO – Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias & Clrs Iskandar, Woods & Brook as voting members with Clr Gardener attending, but not voting.

I hope I got this down correctly. It was a fast meeting finished by 7.06pm

This rather remarkable hand-drawn diagram was taped up on the back wall of Marrickville Council Chambers. It maps out the functions of Marrickville Council & has some very positive messages pertaining to the value of the individual. I will take better photos the next Council Meeting I attend. Apparently it will remain on this wall. I think Council should frame it & possibly print it out & include it in one of their publications.

White-faced Heron

This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Phillips.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.  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.

Exposure Draft Boarding Houses Bill – A representative from the Inner West Tenancy Service at Marrickville Legal Centre said they give free advice for tenants & people who fall outside of the Act:  boarders & lodgers. Many Boarding Houses (BH) are unlicensed & unregulated. Estimate of 300 BHs in Marrickville LGA is a significant number of people.  The NSW Government is considering a legislative package regarding unlicensed BHs. There are a range of issues about compliance.  We try to get a better deal for people who live in quite a marginalized area. We want to endorse the content of this report. We endorse the proposal to increase the regulations. We don’t want this to be a cost-shifting exercise to Council.

Clr Kontellis: 300 BHs, we haven’t done more research on this for a number of years. It’s difficult because people don’t disclose. It’s an important submission & by supporting this we have to be prepared to draw a line in the sand. A few weeks ago there was a private DA asking for 8 rooms when using 12 & was unlicensed with this & another BH.  I, & Clr Phillips voted against though you all voted to allow him to operate. It should not be all on the side of the BH operators.

Clr O’Sullivan: Excellent report.  It will be interesting to see the government’s commitment to back up with real money to put it into practice. These people are subjected to the good intent & kindness of the owners & very vulnerable. One of the issues we have will enable us to make judgments & enable expert opinion on their status, which needs special attention. We should look at providing this to our local state MPs.  Staff: Department of Ageing & Home Care is from where resources should be made.  Clr Iskandar: I remember starting on this 3-years ago when I was Mayor. It is a very good achievement & I am proud of it.

Clr Macri: Re Clr Kontellis’s comments – the BH operator operated that BH for 30-years. He stated those rooms were there & MC knew this.  The choice of evicting someone from a room where he has been living for 4-5 years is not the way to go. The rooms were 6.5 sq metres. I did inspect the rooms & found people in good spirits & in good camaraderie. I could live there if I was in need.  There were no issues from police, no submissions from neighbours.  It’s important that we have people like that who do care.  Vote – passed unanimously.

Sponsorship request from the Sydney Festival & Branch Nebula – To hold ‘Concrete & Bone Sessions’ at Jack Shanahan Reserve Skate Park Dulwich Hill as part of 2013 Sydney Festival, waive hire fees & provide in-kind support. Cost to MC = $13,737. Speaker: The artists are concerned about leaving a light footprint in the park & working with the users in the park. We have appointed a community liaison person. We have a strong reputation of delivery of safe, environmentally responsible fun events.

Clr Tsardoulias: Many artists set up shop at Dulwich Hill. This will be a springboard for young artists. I welcome the proposal. Clr Olive: Exciting for Marrickville to be included in the Sydney Festival at Jack Shanahan Park. It will fit nicely.  I’ve been contacted by artists asking MC to stop cleaning the skateboard park as it makes the surface quite abrasive so perhaps MC could leave the art there. Clr Kontellis: It’s exciting & another great example of how MC works with community groups. Vote – passed unanimously.

Mayoral Minute – Political posters – Mayor Hanna: The Greens put in a motion to stop any shop putting a sign on their shop. If you like the environment you will vote for it. Like Allan Jones, I want to know.

Clr Wright:  Unless there are posters on poles, no-one will know to vote.  Clr Olive: I won’t vote for it. It lasts 3-weeks. We took ours down in 2 weeks. It’s a democratic process. It will be far more environmentally advantageous if more Greens get voted in.  Clr Peters:  Greens recycle our coreflutes. Some are 15-years old.  Certain parties put up coreflutes for more than 4-weeks before the state election.  There is a limit to what political parties should do & they should be pulling them down 2 weeks after the election.

Clr Kontellis:  This is a celebration of democracy.  Posters on poles have to be available. People know who is putting up their hand to represent them. Clr Thanos:  I support the Mayoral Motion.  I really don’t like seeing the posters on electricity poles for a couple of months.  MC should fine them. Last election with Barry Cotter the Labor Party used old ones & people didn’t recognize him.  They should be fined if they don’t take them down.

Clr Macri: I’ve been approached by people about coreflutes. Why put them up in the middle of the night?  Then the Greens come to rip them down & it sounds like Ibis.  It’s not a good thing.  Mail in post boxes are enough. It’s ridiculous democracy & insulting that people will vote because of a poster on a pole.  Mayor Hanna:  If you believe in democracy, let a shopkeeper put a sign on top of his shop.  People complain to me. Who will pay for the damage to the pole?  They are using big screws, which are damaging the pole. This is public property.  Vote – For: Mayor Hanna, Clrs Olive, Macri & Thanos.  Against: Clrs Byrne, Kontellis, Peters, O’Sullivan, Wright, Iskandar & Tsardoulias.  Lost.

Mayoral Minute – Pensioner rebates on rates – Mayor Hanna: The pension hasn’t increased since Nick Greiner. Ask the state government to put $500 towards the rates.  Clr Thanos:  I support.  We should amalgamate with Sydney Council who have waived rates for pensioners, especially as the GM is telling us the government is asking us to look at voluntary amalgamation. 20% of our population are pensioners.

Clr Olive: I support this.  Pensioners do need help, but you Mayor preceded over a 3.6% increase & voted to go to the community for a 6.72% special rate variation & a near 10% rate increase over domestic waste.  Clr Kontellis: I’m supporting this.  We are entering a world where a significant number of people are asset rich, income poor. Older Greek citizens do complain when they tell me of their 3 homes. Clr Macri: I support.  It was poor form of the state government to take this away. If you’ve got 3 houses you are not on the pension.  Mayor Hanna: Anyone can if you have less than $120,000 in the bank. We had a Green Mayor in front of me who increased the rates. I’m proud of this Council because we increase the rates the minimum.  Carried unanimously.

Greenway Reports & Updates – Recommendation that Council notes the significant progress made towards project outcomes, the conclusion of the grant for the Greenway Sustainability Project in September 2012, approves & adopts the Greenway Active Transport Strategy, adopts the final draft Greenway Biodiversity Strategy & endorse placing this on public exhibition & receives the minutes of the Greenway Steering Committee Jun 2012.  Carried unanimously. No debate.

50:50 Vision Councils for Gender Equity – “We will work towards increasing the representation of women  in local government, both as elected members & senior managers & professional.  We will undertake ongoing reviews of policies & practices to remove barriers to women’s participation & to engender safe, supportive working & in decision-making environments that encourage & value a wide range of views. The nominated 50:50 Vision champion be the GM.”  Clr Byrne: I am pleased we have done work on gender equity.

Clr O’Sullivan:  This is a good product on gender equity, including having women delegates.  One of the ways the contribution of Councillors can be recorded is through the Meeting Minutes.   It will be helpful if the new Council’s Code of Conduct include a note for Chairs – to allow a range of people to Chair the meetings.  Males have been Chairs for all meetings for the past 3-years. Very few times women have been recorded seconding motions.  This is recorded in the minutes & creates an impression that women who comprise half this Council are not noticed. (This practice is very noticeable from the Gallery – J).

Clr Thanos: When you are chairing a meeting you look towards those you have relationships with. Clr Hanna usually has Clr Macri second. When we look at gender equity it’s window dressing.  Gender inequity exists within the organization, not necessarily within the Meeting.  Clr Wright: Small things count.  What Clr O’Sullivan is saying is that, when appropriate & only asking for a greater level of awareness, that all participants at Meetings could be recorded as participating in the Meeting. Small things do make a difference.

Clr Iskandar: It’s a very philosophical issue & religious issue.  Man, he is, he is, & women, she is second.  I’d like everyone to take this seriously. Now the position of women is getting better. There are some religious sects, including Christians studying God’s description & saying she is a woman.  We have to work for equity & equality for women.  MC have worked very hard on this & we are proud of our achievements.  Labor is proud of their 50:50. Greens are the same.

Mayor Hanna: I agree & Clr Thanos, I look to the closest one for my seconder. I’m sorry Clr O’Sullivan.  My belief is there is no difference between men & women.  We had 2 previous ladies as GM who were very successful.  We had a first Mayor lady from the Greens. This Council gives credit for this.  They take extra leave when pregnant & we all voted for this.  If you were Chair, you would look to the closest one.

Clr Kontellis: This is Council’s equity program, not equality.  There is a difference.  In order for women to have equity we need to look at equity.  MC’s 50:50 vision is about equity.  We want to create more opportunity for women to get involved in the local government across the board.  Clr Tsardoulias. I support the motion.  (He listed all the women who have reached leadership places in Australia, such as Julia Gillard & Kristina Keneally).  Clr Byrne: I think symbolism is very important. I think this is fantastic progress though I do have concerns whether we could be at a high water mark.  It’s unlikely that there will be 6 out of 12 women voted in the next election & I’m quite sad about that.  The 50:50 vision is so important.  Vote – unanimous.

Here ends the Report for this week.

Sign outside the Greenway in Dulwich Hill

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